Mark A Ivener, A Law Corporation

News from Canada

Canada welcomes approximately 250,000 new immigrants each year, which represents the highest per capita immigration in the world.

The majority of those who immigrate to Canada apply to do so under Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker Class Program or under one of the Provincial Nominee Programs for those chosen/selected by one of Canada’s provinces or territories.

Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker Class Program is a points-based system. Points are awarded for education, language abilities (English and French), work experience, age, arranged employment, and adaptability.

Until 2008, any applicant who was awarded the minimum required 67 points would have been accepted as long as they and their family members had no significant medical, criminal, or security problems. Since 2008, Canada has imposed an additional requirement of having at least one year of full-time work experience in one of 38 occupations (financial managers, computer and information systems managers, accountants, physicians, and others) for those not already working in Canada or those who do not have an “arranged employment offer with a Canadian employer.”

Other options to consider for those interested in Canadian permanent residence who are not on Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker Class Program “38 occupations list” are the province of Quebec’s Skilled Worker Class Program and the province of Alberta’s U.S. Visa Holder Category Program.

Quebec’s Skilled Worker Class Program does not have a restrictive occupations list. Fifty-five points (for a single person) and 63 points for a married person are the minimum required points to be accepted for Canadian permanent resident status under the Quebec program, as of the most recent legislative changes of October 14, 2009. Points are awarded by Quebec (which accepts approximately 55,000 immigrants a year) principally for education, work experience, age, language abilities (oral French and oral English), visits to Quebec, family in Quebec, children’s and spouse’s educations, age, and oral French abilities. If a foreign national has some oral French abilities, or can readily acquire them, the Quebec Skilled Worker Class Program should be considered.

Alberta’s U.S. Visa Holder Category Program requires the foreign national to:

  1. Be currently working in the United States with valid H-1B, H-1B1, H-1C or E3 status;
  2. Have a minimum of one year of work experience in the U.S. in one of the qualifying visa categories; and
  3. Be on the Alberta Occupations Under Pressure list of 72 occupations.

Canada welcomes applicants and their spouses who are in common-law or same-sex relationships.

Canada may be an option for those in the U.S. or elsewhere with precarious or soon expiring status.

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About the Author

Mark A. Ivener, A Law Corporation, a nationally recognized law firm, has successfully assisted hundreds of clients in immigration matters.