The Canadian Government revealed in November 2016 that it is working on a fast-track visa and work permit as part of a newly unveiled Global Skills Strategy. The strategy is meant to help Canadian businesses attract global talent.
The Global Skills Strategy has three key tenets:
- Establish a 2-week standard for processing visas and work permits for “low-risk, high-skill” employees for companies doing business in Canada.
- Create a dedicated service channel for companies looking to make large, job-creating investments in Canada.
- Remove the work permit requirement for short-term work (less than 30 days) in low-risk fields.
The Global Skills Strategy will be run by a dedicated team that will work with the companies to complete applications quickly.
The Canadian Government has stated that it is targeting high-growth Canadian companies that need access to global talent to accelerate growth and investment and international companies interested in making large investments in Canada or relocating to Canada.
The Global Skills Strategy is exciting news for highly skilled employees around the world who will be able to respond quickly to job demands in Canada.
A recent study by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly known as CIC) has shown that more residents of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are being accepted to immigrate to Canada than residents of most other countries in the world.
The report shows that during 2015 the majority of candidates selected for immigration to Canada through the Express Entry program were already living in Canada, however, the number of candidates residing outside Canada continues to grow. Top counties with residents immigrating to Canada include India, China, the Philippines and the UAE.
Julie Beeton, Managing Director of Beeton & Co, Canadian Immigration Consultants and a Canadian lawyer stated “When Express Entry was introduced, Canada was predominantly the country of residence for candidates invited to apply for permanent residency because of the high number of foreign workers already in Canada that wished to settle permanently. We expect to see the number of candidates invited to apply for permanent residency from the top ten countries to grow in the coming months.”
This is good news for residents of the UAE wishing to immigrate to Canada. The UAE is already ranked 7th globally in the number of residents immigrating to Canada and this number will increase as we move further into 2016.
Whether you are applying for permanent residency, sponsorship of a relative, a temporary work visa, or student visa, all Canadian immigration applications require a significant amount of supporting documents to be submitted as part of the process.
The Government of Canada requires the submission of various supporting documents to prove the various statements and attestations in a Canadian immigration application, are true and accurate. For example, the Canadian Government requests your college diploma or university degree to confirm the legitimacy of your educational attainment.
At Beeton & Co, we have found that clients often need guidance on what type of documents to submit, how much and what type of information to provide, etc. Below is a summary of some of the frequently asked questions and issues we have received from our clients.
General Rule – More Is Better
We usually tell our clients to err on the side of providing more information rather than less. There are some exceptions to this rule and this does not mean you should submit irrelevant material. However, generally speaking, it is better to provide more information rather than less, and not leave the assessing Immigration Officer wondering why a particular answer or document was not provided or submitted.
For example, if you are asked to provide evidence that you and your spouse will live in Canada after your sponsorship application has been processed, you could do one of the following: firstly, you could simply submit your employment contract with your new Canadian employer, as this would tend to show that you are planning to move back to Canada; or, secondly, and more preferably, you could also include a copy of your apartment rental agreement in Canada, letters from families and friends who live in Canada who are aware of your intentions, as well as the details of any existing Canadian bank accounts, all in addition to your employment contract. The latter scenario provides an Immigration Officer with much more information and detailed evidence of your intentions to move back to Canada, and it will be easier for them to assess this aspect in your favour.
It is also important to remember that not including required information can delay the processing of your application or be considered a misrepresentation to the Canadian Government which can cause an immigration ban for up to five (5) years.
For our clients, we prepare and include a submission letter with each application providing an overview of our client’s background, present circumstances, and long term aspirations. We also highlight any potential issues that the Government of Canada may take with the application and are proactive in addressing these issues directly. For example, if you are asked to provide your Canadian tax return documents but are not able to do so because you were living abroad (you were not required to file a Canadian tax return as you were not a resident for income tax purposes), it is better to highlight this in your submission letter – otherwise the Immigration Officer must put all the pieces of your background together to come to this conclusion which may cause a delay in the processing time.
Many Canadian immigration applications require you to provide police checks or “good conduct” certificates for all of the countries that you have lived in since the age of 18 for more than six months.
It is not always straightforward in how to obtain these certificates and can take up to several months depending on the country. We have also found that some countries require someone to be on the ground to get the certificate processed.
There are also some countries recognized by the Government of Canada that will not provide police checks unless requested directly by the Canadian Government, itself. If this is the case, the Canadian Government will request you to indicate on your application that “I am applying from a country that requires an official request letter from CIC to get a police certificate.”
Accredited High School, University or College Degrees
To provide evidence that your educational background is accurately described on your Canadian immigration application, you will be required to, (1) submit evidence of your Canadian secondary or post-secondary educational program (transcripts and degree/diploma) or, (2) obtain an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) from an institution recognized by the Canadian Government and provide the ECA reference number along with proof of the foreign educational credentials.
If you would like to confirm if your degree is recognized for an ECA, check out the online assessment on Work Education Services website (https://www.wes.org/). To obtain an ECA, generally you must submit copies of your degree/diploma to the ECA institution and request transcripts to be sent directly from your high school, university or college to the ECA institution.
Please note that if you have one year of work experience in Canada, accredited degrees are no longer required.
We are often asked by clients if they must complete a language test if their first language is either English or French – the answer is Yes. Everyone must submit a valid language test if it is required for that Canadian immigration application type.
Your test results must be valid (less than two years old) when you complete your application and you should time your test so that it remains valid during the period your application is being processed – in other words, take the test close to the date you submit your application.
For the Federal Skilled Worker Program you must meet CLB 6 (for Speaking) in English or NCLC 310 (for Speaking) in French if this language is your first official language. If the language is your second official language CLB 5 (for Speaking English) or NCLC 226 (for Speaking French).
A couple of other tips:
- IELTS has two options for the reading and writing tests: “General Training” and “Academic.” You must take the “General Training” option.
- Keep the original test results in a safe place as the Canadian Government may ask to see it at a later date.
An area that seems to cause some confusion for clients applying for permanent residency is the “NOC skill type” work experience. The Canadian Government only recognizes certain work experience and uses this to calculate your Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS). The NOC Skill types as follows:
0 – Management
A – Professional
B – Technical job or skilled trade
To find your NOC skill type and other information that best matches your jobs go to (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/skilled/index.asp).
When submitting evidence of your work experience, the Canadian Government typically requires.
- a reference or experience letter from your employer, which
- should be an official document printed on company letterhead (must include the applicant’s name, the company’s contact information, and the name, title and signature of the immediate Supervisor or Personnel Officer at the company),
- should indicate all positions held while employed at the company and must include the following details: job title, duties and responsibilities, job status (if current job), dates worked for the company, number of work hours per week, and annual salary plus benefits;
One exception to our “More is Better” rule mentioned above is that you should only include information on work experience that is relevant to your application. Work experience that is not in an appropriate NOC Skill Type is not relevant – including this work experience will only require more work as you will need to provide the necessary evidence for each job, and this may frustrate the assessing Immigration Officer
While there ar e various other supporting documents required for each Canadian immigration application type, we hope this will provide some guidance on commonly asked questions about Canadian immigration supporting documents in general.
At Beeton & Co, Canadian Immigration Consultants, we specialize in helping professionals and families in the Middle East immigrate to Canada. We provide professional and personalized immigration services managed by Canadian legal professionals.
Below are our Top Ten Tips to consider when applying for Canadian immigration under the Express Entry program (which is the most popular Canadian immigration program):
1. Start Early – Your Age Matters.
Candidates applying for permanent residency through the Express Entry program are evaluated on a points system. Points are awarded for a candidate’s core human capital factors including education, work experience, and age. With respect to age, the highest points are awarded to candidates between 20-29 years of age and the points decrease every year either before or after this age range So do not wait to apply – you may be losing points for each year you wait to apply.
2. Consider the Time Involved in Obtaining Your Supporting Documents.
When applying for permanent residency you are required to submit a number of documents to support your application including, but not limited to, a police check from each country you lived in for more than 6 months since you were 18 years old. For some countries it can take months to process and obtain the necessary the police certificate. Other supporting documents include, school records, medical exam, proof of work experience, and proof of personal finances.
3. The More Education the Better.
As mentioned above, candidates are allocated Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points when the Government of Canada is evaluating immigration eligibility. The more education a candidate has attained, generally the more points they will be given. For example, a Doctorate degree is given up to 150 points and a three-year post-secondary degree would be allotted up to 120 points.
4. Accreditation of Your Education.
To receive the CRS points allocated for your education, a candidate must have their education outside of Canada accredited by an organization recognized by the Canadian Government. If you are uncertain whether your education will be recognized equally with Canadian institutions, have a look at the free degree equivalency tool offered by World Education Services on their website (https://www.wes.org/ca/eca/).
5. Looking for a Job in Canada.
Candidates that have a valid job offer in Canada before applying to immigrate under the Express Entry system receive 600 points and are effectively fast-tracked through the immigration process. Have a look at the Canadian Job Bank to start your search (jobbank.gc.ca/).
6. Study for Your Language Test.
Even if English or French is your first-language, you must complete a language test before submitting your Canadian immigration application. Your proficiency in the languages will determine the number of CRS points you receive and whether you are invited to apply for permanent residency. The maximum number of points for “advanced” language skills is 34 points. Note that you can also get extra CRS points by completing a second official language test. If you are married your spouse’s proficiency in English and French is also important.
7. Think as a Team.
Your spouse will be included in your Express Entry application. You can obtain extra points from your spouse’s education, work experience, and language skills. The Canadian Government believes that if you enter Canada together and you both have the necessary language skills and work/education background you will be more successful in your new country.
8. Provincial Programs.
Canada is divided into 10 provinces and three territories. In addition to the federal Express Entry program, the provinces and territories of Canada have Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) which allow the provinces to separately invite candidates to apply for permanent residency with their provinces. You can either apply separately to the PNP programs or the provinces can find you in the Express Entry pool. Note that the points required by the PNP programs are often lower than the federal Express Entry program.
9. Do You Have Family That Can Sponsor You?
The Canadian Government has programs that allow you to sponsor your spouse, common-law partner, dependent children, parents and grandparents. There are also exceptions for other extended family if they meet the necessary conditions.
10. Check Your Eligibility on the Beeton & Co Website.
Please see BeetonCo.com and use our FREE assessment tool to receive some guidance as to your Canadian immigration eligibility.
Moving to another country, studying in a different language, and living alone for the first time is a big step for anyone. There will be new responsibilities and also new freedoms that your child will experience by studying abroad in Canada. The decision for young adults to study abroad is also stressful for their parents who want to ensure that their child is ready for and will be successful in this next stage of their life.
From our time working with foreign students and parents, we have found that parents feel very comfortable with sending their kids to study in Canada because it is a safe, accepting, multi-cultural society – and it offers exceptional education and employment opportunities.
To ensure that both you and your child are prepared for studying in Canada, please see the list of seven helpful hints below.
1. Do Your Homework and Get Acquainted with Canada
It is the fear of the unknown that makes parents even more nervous about their child moving away from home to study. You will need to take the time to understand the Canadian school system, which schools and cities are best for your child, and also understand Canadian communities.
To do your homework, we often recommend that the parents:
- Talk to other parents in their community who are already sending their children to Canada to study – how do they feel about their decision and what made them decide on Canada?
- Talk to students in their community who have already studied in Canada and find out their experiences
- Take a trip to Canada and visit some of the universities and/or colleges your child is interested in attending
- Spend some time online getting to know Canada and the various schools, cities, and government resources
After doing your homework, you and your child may decide that they will benefit from another year or two closer to home. If this is the case, consider a branch of a Canadian university or college in your home country. In Dubai, the Canadian University of Dubai (CUD) offers programs that allow students to study in Dubai in a Canadian environment and in English before they complete their studies in Canada. The credits obtained from CUD will be accepted and put towards their degree from the Canadian university.
2. Start Early.
Studying overseas requires completing a lot of paperwork. The Canadian university and college admission process discussed below is the first step and is probably the most time-intensive due to the number of schools/programs to which most students apply.
Once your child has been offered admission to a university or college, they will then need to immediately apply for their Canadian student visa. This application process can take some time, especially if you forget to attach a required document or complete a question. Make sure to start this process as soon as possible. Also, note that the university or college your child is accepted to must be accredited and recognized by the Government of Canada to be eligible for a student visa.
Other items to consider are accommodation in Canada, bank accounts, and health care insurance.
3. Understand Canadian Immigration Programs and Employment Opportunities
The Canadian Government has put in place various immigration programs to help foreign students in Canada:
- Typically, if students are studying full-time on a valid study permit they will not require a work permit in order to work on or off-campus. Full time students will be permitted to work up to 20 hours per week during the regular academic year and will be permitted to work full-time during regularly scheduled breaks from school.
- If students are married and their spouse accompanies them to Canada while they are studying, the spouse may be eligible for an open work permit to allow them to work during the study period.
- After students have completed their studies, there are immigration programs which allow foreign students to stay and work in Canada to gain valuable Canadian work experience. Having Canadian work experience can help students apply for permanent residency and ultimately Canadian citizenship.
- Once a permanent resident or Canadian citizen, students may sponsor their parents, grandparents, spouse or dependent children to immigrate to Canada.
4. Organize the School Application Process
Most students apply to approximately 10-15 universities or colleges for admission. This process can be a time-consuming task and difficult to manage for you as a parent. Often applications will require students to submit essays (in English) and/or provide online interviews for which students should be prepped.
We suggest making a chart outlining the deadlines for admission to each school, what steps are involved in the application process, and a checklist of the documents to be provided. Canadian schools usually require that grades be sent directly from your child’s high school so you will need to organize this process.
Most of the applications are now online which reduces the cost of couriering application packages but will require various documents be uploaded on each school’s application site.
5. Decide What School is Best Suited for Your Child
There are approximately 100 universities and 200 colleges in Canada – all offering a huge variety of programs and classes. It can be a daunting task figuring out which schools are best suited to the needs of your child.
The preliminary factors to consider when choosing a school are what programs your child is interested in, location of the school, cost of studying, and general reputation. Maclean’s magazine offers an excellent summary each year of the top schools in Canada (https://www.macleans.ca/education/university-rankings-2016/).
In addition, you may also want to consider:
- Does the school offer on-campus living?
- Are the living arrangements single gender/co-ed?
- How safe is the city or town in which the school is located?
- Does the school have a large foreign student population?
- What are the classroom sizes?
- Does the school prefer self-study or large group assignments?
At Beeton & Co, we have partnered with the same Canadian educational companies that are used by Canadian high schools and guidance counsellors to offer international students the same up-to-date information on programs, universities and colleges in Canada. We offer each student a 50+ page personalized report of the best suited schools and programs.
6. English Language Requirements
The language requirements for most universities in Canada state that if you have not (i) lived in a country where English is the acknowledged primary language, or (ii) studied at a school full-time for a prescribed number of years where the language of instruction was English, then you need to submit English language scores from a standardized English language testing facility.
These English language policies are different across the 100 universities in Canada, however, the acceptable English language test scores can generally be summarized as:
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS): 6 – 6.5 overall on the Academic Module.
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): iBT 80 – 88 overall
- Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL): Overall band of 60 – 70
These scores can vary depending on the school or program.
There are many excellent Canadian language programs to help international students with language proficiency and enable them to be accepted into post-secondary studies.
Most universities and colleges have affiliated language schools which will allow students to gain conditional acceptance to university or college programs that can be put on hold until the student meets certain language requirements.
There are also now a number of Canadian universities that offer “bridge” programs that allow students to study English while taking credited courses at the university. The language programs are designed to help students specifically with the language requirements for their area of study.
7. Cost and Financial Assistance
Canada is the most affordable of the leading study abroad destinations. In 2014, HSBC Bank compared tuition fees and the cost of living for foreign students studying in Australia, UK, USA, Singapore, Hong Kong and Canada – Canada was less expensive than all five other countries.
There are a number of scholarship and award programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels to assist international students. This financial aid is awarded based on criteria such as academic success, community involvement, athletic excellence, references from instructors and employers, or purely financial need. The Canadian Government offers financial assistance as do the individual educational institutions.