What is the Canadian Skilled Occupation List?

After getting done with your studies in Canada, you may be thinking of staying in Canada to work and live. Fortunately for you, there are many options available for international students studying in Canada who want to transition to becoming a Canadian permanent resident.

Remember that most Canadian permanent residency immigration programs privilege applicants who have a connection to Canada. This can be through ties to a specific province, Canadian work experience, or having completed Canadian education. As an international student, you can benefit from some or all of these advantages if you choose to move to Canada.

The Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program

One of the easiest and fastest ways to get permanent residency is through the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program. This program is for people selected to immigrate to Canada because of their work experience and skills.

Operated through the Express Entry immigration system, the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program is a very viable option for international student graduates. Unlike the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), FSW does not require a person to have Canadian work experience. This is a good option for international student graduates who have skilled work experience abroad.

The program selects skilled workers as permanent residents based on their education, work experience, proficiency in English and/or French, and other factors. The criteria are such because these factors determine whether an individual can succeed in Canada.

How does it work?

The FSW program is a merit-based immigration program that uses a points-based Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score to automatically rank candidates against one another. This way, only those candidates with the most competitive profiles can apply for permanent residency.

If you meet the eligibility requirements and score competitively within the CRS scoring system, FSW is the way to go. The FSW program requires applicants to prove they have a minimum of 12-months of full-time, continuous, skilled work experience, completed in any country, or an equivalent amount of part-time experience. If you have never been in the workforce before, then this program will not be an option for you.

Most immigration programs in Canada require a certain amount of skilled work experience, placing international students at a disadvantage. However, an international student who graduates from a Canadian institution is eligible to apply for a post-graduation work permit which authorizes them to work in Canada and gain this valuable work experience.

What are the eligibility criteria?

In 2021, the IRCC admitted up to 20,000 new permanent residents through this temporary stream for healthcare workers in Canada. Over 30,000 new permanent residents with work experience in essential occupations across all National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill levels were admitted to Canada.

Excluding healthcare occupations, there are 95 eligible occupations, including retail salespersons, general farm workers, and construction trades laborers, among others. Which is to say, there is a surplus of opportunities for international students. But first, you need to check your eligibility. To be eligible to apply, you must:

  • Have a job offer; or
  • Be eligible to work in Canada; or
  • Be able to prove that you have enough money to support yourself and your dependents after arriving in Canada.
  • Have at least 1 year of full-time (or equivalent) skilled work experience.
  • At the time of your application, you have to be employed. Keep in mind that self-employed is not eligible.
  • The minimum language requirement is a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 4 in English or French in all proficiencies.
  • You have to be destined for and settle in any Canadian province or territory other than Quebec.
  • Have a post-secondary certificate, diploma, or degree.

What kind of work experience do I need?

Your work experience must be Skill Type 0, Skill Level A, or Skill Level B on the Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC).

Your work experience must fill the categories of paid, full-time, or the equivalent hours part-time. Full-time means at least 30 hours per week. You must have had that work experience during the last 10 years. These limits do not apply if you have a permanent job offer.

The FSW Point System

You need at least 67 points to be eligible to apply as an FSW. You get different points based on:

  • Your education;
  • Your abilities in English and/or French (Canada’s 2 official languages);
  • Your work experience;
  • Your age;
  • If you have arranged employment in Canada; and
  • Your adaptability

That’s it! Being aware of the skilled worker’s occupation list can help you when you are looking to get a permanent residency in Canada. Make your dream of settling abroad in Canada come true through this excellent skills program.

To explore more options to gain permanent residency in Canada, start a co-design conversation with Gradstar.

Date Published: Jul-07-2022

Our Dream Makers are expert listeners, educators, career consultants and student supporters. They co-design your study abroad experience with you to empower you to reach for the stars. Because dreams deserve a helping hand.

About the author

Anupama Kumar is a content writer based in Bangalore, India. She writes blogs, stories, articles and social media content and has a passion for helping people and connecting with them through her writing. A professional writer by day and a creative one by night, her own stories, musings, quotes and poems inspired by her travels are also published on various platforms.