“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” — Andre Gide

DISCLAIMER: The is not legal advice, it is for your information only. Laws, regulations and ministerial instructions constantly change and the information can not be used to make immigration decisions. Case law may also have an effect on the outcome of the case. Case law changes constantly and is not considered here. Please contact Matrixvisa Inc. for immigration legal advice.

Classes of Skilled Immigration & the Express Entry Stream

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act creates various classes of immigration to Canada which have separate unique requirements. In order to begin the immigration process, a foreign national must meet the requirements of an immigration class to qualify. The main classes of immigration are:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Class
  • Federal Skills Trades Class
  • Canada Experience Class
  • Provincial Nominee Class 


If a foreign national qualifies in one of the above classes, they may be eligible for the Express Entry Stream.

NOTE: Express Entry is NOT an Immigration class, it is an immigration selection system which is based on the age, education, and language proficiency of an applicant.

Navigating the sources Canadian Immigration

The Canadian immigration system is complex and becoming increasingly complex each year. A good example of this complexity is in the provincial immigration programs: Matrixvisa Inc. purchased a handbook that was written about the provincial nominee class programs. The handbook initially cost CAD$300 (R3000) and another $1200 per annum (R12000) for updates, but eventually the quarterly updates could not keep up with the speed of the changes.

In order to keep our right to practice immigration law,  authorized representatives must attend conferences and continue legal training to keep up with the changes (both federal and provincial immigration changes).  

The legal authorities & sources that guide immigration decisions consist of 7 levels:

  1. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (about 60 pages);
  2. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (about 200-300 pages);
  3. Immigration Manual (rules written by officials which have about 100 chapters and can fill 5 wheelbarrows);
  4. Operational memorandums that are regularly published;
  5. Case law (decisions by judges in Federal Court); 
  6. Immigration Rules as stipulated in the Immigration Manual; 
  7. Ministerial Instructions published in the Government Gazette; and lastly,
  8. Some visa officers at the embassies and high commissions make their own rules, which are not written anywhere. If these decisions are outside the scope of the law, we object to the Immigration Department and the Minister.  
    Many of our efforts can be seen here. Further, officers interpret the Immigration Regulations and Immigration Rules differently, and therefore creates inconsistent application rules in decisions. One can only understand how decisions are made after the behavior of officers are observed for many years.

The Six Methods of Skilled Immigration

In attempting to clarify all the immigration opportunities for skilled foreign nationals (not entrepreneurs, investors and business applicants) we made a simplified summary of the options with the aid of the mind map below (a tool often used assist memorizing complex issues).

In the Canadian immigration system there are 6 broad options for skilled foreign nationals to emigrate each with the goal of obtaining permanent residence and finally Canadian citizenship. Once a person is a permanent resident for 4 years, they may apply for Canadian citizenship.

Option 1 and 2  can be classified as federal options, and options 3 to 6 as provincial options.

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OPTION 1: Draw in Express Entry (without a Job Offer) 

Every 2 weeks names are drawn from the Express Entry Pool (Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skills Trades Class, Canada Experience Class). The passmark is floating and the lowest draw is about 450 points.  There are many discussions on internet forums where potential immigrants confuse one another about the Express Entry option. There is a hype surrounding express entry, as it is “express” right? Wrong.  It is not so great as you might think it is. The majority of applicants will not qualify for a draw from the Express Entry Pool as their points do not come close to 400 points. 
 
The rhetorical question is, why are applicants so focused on Express Entry? Well there are many possible reasons.

  • One is issue is the name which was chosen for political (vote seeking) reasons as the current federal government wanted to be viewed as the saviour of the immigration system.
  • Secondly, many immigration law companies (inside Canada) and some outside of Canada (many are owned by people whom are not Canadians, never studied Canadian law, and who are not authorized Immigration representatives) do not explain the reality of Express Entry to their clients.  Getting the documents in order (language tests, Educational Credential assessments) are obviously important.
  • Thirdly, immigrants excite one another about Express Entry on online forums without understanding what the actual policy is and when Express Entry should be used.

OPTION 2: Express Entry with Job Offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

A Job offer by itself is worthless because a job offer only has value if it is supported by a LMIA for a provincial certificate of nomination (Option 3,4 or 5). Similar to a human, an LMIA stands on two legs: one leg represents the effect of the employment of the foreign national on the Labour Market and the second represents the Genuineness Test of the job offer.

In assessing the Labour Market 'leg' of the LMIA, an officer has a statutory duty (i.e. a legal duty) to assess seven factors. The four most important factors include:

  • Did the employer advertise for 28 days at three national websites in an attempt to find a Canadian? There are about 28 pages of special rules about what must be in these advertisements.  We are the first immigration law firm (consultancy) that discovered these secret rules and it is on our website under the link “ Our Achievements”
  • Is there a shortage of skilled Canadians in this specific occupation in a specific part of the country?
  • Is the wage being offered to the foreign national the same wage that is being paid to Canadians performing the same job in the same area of the country?
  • There may not be any labour dispute at the work place.

LMIA's can be added to an applicant's Express Entry profile to increase the points by 50 points. Some immigrants will require a job offer supported by a LMIA to obtain sufficient points.

OPTION 3: Provincial Selection by a Province from Federal Express Entry Database

PROVINCE OF ONTARIO
The Province of Ontario completed two draws during 2015 (June and Nov/Dec).. The Ontario Government did not review the labour shortages at all before the draw was made. Strictly speaking, a person with an honours degree in Egyptian Hieroglyphics could get drawn without smallest chance of a job offer after arrival. The Ontario Government conducted another draw for people that entered the pool after 23 Nov 2015; people with a score of at least 412 were successful and received an invitation from the Ontario Government. It is unclear why the Ontario government would not draw from applications entered before 31 May and 23 of November 2015.  On 10 April  2017 the ON government announced that it will select journeyman (trades) as long as the person has 400 points. They will select from the following occupations:

NOC Code and Occupations:
NOC 7271 - Carpenters
NOC 7241 - Electricians (except industrial and power system)
NOC 7311 - Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics
NOC 7237 - Welders
NOC 7294 - Painters and decorators (except interior decorators)
NOC 7251 - Plumbers
NOC 7281 - Bricklayers
NOC 7291 - Roofers and shinglers
NOC 7233 - Sheet metal workers
NOC 7283 - Tile setters
NOC 7234 - Boilermakers
NOC 7284 - Plasterers, drywall installers and finishers and lathers
NOC 7242 - Industrial electricians

In July 2017 the Ontario government targeted candidates in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector with work experience in the following NOC codes:
NOC 0131   Telecommunication Carriers Managers
NOC 0213   Computer and Information Systems Managers
NOC 2133   Electrical and Electronics Engineers
NOC 2147   Computer Engineers (Except Software Engineers and Designers)
NOC 2171    Information Systems Analysts and Consultants
NOC 2172    Database Analysts and Data Administrators
NOC 2173    Software Engineers and Designers
NOC 2174    Computer Programmers and Interactive Media Developers
NOC 2175    Web Designers and Developers
NOC 2241    Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technologists and Technicians
NOC 2281    Computer Network Technicians
NOC 2282    User Support Technicians
NOC 2283    Systems Testing Technicians
NOC 5224    Broadcast Technicians
NOC 5241    Graphic Designers and Illustrators

Applicants had to have at least a level 7 on the IELTS score and the equivalent of a Bachelor degree. Therefore ON moved from a pure points based system to a system that recognize labour shortages.

In Aug 2017 the Ontario Provincial Nominee Program allowed  foreign nationals in Skill Level C and D  to be nominated for permanent residence if they are working in Ontario already on a work permit supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment:
NOC 7441 – Residential and commercial installers and servicers;
NOC 7521 – Heavy equipment operators (except crane);
NOC 8431 – General farm workers;
NOC 8432 – Nursery and greenhouse workers;
NOC 8611 – Harvesting labourers;
NOC 7611 – Construction trades helpers and labourers;
NOC 9462 – Industrial butchers, meat cutters, poultry preparers, related workers.

PROVINCE OF SASKATCHEWAN
The province of Saskatchewan allowed 500 applications during December 2015. Applicants had to be entered into the Federal Express Entry Pool (no need for a certain EE score) and had to score at least 60 out of a  100 in Saskatchewan's Provincial Scoring system. The positions were filled in 7 days. During 2015 the Saskatchewan Government only allowed applicants to apply to Saskatchewan in the Express Entry Pool if the applicant has specific experience in a  list of the following occupations.

NOC Code and Occupations:
NOC 0211    Engineering managers  
NOC 2131    Civil engineers  
NOC 2132    Mechanical engineers
NOC 2133    Electrical and electronics engineers
NOC 2141    Industrial and manufacturing engineers    
NOC 2147    Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)    
NOC 2151    Architects
NOC 2154    Land surveyors
NOC 2173    Software engineers and designers
NOC 2175    Web designers and developer
NOC 4151    Psychologists
NOC 4212    Social and community service workers
NOC 4214    Early childhood educators and assistants
NOC 3211     Medical laboratory technologists
NOC 3216    Medical sonographers
NOC 0124   Advertising, marketing and public relations managers
NOC 0423   Managers in social, community and correctional services  
NOC 1112     Financial and investment analysts
NOC 1122     Professional occupations in business management consulting
NOC 1123     Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations
NOC 2211    Chemical technologists and technicians
NOC 2212    Geological and mineral technologists and technicians
NOC 2121     Biologists and related scientists
NOC 2123     Agricultural representatives, consultants and specialists
NOC 2225    Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists
NOC 2231    Civil engineering technologists and technicians
NOC 2241    Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians
NOC 2242   Electronic service technicians (household and business equipment)
NOC 2243    Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics
NOC 2253    Drafting technologists and technicians
NOC 6331    Meat cutters
NOC 7231    Machinists
NOC 7272   Cabinetmakers
NOC 7311    Industrial mechanics
NOC 7312    Heavy-duty equipment mechanics
NOC 7321    Automotive service technicians, truck and bus mechanics
NOC 7322   Motor vehicle body repairers
NOC 7237   Welders
NOC 0811   Managers in natural resources production and fishing
NOC 0821   Managers in agriculture
NOC 0911   Manufacturing managers
NOC 0912   Utilities managers

PROVINCE OF MANITOBA
Manitoba has a unique scoring system that is independent from the Federal Express Entry system. This point system is skewed towards applicants that have already been working for Manitoba employers for longer than 6 months. The total score is 1000 points and 500 points are awarded for these job offers. Applicants can lose points (100 points are actually subtracted for each of the following: work experience in another province, family in another province, education in another province or previous immigration applications in other provinces).

PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
British Columbia's Express Entry stream requires an applicant to have a job offer (inter alia). Employers  must provide 2 weeks of advertising and but the applicant must score about 80-  100 points on the BC PNP  points system (the points at which selection take goes up and down)..

PROVINCE OF NOVA SCOTIA
Nova Scotia's Express Entry system has two  streams: Nova Scotia Demand: Express Entry (based on an occupation list - see below) and Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry. ( requires all applicants to have worked in Nova Scotia for at least 12 months).

NOC Code and Occupations:
NOC 1111     Financial auditors and accountants
NOC 1114     Other financial officers
NOC 1123     Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations
NOC 1241     Administrative assistants
NOC 1311     Accounting technicians and bookkeepers
NOC 2131     Civil engineers
NOC 2171     Information systems analysts and consultants
NOC 2174     Computer programmers and interactive media development
NOC 2281    Computer network technicians
NOC 2282    User support technicians
NOC 3012    Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses
NOC 3233    Licensed practical nurses
NOC 4021    College and other vocational instructors
NOC 4211    Paralegal and related occupations
NOC 4212    Social and community service workers
NOC 6235    Financial sales representatives

PROVINCE OF NEW BRUNSWICK
New Brunswick's Express Entry Labour Market Stream is temporarily only accepting Expressions of Interest (EOIs) from individuals with a connection to New Brunswick such as the following:

  • Job offer in New Brunswick
  • Working in New Brunswick

OPTION 4: Provincial Government Nomination (Non- Express Entry) 

About 40 000 immigrants per annum obtain their permanent residence every year with these paper applications. Here are a few examples of different programs under this Non Federal Express Entry Process. In many cases it is a paper process.

Here are 4 examples of different type of applications: 

  • Job offer:  Each provincial government has an agreement with the federal government to nominate specific individuals for immigration to Canada. These rules are complex and constantly changing.
    • Some provinces require an employer to first advertise (30 days in Ontario and 14 days in British Columbia) 
    • In some provinces only require the job to be genuine only without advertising/domestic recruitment (Saskatchewan and Newfoundland).
    • In Alberta the foreign national must already be working in Alberta.
  • Masters Degree: In Ontario foreign nationals that completed a Masters degree in ON could be eligible for nomination.
     
  • Special Connection: In  New Brunswick foreign nationals with a "special connection" such as previous study, previous work experience or family would be allowed to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI).
     
  • Attended a formal  Information Session or Meeting at International Recruitment Session:  The New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program would allow EOI from foreign nationals that attended a Information Session or Meeting at International Recruitment Session in the preceding 2 years.  Priority will be given to these occupations (this is a new list that appeared on 15 July 2016):

NOC Code and Occupations:
NOC 0621   Retail and wholesale trade managers
NOC 1241    Administrative assistants
NOC 1221    Administrative officers
NOC 3233   Licensed practical nurses
NOC 6322   Cooks
NOC 0631   Restaurant and food service managers
NOC 1311     Accounting technicians and bookkeepers
NOC 9241    Power engineers and power systems operators
NOC 0821    Managers in agriculture
NOC 7242    Industrial electricians
NOC 1224     Property administrators
NOC 0016    Senior managers – construction, transportation, production and utilities
NOC 0911     Manufacturing managers
NOC 1225     Purchasing agents and officers
NOC 0311     Managers in health care
NOC 6211     Retail sales supervisors
NOC 0601    Corporate sales managers
NOC 2171      Information systems analysts and consultants
NOC 2172     Database analysts and data administrators
NOC 2173     Software engineers and designers
NOC 2174     Computer programmers and interactive media developers
NOC 2175     Web designers and developers
NOC 2281     Computer network technicians
NOC 2282     User support technicians
NOC 0111      Financial managers
NOC 0714     Facility operation and maintenance managers
NOC 0013     Senior managers – financial, communications and other business services
NOC 3211      Medical laboratory technologists
NOC 6311     Food service supervisors
NOC 0121     Insurance, real estate and financial brokerage managers

OPTION 5: Provincial Occupation List (Non- Express Entry)

.PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
 

The British Columbia Government published an occupation list in Aug 2017 that can be used for foreign nationals with job offers. Selection will also be based on a points system and those with higher points will result in a higher probability of being drawn from the pool of applicants.  . The occupation list include the following occupations

0113 Purchasing managers
0131 Telecommunication carriers managers
0213 Computer and information systems managers
0512 Managers - publishing, motion pictures, broadcasting and performing arts 1123 Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations
2131  Civil engineers
2132  Mechanical engineers
2133  Electrical and electronics engineer
2134  Chemical engineers
2147 Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)
2171  Information systems analysts and consultants
2172  Database analysts and data administrators
 2173  Software engineers and designers
2174  Computer programmers and interactive media developers
2175  Web designers and developers
2221 Biological technologists and technicians
2241  Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians
2242  Electronic service technicians (household and business equipment)
2243  Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics
2281  Computer network technicians
2282  User support technicians
2283  Information systems testing technicians
4163 Business development officers and marketing researchers and consultants
5121  Authors and writers
5122  Editors
5125 Translators, terminologists and interpreters
5224  Broadcast technicians
5225  Audio and video recording technicians
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5227 Support occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting, photography and the performing arts
5226 Other technical and co-ordinating occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting and the performing arts
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5241 Graphic designers and illustrators
6221 Technical sales specialists - wholesale trade

PROVINCE OF SASKATCHEWAN

The province of Saskatchewan has an Occupation In-Demand List that allows applicants to apply if they have at least 60 points. It opened for a day in Aug 2017 . That day the system actually crashed as the system could not handle the amount of people that applied. This list is the same as the Saskatchewan Express Entry Stream. 

NOC Code and Occupations:
NOC 0211    Engineering managers  
NOC 2131    Civil engineers  
NOC 2132    Mechanical engineers
NOC 2133    Electrical and electronics engineers
NOC 2141    Industrial and manufacturing engineers    
NOC 2147    Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)    
NOC 2151    Architects
NOC 2154    Land surveyors
NOC 2173    Software engineers and designers
NOC 2175    Web designers and developer
NOC 4151    Psychologists
NOC 4212    Social and community service workers
NOC 4214    Early childhood educators and assistants
NOC 3211     Medical laboratory technologists
NOC 3216    Medical sonographers
NOC 0124   Advertising, marketing and public relations managers
NOC 0423   Managers in social, community and correctional services  
NOC 1112     Financial and investment analysts
NOC 1122     Professional occupations in business management consulting
NOC 1123     Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations
NOC 2211    Chemical technologists and technicians
NOC 2212    Geological and mineral technologists and technicians
NOC 2121     Biologists and related scientists
NOC 2123     Agricultural representatives, consultants and specialists
NOC 2225    Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists
NOC 2231    Civil engineering technologists and technicians
NOC 2241    Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians
NOC 2242   Electronic service technicians (household and business equipment)
NOC 2243    Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics
NOC 2253    Drafting technologists and technicians
NOC 6331    Meat cutters
NOC 7231    Machinists
NOC 7272   Cabinetmakers
NOC 7311    Industrial mechanics
NOC 7312    Heavy-duty equipment mechanics
NOC 7321    Automotive service technicians, truck and bus mechanics
NOC 7322   Motor vehicle body repairers
NOC 7237   Welders
NOC 0811   Managers in natural resources production and fishing
NOC 0821   Managers in agriculture
NOC 0911   Manufacturing managers
NOC 0912   Utilities managers

New Brunswick

The New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP) had an  opening the Expression of Interest (EOI) process to applicants who have attended an information session in the previous 24 months (since September 1, 2015) and who also are in one of the priority occupations listed below:

NOC 2171 Information systems analysts and consultants
NOC 2281 Computer network technician
NOC 2173. Software engineers and designers
NOC 2172 Database analysts and data administrators
NOC 2174 Computer programmers and interactive media developers
NOC 3012 Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses
NOC 3233 Licensed practical nurses
NOC 6322 Cooks
NOC 0631 Restaurant and food service managers
NOC 1311 Accounting technicians and bookkeepers
NOC 0311 Managers in health care
NOC 6211 Retail sales supervisors
NOC 1111 Financial auditors and accountants 

 

OPTION 6: Strategic Recruitment by a Provincial Government (Non Express Entry)

Finally we get to the best kept secret of the immigration programs. Some provinces have launched so called 'strategic recruitment drives' to certain countries. I was told that a specific province issued nomination certificates to French citizens when they came to the booth at an immigration trade show in France. They were French and it was their lucky day, I suppose.  In provinces where these opportunities exists it opens up the opportunity for a large employer to negotiate with a province for a large batch of people. We have made a proposal to a very large employer to bring in mechanics, millwrights, electricians, instrumentation technicians and specialized engineers through this scheme.  This type of scheme has basically no rules and whatever the provincial government decides will be the rules of the a specific ad hoc program. 

This method is mostly used by the provincial governments of Manitoba and New Brunswick.

Manitoba

Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program staff will be in Manila, Philippines between November 20-24, 2017 along with Manitoba employers to conduct interviews with individuals who can demonstrate qualifying skills in the following areas:

Specialized Livestock Workers
Industrial Butchers
Graphic Designer
Printing Press Operator
Plastics Machine Operator
Bindery Machine Operators
Bindery Production Support
Welders
Furniture and Fixture Assemblers and Inspectors
Woodworking Machine Operators
Other labours in Woodworking Manufacturing
Furniture Finishers and Refinishers

Applicants must comply with the following

Are between the age of 21 – 45;
Have completed at least a one-year, post-secondary education or training program for which you received a diploma, degree or certificate
Have a minimum of 3 years employment experience in the past 5 years in the related occupations listed; and
Are able to meet Canadian Language Benchmark level 5 (CLB 5) 

Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program staff will be in London, England between November 6th through to the 10th along with Manitoba employers to conduct interviews with individuals who can demonstrate qualifying skills in the following areas:
Long Haul Transport Drivers (HGV Drivers)
Heavy Equipment Service Technicians

Employment opportunities are available to qualified and interested candidates. If you:
Are between the age of 21 – 45
have completed at least a one-year, post-secondary education or training program for which you received a diploma, degree or certificate
Have a minimum of 3 years employment experience in the past 5 years in the related occupations listed
submit an official result of an approved language test taken within the past two years showing you achieved scores equivalent to at least CLB 5

New Brunswick

The New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP) is temporarily opening the Expression of Interest (EOI) process to applicants who have attended an information session in the previous 24 months (since September 1, 2015) and who also are in one of the priority occupations listed below:

Information systems analysts and consultants (2171)
Computer network technician (2281)
Software engineers and designers (2173)
Database analysts and data administrators (2172)
Computer programmers and interactive media developers (2174)
Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (3012)
Licensed practical nurses (3233)
Cooks (6322)
Restaurant and food service managers (0631)
Accounting technicians and bookkeepers (1311)
Managers in health care (0311)
Retail sales supervisors (6211)
Financial auditors and accountants (1111)