January 23, 2014

Federal Skilled Worker Program Is Filling Up Quickly! Are You Affected?

Posted by admin - Bellissimo Law Group PC

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has brought into effect certain changes to the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) visa class that affect applications submitted anytime between May 4, 2013 and April 30, 2014.



A new cap system has been introduced that limits the total number of applications that will be considered to 5,000 per year. A sub-cap is also applied to each occupation type, so that for each eligible occupation listed in the National Occupation Classification (NOC) no more than 300 applications will be considered each year.

Any applications received after this cap has been reached will not be considered.  It is important to note the date the Federal Skilled Worker Program re-opens to receive new applications does not follow a calendar year, but operates on a 12 month basis commencing mid-year.

So far for the May 4, 2013 – April 30, 2014 period 3,5939 Federal Skilled Worker applications have been received. Although this is well below the 5,000 total for the year, many occupation categories have already reached their quota for the year.  A list of NOC occupations and how many applications have been submitted to date is as follows:

  • Engineering managers – 300 (Cap reached)
  • Financial and investment analysts – 300 (Cap reached)
  • Geoscientists and oceanographers – 65
  • Civil engineers – 300 (Cap reached)
  • Mechanical engineers – 300 (Cap reached)
  • Chemical engineers – 204
  • Mining engineers – 9
  • Petroleum engineers – 5
  • Geological engineers – 94
  • Aerospace engineers – 36
  • Computer engineers (except software engineers/designers) – 300 (Cap reached)
  • Land surveyors – 20
  • Computer programmers and interactive media developers – 300 (Cap reached)
  • Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics – 110
  • Inspectors in public and environmental health and occupational health and safety – 300 (Cap reached)
  • Audiologists and speech-language pathologists – 16
  • Physiotherapists – 300 (Cap reached)
  • Occupational therapists – 54
  • Medical laboratory technologists – 300 (Cap reached)
  • Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists’ assistants – 108
  • Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists – 26
  • Medical Radiation Technologists – 30


There are a few notable exceptions.  An applicant with a valid offer of arranged employment is exempt from the sub-cap.  Also the PhD stream has a higher 1,000 application sub-cap with some additional eligibility criteria.



After May 4, 2013 all applicants must fit one of the eligible occupations listed as:

  • Skill Type 0 (management occupations; OR
  • Skill Level A (professional occupations); OR
  • Skill Level B (technical occupations and skilled trades)


For all 24 NOC occupation types the eligibility criteria include having one year uninterrupted full time work experience within the last 10 years at that same occupation.  For a PhD candidate to be eligible as a Federal Skilled Worker the applicant must have finished two years of study in Canada towards their PhD, or have graduated from a Canadian PhD program in the past 12 months.

Language Requirement:

All applicants must submit their results of the official language test to demonstrate that they meet the minimum language requirements in English and/or French. The applicant must have achieved Canadian Language Benchmark 7 in all four language skill areas: reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

Education Requirement:

Applicants must also include an Education Credential Assessment from an approved organization for any Canadian or International education they have received.

Financial Requirement:

All applicants must also be able to show they have enough money to support both themselves and any family the applicant may have in Canada.

Selection Grid:

All applicants must also meet the passing mark on a selection grid which takes into account the applicants assessed ability to adapt to life in a new country as well as the above mentioned selection criteria.  A passing mark is 67 out of 100 possible points. The breakdown of the point values is as follows:

  • English and/or French skills  -28
  • Education  -25
  • Experience -15
  • Age  -12
  • Arranged employment in Canada -10
  • Adaptability- 10
  • Pass Mark: 67/100 possible points



One important point to consider for anyone applying to the Federal Skilled Worker program is that if the applicant is married or living with a common-law partner, then either spouse may choose to be the principal (main) applicant for the visa.  The other spouse can be listed as a dependent. This may be advantageous in the case that one spouse has a less frequently applied for occupation, or if one spouse will likely score higher on the points grid.