So yeah, we’ve decided to migrate under the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program. Remember when I told you that we were choosing between New Zealand and Canada, our decision wasn’t that clear until we got our ITA, the much coveted Invitation to Apply. ITA is given when you meet certain criteria such as points. This means that you have what they are looking for and they want you to try and apply for immigration in their country. By the way, we got ITAs from both NZ and Canada. Please take note that getting an ITA does not mean getting an approval for migration.

NZ and Canada uses points in determining who they will invite to apply. These points are mainly based on you and your spouse’s(if applicable) age, education, work experience, your job and most of all your language ability. The higher your points are, the higher the chance that you will get invited. For the first few draws, points cutoff in Canada has been very high and until March 2015, it hasn’t gone down to 700 (we have 471 points) which prompted us to consider NZ. Since both have the same requirements, we also applied and paid Php15000++ (Canada’s initial application is free) as application fee (Expression of Interest) in NZ. We actually got an ITA the week before we got our ITA from Canada (when for the second time, scores went below 600). This is a not so wise decision since we shelled out money for nothing since we will not be pursuing the application from NZ since Canada has always been our priority.

Last January 1, 2015, Canada launched the express entry system. It is based on the NZ and Australia’s immigration system. Previously, it will take the immigration office years to decide on your application, but with the new system, they promise to make a decision on your application in less than 6 months after submission. True to their promise, we got ours in three months.

The whole Canada immigration process can be summarized as:
1. Create an online profile. Fill-out the forms and based on your answers, the system will determine your points.
2. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) conducts at least two draws per month. If you meet the minimum entry criteria (points) you will be given an Invitation to Apply.
3. The ITA will include a checklist of the requirements needed by CIC. Everything is submitted online. Documents include proof of all the details that you have declared in your profile and other documents such as birth and marriage certificates, medical examination results, police clearance and proof of funds to name a few.
4. After submission, wait for a decision; it could be an approval or a rejection. CIC may also require additional documents along the way.
5. If the CIC’s decision is positive, you will receive a passport request where in you need to submit your passport to the nearest visa office for visa printing.
6. After the issuance of visa, you need to land in Canada to finalize the immigration process before your visa expires (usually 1 year after your medical exam).

Going back to getting an ITA, you need to determine your points first before deciding to apply and create an online profile. In Canada, they call it Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). There are a couple of good CRS calculators online. You can check this link for your point calculation. As a friendly advice, do proceed only if you think you can get at least 450 points so that you need not waste money in securing the needed exam and documents, at least for this year. Note though that there are several ways to boost your score such as having your spouse take IELTS and Education Credential Assessment, securing a job offer from a Canadian employer or having a provincial nomination. For you to create a profile, you will be needing two things; IELTS general training exam result and Education Credential Assessment (ECA) from a recognized institution.

Also, it’s worth noting what NOC code does your job falls into as this will be asked a couple of times in creating your MyCIC profile. Remember that you are applying for skilled worker so it just makes sense that you are skilled enough in your job. You can check your NOC code here.

In the next entry I’ll be detailing the two major requirements (IELTS and ECA) for creating an online profile. Stay tuned.