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Immigration requirements for Canadian Permanent Residency

Canada has always been an attractive immigration destination for many in Hong Kong because of its superb living environment and comprehensive welfare system. If you are looking to apply for Canadian Permanent Residency, the good news is, Canada offers a number of immigration programs to welcome immigrants from around the globe. However, the immigration requirements vary significantly depending on which program you apply for. In this article, we detail the immigration requirements for Canada’s Skilled Worker program.

Here’s a summary of the Federal Skilled Worker Program, including application requirements, the National Occupational Classification (NOC) and calculation of Federal Selection factor points:

Express Entry – Basic Immigration Requirements for Canada

Canadian Permanent Residency can be obtained in numerous ways: some may consider making an investment and immigrate to Canada through investor programs while others may eventually obtain Canadian Permanent Residency with a Canadian Family Sponsorship Visa. But if you do not have enough investment capital or have no family living in Canada, what are your options? The answer may be the Express Entry!

The Canadian government began the implementation of Express Entry in January 2015. This evaluation system can be quite confusing and complicated for those without much immigration application experience but it can be summarized as the following:

The Express Entry format is not a new Canadian immigration program, but rather a new mechanism for selecting and processing Canadian economic immigration applicants. The difference between Express Entry and the traditional skilled worker immigration program is that with Express Entry, applicants no longer apply directly. Instead, you will now have to submit all the required documentation and wait for an invitation from the Canadian immigration authority before the application can proceed further. This new measure is intended to shorten processing time by filtering out ineligible applicants or applicants lacking sufficient supporting documents. Express Entry can effectively match applicants’ professional experience with the needs of the local Canadian labour market, as to ensure that all new immigrants can contribute to the Canadian economy.

For the qualified candidates in the Express Entry pool, once they receive the Invitation to Apply for Canada Permanent Residency, the application process will be expedited and most applicants will receive an answer within 6 months. The efficiency of Express Entry is particularly attractive to young and highly-educated individuals, as well as fresh graduates from Canadian universities.

The evaluation criteria of Express Entry includes age, language proficiency, education and work experience etc. An individual score will be generated based on the Federal Skilled Worker selection factors; a score of 67 or above is required for an application.

Application Requirements:

  • Age: 18 years or above
  • Language Proficiency: CLB7 for English (i.e. IELTS 6 points in all four categories), or NCLC7 for French. For additional points with a second language, the minimum requirement is CLB5 or NCLC5
  • Education: a Canadian diploma, certificate or credential. Alternatively, if you received your education overseas, you need to provide an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) to demonstrate its equivalence to a Canadian secondary or post-secondary educational credential
  • Work Experience: must have worked in one of the National Occupational Classification job groups, i.e., skill level 0, A or B and have at least one year of working experience within the last ten years
  • Federal Selection Factor Points: 67 points or above

National Occupational Classification (NOC)

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is based on the type of job duties and the work a person does and classifies jobs and occupations into Skill Type 0 (zero), Level A and Level B:

NOC Definition and Example
Skill Type 0 (zero) Management jobs, such as Bank Manager, Fund Manager, School Principal, Senior Station Officer (Fire Services Department), Sales Manager, Restaurant Manager etc.
Skill Level A Professional jobs that usually call for a degree from a university, such as Doctor, Teacher, Architect, Accountant, Software Engineer, Software Designer, Pharmacist, Civil Engineer, Stock Broker, Nurse, Education Consultant, Recruitment Consultant, Librarian, Archivist, Editor, News Journalist, Advertising/Marketing/PR Professional, Web Designer, Film Director, Actor, Dancers etc.
Skill Level B Technical jobs and skilled trades that usually call for a college diploma or training as an apprentice, such as: Business Executive, Optometrist, Photographer, Pilot, Early Childhood Educator, Fashion Designer, Athlete and Sports Coach, Wholesale Buyer, Retail Executive, Insurance Broker, Real-Estate Agent, Financial Sales Professional, Property Manager, Meeting and Event Planner, Agricultural and Fishery Product Inspector, Industrial Equipment Technician, Engineering Inspector and Supervisor, Deck Officer, Food Service Supervisor, Technical Customer Service Staff, Cleaning Officer, Broadcast Technician, Film and Broadcast Support Staff, Hair Stylist, Shoemaker, Tailor, Craftsmen etc.

If your job falls into one of the categories mentioned above, you can use the following table to estimate your individual scores and eligibility for Express Entry:

Age Max. 12 Points
18 – 35 12 points, 1 point is deducted every year after 35
≥ 47 0 points


Education Level Max. 25 Points
Doctoral (PhD) level 25 points
Master’s level 23 points
Two or more post-secondary credentials, one of which is a three-year or longer post-secondary credential 22 points
Three-year or longer post-secondary credentials 21 points
Two-year post-secondary credential 19 points
Secondary school/high school diploma 5 points


First Official Langage Proficiency (IELTS score equivalence) Max. 24 Points
Listening 8 or above/Reading 7 or above/Speaking 7 or above/Writing 7 or above 6 points per ability
Listening 7.5/Reading 6.5/Speaking 6.5/Writing 6.5 5 points per ability
Listening 6/Reading 6/Speaking 6/Writing 6.5 4 points per ability


Second Official Language Proficiency (NCLC score equivalence) Max. 4 Points
Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing NCLC 5 1 point per ability


Work Experience (NOC level 0,A,B) Max. 15 Points
6 years of above 15 points
4-5 years 13 points
2-3 years 11 points
1 year of full-time experience 9 points
Arranged Employment in Canada Points Max. 10 points


Adaptability Points Max. 10 points
Spouse Language Proficiency Points (IELTS): Listening-4.5/Speaking-4.0/Reading-3.5/Writing-4.0 5 points
Applicant’s past work in Canada (at least 1 year of full-time work) 10 points
Applicant’s spouse or partner’s past work in Canada (at least 1 year of full-time work) 5 points
Applicant’s past studies in Canada 5 points
Applicant’s spouse or partner’s past studies in Canada 5 points
Relatives in Canada 5 points

Canada Immigration Occupation In Demand List 2019

The Canada Immigration Occupation In Demand List is issued every year, showing which occupations are in shortage in the Canadian labour market. The list published in 2019 shows that managerial positions are currently in the greatest demand in Canada. If you intend to work in Canada, management professions in the following industries are highly sought after: finance, treading, construction, transportation, real estate, medicine, retail, F&B, property management and hospitality etc. There is also a continuous need for civil engineers, mechanical engineers, electronic engineers, chemical engineers etc.

Are You Qualified to Apply for the Federal Skilled Worker Program?

Applicants who score 67 or more Federal Selection factor points are eligible to apply for the Federal Skilled Worker Program and can register with a profile to enter the Express Entry pool. Once you are in the pool, your profile will be ranked according to the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Applicants with the highest scores will receive the Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence in Canada.

Simard & Associates and our team of professional immigration lawyer consultants have extensive experience in Canadian immigration programs. We have successfully helped thousands of families immigrate to Canada with tailored immigration application solutions. If you are interested to know more about obtaining Canadian citizenship or immigration requirements for different programs, please get in touch with us.

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