Express Entry through the Federal Skilled Worker Program—this is probably the standard answer given by any foreign worker when queried about his or her Canadian immigration strategy.
But, there’s more to Canadian skilled worker immigration than the FSWP. In fact, the second report of a five-part StatsCan and IRCC study shows that perhaps focusing on Provincial Nomination or the Canada Experience Class program may be a smarter decision.
CEC Plus PNPs Outweigh the FSWP
In 2018, one out of every four foreign skilled worker obtained permanent residence in Canada through the FSWP. While this looks impressive, PNPs and the CEC combined accounted for 66 percent i.e. two out of every three successful PR application during the year.
And this has been the trend for quite some time now. In 2000, around 12 percent of all applicants to economic-class immigration programs in Canada had worked in the country as a temporary foreign worker. By 2018, this figure has risen to close to 60 percent of all applicants.
This is significant because the CEC program is open only to those with Canadian work experience. Further, most non-Express Entry streams of Provincial Nomination Programs require applicants to have worked or studied in the province as a mandatory eligibility requirement.
Further, the study finds that applicants with Canadian experience also find it easier to get better-paying jobs. This means a foreign degree from Canada or opting for a low-paying job with a Canadian employer for a year or two can prove to be a smart investment that you can recover by obtaining PR through the CEC or a PNP stream.
The Two-Step Immigration Strategy
A country that seeks to attract foreign workers quickly becomes a very popular destination for foreign students as well. This is because one can explore internship or practical training opportunities when completing the foreign degree. This can further lead to a work permit followed by a permanent residence application.
The two-step immigration strategy is easier in Canada because it offers fast-track work permit processing for highly-skilled workers along with a transparent and predictable route to permanent residence through Express Entry or provincial nomination.
Actionable Tips for the Aspiring Immigrant
So, how do the results of this study help you finetune your Canadian immigration strategy? Well, just keep the following points in mind.
Focus on acquiring Canadian experience. Get a degree from a Canadian institution. Or, if that’s not feasible, then focus on entering Canada as a temporary foreign worker. Explore the pilot programs, including the Atlantic Pilot and the recently-launched community and rural pilot.
There are provincial streams that don’t require you to have a job offer to enter and live in Canada. Your Canadian prospects will quickly open up once you have some Canadian experience under your belt.
Finally, understanding that Canada immigration is not just about one federal program. There are many options and seeking professional immigration advice and exploring federal programs like the CEC or PNP streams can help you fast track your Canadian immigration journey.