Engineers And Technologists are tops on the Canada immigration occupation list under the Federal Skilled Worker Program.
On May 4, 2013, after the long wait, the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) finally reopens its gates for applicants. Ahead of this, the government has released the criteria that will be used for evaluating applications, including an intake limit of 5,000 and a total of 24 occupations considered eligible.
According to FSWP rules, only applications of individuals with experience and skills in any of the 24 eligible occupations will be reviewed. These 24 occupations are covered in full detail in the National Occupation Classification (NOC) system. Found on the latest list of eligible occupations are computer programmers and interactive media developers, financial and investment analysts and engineers, among many others.
Note that NOC codes attached to occupation names are not everything there is to know about qualifying under the FSWP. This article looks closer into NOCs and how to understand them correctly.
Workers must have a minimum of one year, full-time and continuous paid job experience within the last decade in any of the 24 listed occupations. Under the FSWP, there are two points that will officially count as experience in a specific profession:
• Performance of all actions detailed in the occupation’s lead statement as described in the NOC; and
• Performance of many of the occupation’s main and essential duties and responsibilities as described in the NOC.
The purpose of the NOC is to provide the clearest distinctions among jobs and duties, but as different occupations may involve similar duties or responsibilities, overlaps are expected.
An individual may have experience in various distinct yet highly similar jobs within his professional career, and while his employment background may not be in line with an eligible occupation, the overlap may be substantial for him to be considered as eligible for that particular NOC. If he is currently employed in a non-eligible profession but has worked previously in an occupation considered eligible within the last decade, he can file an FSWP application.
Quicker action on the Federal Skilled Worker Program application is necessary to be able to be included in the cap.
Consider NOC 2174 Computer Programmers and Interactive Media Developers as an example. Information technology professionals may think this category is not for them, but looking closely into the lead statement:
“Computer programmers write, modify, integrate and test computer code for microcomputer and mainframe software applications, data processing applications, operating systems-level software and communications software. Interactive media developers write, modify, integrate and test computer code for Internet applications, computer-based training software, computer games, film, video and other interactive media. They are employed in computer software development firms, information technology consulting firms, and in information technology units throughout the private and public sectors.”
There are many IT professionals who, while not exclusively identified as computer programmers, perform duties that are highly similar to what the above lead statement describes. A good number of NOC’s even list other related occupations that can pass as eligible, such as the following for NOC 2174:
Database analysts and data administrators
Graphic designers and illustrators
Information systems testing technicians
Information systems analysts and consultants
Software engineers and designers
Web designers and developers
Computer network technicians
When applying under a certain NOC, individuals must, of course, prepare to prove how or why their employment experience must be considered suitable for that particular NOC.
The Implications for Applicants
FSWP processing time from now on will be much faster and successful applicants will arrive in Canada more prepared. Both are promised by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney who says changes to the FSWP are specifically intended to increase potential immigrants’ chances of succeeding in Canada. He also encourages those who are eligible to consult a professional as they move on with the application process.
While FSWP remains to be the most preferred Canadian immigration program, individuals who are not eligible can explore 60 other routes to Permanent Residency. In any case, successful applicants can have peace of mind from knowing they will land in Canada with a warm welcome.