Recently the government of Canada raised the amount of settlement funds that some economic immigration candidates are required to show. Often times not having enough settlement funds is a deal-breaker for many potential immigrants to Canada.
Two questions usually raised by clients during consultations when assessing their “Express Entry options”
1. How can they prove the required settlement funds, and
2. Can they be exempt from proving such funds because they currently work in Canada?
The purpose of this blog post if to explain the scenarios under which permanent resident applicants are exempted from the requirement of proving enough settlement funds, particularly applicants using the three economic immigration programs processed through the Express Entry system.
A) Which economic immigration candidates have to prove settlement funds?
We should keep in mind that of the three economic immigration programs currently processed through the Express Entry, namely the Canadian Experience Class (“CEC”), the Federal Skilled Worker Class (‘FSWC”) and the Federal Skilled Trades Class (“FSTC”), only CEC candidates are not required to prove settlement funds. However, it may not be easy to secure the required 1 year (or equivalent part-time) full-time experience in skilled occupation (TEER 0, 1, 2 or 3) in Canada in the 3 years preceding the Permanent Residence application, even after completing an educational credential in Canada. Therefore, many applicants already working in Canada – in TEER 4 or 5 occupation – might only be eligible to be in the Express Entry pool through the FSWC or the FSTC, thanks to their foreign work experience.
B) When are applicants exempted from proving settlement funds as a FSWC and FSTC candidates?
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR”) can be difficult to understand. However, in a nutshell, applicants will not need to demonstrate settlement funds if they have been awarded points for “arranged employment” and if they already have a work permit (i.e. working in Canada) pursuant to s.76(1)(b)(ii) of the IRPR. Having a job offer from a Canadian employer and currently working in Canada – even in a skilled job – just might not be enough.
To obtain points for arranged employment, the candidate should meet one of the scenarios described below:
1) LMIA-based work permit: The candidate receives a job-offer from the employer named in the valid LMIA-based work permit to work in the same position he/she is currently working.
2) LMIA-exempt work permit: The candidate receives a job offer from the employer named in the valid LMIA-exempt work permit to work in the same position he/she is currently working, provided the foreign national has already accumulated 1 year of full-time work for that employer pursuant to that LMIA-exempt work permit. This LMIA-exempt work permit could have been obtained through an international agreement (i.e. CUSMA) or through s.205 of the IRPR – commonly known as “Canadian interests”.
It is important to understand that work experience accumulated through open work permits will not count towards that 1 year of full-time work experience mentioned above, as the employer is not named in the work permit. Those open work permit times include for instance Post-Graduate Work Permit or Spousal Open Work Permit in the case of spouses or common-law partners of qualified international students or foreign workers in skilled full-time positions. Applicants in these circumstances who wish to claim points for arranged employment will need to secure one of the work permits described above.
Lastly, it is worth mentioning that in the case of FSTC applicants, the job offer could be made up by up to two employers, both of which should be specified in the work permit.