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Applying for Permanent Residence in Canada:
A Self-assessment Guide for Independent Applicants

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  *  A Few Facts to Start...
  *  Introduction
  *  The Selection System and Self-assessment
  *  The Application
  *  Upon your arrival
  *  Appendix 1: Registration and licensing

  This booklet explains the requirements for immigrating to Canada
  as an independent immigrant. It will also help you to decide if
  you would be eligible to apply as an independent immigrant for
  permanent residence in Canada.

Please read this booklet carefully before you apply for a visa.
This is not a legal document; for legal information please refer to
the Immigration Act and Regulations.

A FEW FACTS TO START ...

  Anyone who wants to immigrate to Canada as an independent
  immigrant must apply for an immigrant visa.

  To get a visa you must:
      o be assessed against a point based selection system to see
        if you qualify;
      o have a valid passport or travel document;
      o be able to support yourself and your dependants in Canada;
      o be of good health and character; and
      o pay a non-refundable processing fee.

  This booklet is divided into four main sections:

  Introduction: who may apply for an independent immigrant visa and
  the basic requirements for getting one.

  The selection system: this explains the point system used to
  select immigrants, and includes a self-assessment work sheet you
  use to calculate your potential point score.

  The application: how to apply and required documents.

  Upon your arrival: what happens when you arrive in Canada and the
  settlement services available.

INTRODUCTION

  If you want to live in Canada as an independent immigrant you
  must get an immigrant visa from a Canadian Embassy or Consulate
  outside Canada. This introduction gives general information about
  applying for an immigrant visa.

Who may apply as an independent immigrant?

  A person with special occupational skills and experience may
  qualify as an independant immigrant. These skills must be readily
  transferable to the Canadian labour market.

Does it help to have a relative in Canada?

  Having a close relative in Canada may help you qualify for a visa
  because it increases your point score under the selection system.
  The relative in Canada must be a permanent resident or Canadian
  citizen 19 years of age or over.

What if I want to settle in the province of Quebec?

  The Government of the Province of Quebec selects its own
  immigrants in co-operation with the Government of Canada. If you
  wish to settle in Quebec you should submit your application to
  the nearest office of the Quebec Immigration Service.

Do professionals need registration and licensing to work in Canada?

  Many occupations in Canada require membership in a professional
  association and/or registration or licensing. Applicants
  intending to work in one of these occupations may need to prove
  they hold sufficient credentials to meet professional licensing
  requirements.

  We suggest you contact the appropriate professional association
  in Canada to have your qualifications assessed before you submit
  your application and fee.

  Please see Appendix 1 for more details.

Do I pay a fee?

  Yes, a processing fee is charged. See the information on
  processing fees to determine the amount and how you must pay. The
  fee is non-refundable, even if your application is refused. You
  are paying for the work done on your application.

What are the basic requirements for an immigrant visa?

  You and your dependants must satisfy the visa officer that you
  meet the requirements of the Canadian Immigration Act and
  Regulations. You must:
      o meet health requirements;
      o be law abiding;
      o not be a risk to the security of Canada;
      o have a valid passport or travel document;
      o have enough money to look after yourself and your
    dependants in Canada until you become self-supporting;
      o produce all documents requested by the visa officer to
    establish your admissibility; and
      o pay the processing fee.

  In addition, you must score sufficient points under the selection
  system.

Who is included in my application?

  If you are married, either you or your spouse may apply as
  principal applicant. You and your spouse should both complete the
  enclosed worksheet to help you decide which of you would get a
  higher point score, and apply as the principal applicant.

  Whether or not they wish to immigrate with you, include all your
  dependent children who are:
      o under 19 years of age and unmarried on the date when your
    application is received at the visa office; those who wish to
    immigrate must be still unmarried at the time when the visa is
    issued and when they arrive in Canada.

        Dependent children aged 19 years and over may also be
    included if they are financially supported by their parents for
    one of the following reasons:
      o they are enrolled as full-time students in an educational
    institution on the date of their 19th birthday and still
    enrolled when the application is received and when the visa is
    issued; students who interrupt their full-time studies continue
    to be considered dependants provided that the total absence of
    studies does not exceed one year; or
      o they are unable to support themselves because of a physical
    or mental disability.

        Note: Some disabilities may result in refusal for medical
    reasons.

  Your dependants must pass background screening and medical
  examinations. All family members 18 years of age and over must
  complete their own individual application form.

What if I have dependants who will not accompany me to Canada?

  You and your dependants, whether or not they will accompany you,
  must pass medical examinations and background checks before a
  visa can be issued to you. All your dependants must be included
  on your application form, or if 18 years of age or older, must
  complete their own application form. You must inform the visa
  office, in writing, of the names of any of your dependants who
  will not accompany you to Canada.

THE SELECTION SYSTEM
AND SELF-ASSESSMENT

  All applicants are assessed according to the "selection system".
  A worksheet is provided in this booklet to help you assess your
  chances of qualifying.

  Points are calculated based on the following:
      o age;
      o education;
      o Educational and Training Factor (ETF), which refers to the
    level of training needed to work in your occupation in Canada;
      o occupation;
      o arranged employment/designated occupation;
      o work experience;
      o language ability;
      o demographic factor (this number is set by the federal
    government);
      o personal suitability; and
      o relatives in Canada.

  Note: If you do not score 70 points, you are unlikely to qualify
  as an independent immigrant.

Is my occupation important in the selection system?

  Yes, it is very important. Your application for an immigrant visa
  will be assessed mainly on your qualifications, skills and
  experience in the occupation you wish to have in Canada.

  You must have at least one year's experience in your occupation.
  Your occupation must be listed on the General Occupations List,
  included with this guide. All occupations are assessed against
  Canadian standards for that occupation. You should be aware that
  job titles in your country may not correspond to the same
  positions in Canada. Some occupations require licensing.

How to estimate your points

  The worksheet below lists the factors upon which your application
  will be assessed. Read the explanation for each factor, and fill
  in your score on the worksheet.

  This self-assessment will indicate if you will have a good chance
  of qualifying. If you decide to apply and pay the fee, a visa
  officer will review your point score. If there is a difference
  between the points you give yourself, and the points the visa
  officer awards you, the visa officer's assessment will prevail.

Factor 1 -- Age (maximum 10 points)

  Points are given for your age at the time your application is
  received. To calculate your points for this factor, use Table 1.

  Table 1: Calculation of age points
    Age                Total Points
    18                       4
    19                       6
    20                       8
   21-44                    10
    45                       8
    46                       6
    47                       4
    48                       2
49 and over                  0

Factor 2 -- Education (maximum 16 points)

  Points are given for the highest level of schooling you have
  achieved.
                                                                    Score
  If you have not completed secondary school                          0

  If you have completed secondary school, but the program does not
  allow for entrance to a university and does not include trade or
  occupational certification                                          5

  If secondary school has been completed and the program provides
  for entrance to university                                         10

  If secondary school has been completed and the program includes
  trade or occupational certification                                10

  If you have completed a post-secondary program (for example,
  college, trade school diploma or apprenticeship) which required,
  as a condition of admission, secondary schooling at a level that
  does not ordinarily allow for entrance to a university (the
  program must have included at least one year of full-time
  classroom study)                                                   10

  If you have completed a post-secondary program (for example,
  college, trade school diploma or apprenticeship) which required,
  as a condition of admission, secondary schooling at a level that
  allows for entrance to a university (the program must have
  included at least one year of full-time classroom study)           13

  If you have completed a university degree in a program that
  requires at least three years of full time study                   15

  If you have completed a second or third level university degree    16

Factor 3 -- Educational and Training Factor (maximum 18 points)

  Educational and Training Factor (ETF) refers to the length of
  training, education, and/or apprenticeship required to work in
  Canada.
                                                                    Score
  If the occupation you have selected is listed in the enclosed
  occupations list (see Factor 4), give yourself the number of
  points listed under the As column marked "ETF" for that
  occupation listed

  If your occupation is not on the enclosed occupations list but
  you have arranged employment in Canada the ETF points will be
  shown on the notification of arranged employment sent to you by
  the visa office.                                                As notified

Factor 4 -- Occupation (maximum 10 points)

  Points are given according to your occupation in Canada.
  Generally, it is the occupation for which you have training or
  experience.
                                                                   Score
  If your occupation is not indicated on the enclosed occupations
  list, check it to see if there is another occupation for which
  you are qualified. If there is, give yourself the points listed  As listed

  If there is no occupation listed for which you are qualified       0

  If you have arranged employment or a designated occupation with
  an ETF above 11 (as outlined in Factor 5)                         10

  Note: You must receive at least one point in this factor to be
  accepted. If you have scored 0 in Factor 4 your application will
  be refused.

Factor 5 -- Arranged employment/designated occupation factor (10
  points)

  Arranged employment is a guaranteed offer of employment from a
  Canadian employer. This offer must be approved by a Canada
  Employment Centre and you must be qualified to do the job.

  Designated occupations are occupations identified by a province
  or territory as being especially in demand in that region. These
  occupations change periodically and are identified on the
  enclosed occupations list.
                                                                    Score
  If you have arranged employment or a designated occupation         10

  If you are a member of the clergy and have a letter from a
  congregation in Canada offering you a position                     10

  If your family in Canada has a business where you will work full
  time. This process must be initiated in Canada, and the offer of
  employment must be approved by a Canada Immigration Centre.        10

Factor 6 -- Work experience (maximum 8 points)

  The number of points depends on: 1) the number of years you have
  worked in your intended occupation, after completion of formal
  training; and 2) the number of points you scored for ETF, Factor 3.
                                                                    Score
  To calculate the number of points you would receive for
  experience use Table 2 below. Find the number that corresponds to
  your ETF, and read across to the number of years of experience
  you have in your occupation. The number in the years columns will
  be the number of points you will receive for this factor     As calculated

  Table 2: Calculation of experience points

            Years of experience in occupation
                1     2     3     4 or more
  ETF points   
   1 - 3        2     2     2     2    = Points
   5 - 7        2     4     4     4
  11 - 15       2     4     6     6
    18          2     4     6     8

  For example: Robert has an ETF of 7 after his formal training and
  three years' experience in his job. He will get 4 points for
  experience.

  Note: You must have at least one year's experience in your
  occupation to score a point under this factor. A score of 0 in
  Factor 6 means your application will be refused.

Factor 7 -- Language ability (maximum 15 points)
                                                                    Score
  If you are fluent in both official languages (English and French)  15

  Fluent: Means you have a very good command of the language in a
  wide range of social and work situations, and have no
  difficulties communicating in a professional capacity.

  Well: Means you can communicate reasonably well about personal
  and familiar things.

  With difficulty: Means you know just a few basic words.

  If you are not fluent in both official languages, use Table 3 to
  estimate your points. Mark the score that best reflects your
  ability to read, write and speak English and/or French. Total the
  points for your abilities, keeping in mind that the maximum is 15
  points.

  Table 3: Calculation of language points

  First Language       Read        Write      Speak
     Fluent              3           3          3
     Well                2           2          2
     With difficulty     0           0          0

  Second Language      Read        Write      Speak
     Fluent              2           2          2
     Well                1           1          1
     With difficulty     0           0          0

  Total of read + write + speak = ________

                                                                 Score
     For a total score of 0 or 1                                  0
     For a total score of 2 to 5                                  2
     For a total score of 6 to 15 enter the actual score
     to a maximum of 15                                        Actual score

  For example: Helen has rated her language abilities in the
  following way:

  In English she can read fluently, and can write and speak well.
  She gave herself 3 points for reading, 2 points for writing, and
  2 points for speaking under First Language. As she does not read,
  write or speak French, she gave herself 0 points for her Second
  Language ability. Adding her points together, Helen has a total
  of 7 points for her ability to speak the First Language, English,
  and 0 points for the Second Language, French. She thus has 7
  points for a total score of 7.

Factor 8 -- Demographic factor (maximum 10 points)
                                                                    Score
  This is a number set by the federal government                      8

Factor 9 -- Personal suitability (maximum 10 points)

  Personal suitability refers to adaptability, motivation,
  initiative, and resourcefulness. This factor examines whether you
  and your family will be able to settle successfully in Canada.
                                                                    Score
  The points for personal suitability will be assessed by a visa
  officer. The maximum score allotted for personal suitability is
  10. The average applicant is awarded from 5 to 7 points; few
  receive either 0 or 10. Use the average score to assess your own
  personal suitability                                               5-7

Factor 10 -- Relative in Canada (Bonus 5 points)
                                                                    Score
  Give yourself 5 points if a brother, sister, mother, father,
  grandparent, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew is a permanent
  resident or Canadian citizen living in Canada                       5

Self-Assessment Worksheet

  Self-Assessment worksheet (Table 4), is provided to help you to
  calculate your point score.

  Table 4: Self-assessment Worksheet

  Factor                                Maximum Points      Your Score
  1. Age                                        10        
  2. Education                                  16
  3. Educational and Training Factor            18
  4. Occupation                                 10
  5. Arranged employment/designated occupation  10
  6. Work experience                             8
  7. Language ability                           15
  8. Demographic factor                         10
  9. Personal suitability                       10
 10. Relative in Canada (Bonus)                  5
                                               Your Score:

  Note: You should achieve a score of 70 points to qualify for an
  immigrant visa.

  Note: Points awarded for occupational factor are updated
  periodically. Point scores may change without notice. Your
  application will be evaluated based on the regulations in effect on
  the date your completed application and fee are received at the visa
  office.

  For example: Marie is a pharmacist who mails her application for
  permanent residence to the visa office on May 1. At that time,
  pharmacists are on the occupations list with a score of 5 for
  occupational factor. Unfortunately, by the time her application
  arrives at the visa office on May 15, pharmacists are no longer on
  the list. Marie thus will not score any points for occupational
  factor. As all applicants must score at least 1 point under the
  occupational factor, her application is refused.
  
THE APPLICATION

  This section explains how to apply, and how your application will be
  processed by the visa office.

How do I apply?

  Step one: Complete the self-assessment worksheet (Table 4).

  Step two: If you decide to proceed, complete the application form that is
  included with this booklet. Your spouse and dependent children age 18 or
  over must complete their own application form whether or not they will
  accompany you to Canada.

  Step three: Return the completed application form with four recent passport
  size photographs of yourself and your dependants. Include the processing fee
  and send to the nearest Canadian visa office.

Where do I apply?

  You may apply for an immigrant visa at any Canadian visa office.
  Immigrant visas are only issued outside Canada.

  Note: You should be aware that if you submit your application to a
  visa office, whether inside or outside your country of permanent
  residence, your spouse and dependent children aged 18 and over may be
  required to attend an interview with a visa officer.

What documents may be required?

  The following documents may be required for the processing of your
  application (do not send these until you are requested to do so by
  the visa officer):
      o passports or travel documents for yourself, your spouse and
        dependent children;
      o proof of birth for your dependent children;
      o marriage, separation and final divorce certificates;
      o death certificates, if applicable;
      o adoption papers for adopted dependent children;
      o proof of custody for children under the age of 18 and proof
        that the children may be removed from the jurisdiction of the
        court; if the children will not accompany you to Canada, proof that
        you have fulfilled any obligation stated in custody agreements;
      o proof of the studies of all dependent children age 19 or over;
      o a family tree or list of family members;
      o proof of relationship to your close relatives in Canada;
      o diplomas, school certificates or apprenticeship documents;
      o letters from previous employers providing a statement of duties
        and/or employment contracts;
      o proof that you meet the licensing or certification requirements
        for your chosen occupation in Canada, if applicable;
      o police certificates, if available, from countries where you
        have resided for over six months during the past 10 years;
      o proof of arranged employment in Canada, if available; and
      o proof of sufficient funds to maintain yourself and your
        dependants until you are self-supporting in Canada.

  Note: All documents submitted must be original or certified
  photocopies. If they are not in English or French you may be required
  to send a certified translation in either English or French. If you
  cannot obtain some of the documents, you must provide a written
  explanation.

What happens when my application is received?

  Processing of your application begins the day you submit a completed
  form and pay the processing fee.

  Your application will be reviewed to determine if:
      o you meet the basic requirements;
      o you have enough points for an immigrant visa;
      o you have provided all required information and documents; and
      o your qualifications need to be assessed by a professional
        association in Canada.

  You will then be informed if your application will be processed
  further or refused.

The medical examination

  You and your dependants must pass a medical examination to ensure
  that you are all in good health. The visa office will give you
  medical forms and instructions, and a list of doctors who will do the
  medical examination.

  The medical examination consists of a general physical examination, a
  blood and urine test, and a chest x-ray. The doctor will forward the
  results to a Canadian medical officer who will assess the results of
  your examination.

What happens if I don't pass the medical examination?

  If you or your dependants have a serious medical problem and do not
  pass the medical examination, your application will be refused.

The background check

  This refers to background checks completed in all countries where you
  and your dependants have lived. These checks will determine if you
  have any arrests or convictions, and if you are a security risk to
  Canada.

How is the background check done?

  The visa officer will start the check based on information provided
  in your application.

  You and your dependants may be asked to provide police certificates.

  If you or any of your dependants have a criminal conviction, your
  application will probably be refused. Generally, persons with a
  criminal conviction are not admitted into Canada. Under exceptional
  circumstances, however, such persons may request special
  consideration. Occasionally such persons are admitted on the grounds
  that they have been rehabilitated. You must wait five years after the
  end of your sentence to apply for approval of rehabilitation.

  Note: If the conviction occurred in Canada, you must seek a pardon
  from the National Parole Board of Canada.

Passports or travel documents

  You and your dependants must have valid passports or travel
  documents. If your passports or travel documents will expire in the
  near future, get them renewed. Your visa cannot exceed the validity
  date of your travel document.

Will I need to attend an interview?

  After reviewing your application, a visa officer will decide if an
  interview is necessary. If so, you will be informed of its time and
  place.

  The interview is to determine your personal suitability for
  immigration to Canada, as well as your occupational expertise and
  professional qualifications. The visa officer may ask you questions
  about your job, past experience, education, reasons for migrating,
  plans for the future in Canada, and the preparations you have made.
  These questions are intended to evaluate your motivation, initiative,
  adaptability, and resourcefulness, which indicate if you will settle
  successfully in Canada.

  The visa officer may also ask questions about your health, financial
  situation, past difficulties with the law, if any, and your family,
  spouse, and/or dependants. The officer will answer questions or
  concerns you may have about moving to Canada.

How long will it take to obtain my visa?

  Applicants are processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
  Processing time depends on the complexity of your application, the
  number of applications being processed and how quickly you respond to
  requests from the visa office for documents or other information.

  Note: Individuals or agencies who help you to complete your
  application are not given any special treatment in processing.

How will I be informed of the decision?

  If your application is accepted, you will either receive your visa by
  mail or you will be advised when you may pick it up at the visa
  office.

  If your application has been refused, you will be informed by letter
  of the decision and the reasons for the refusal.

  Please do not quit your job, sell or give away your possessions until
  you have been issued an immigrant visa.

  Note: All immigrant visas have an expiry date. You should make
  arrangements to arrive in Canada before the expiry date on your visa.
  No extensions are possible. If your visa expires, you will have to
  reapply, pay a new fee and be reassessed.
  
UPON YOUR ARRIVAL

What happens when I arrive in Canada?

  When you arrive, you must present your immigrant visa to a
  customs/immigration officer. Landing formalities will then be
  completed.

What settlement services are available?

  Various kind of settlement services are available to immigrants. You
  can find out about them at Canada Immigration Centres, Canada
  Employment Centres and private organizations.

  It is your responsibility to get a job once you arrive. Employment
  opportunities vary depending on the region and season of the year. An
  immigrant visa is no guarantee of employment. You should have
  sufficient funds to keep yourself and your dependants until you have
  become established in Canada.

What are my rights and obligations as a permanent resident of Canada?

  You and your dependants have the right to live, study and work
  indefinitely in Canada, and are entitled to most social benefits
  accorded to Canadian citizens. When you have met citizenship
  requirements, you may apply for Canadian citizenship and a Canadian
  passport.

  There are few limitations on permanent residents. You cannot vote in
  certain elections. You may be ineligible for certain jobs requiring
  high-level security clearances.

  As a permanent resident, you also have the same legal obligations as
  Canadians, such as paying taxes and respecting other laws.

  If you or your dependants commit serious crimes, you or your
  dependants risk being deported from Canada.

  You remain a permanent resident until you become a Canadian citizen
  or you abandon Canada as your place of residence. You may be
  considered to have abandoned Canada if you have frequent and/or
  lengthy absences from Canada.

  Travelling to Canada to present your visas for landing and then
  returning to live in your home country indefinitely will result in
  the loss of your permanent resident status.
  
APPENDIX 1:
REGISTRATION AND LICENSING

  Several professions require registration and/or licensing. The
  following is a list of some of these. The visa officer will inform
  you of any additional documentation required for occupations that are
  not included.

  Applicants intending to work in the following occupations should be
  aware that there are special procedures related to the registration
  and licensing of their occupations.

  Academics and professors: Academics who intend to teach at a Canadian
  university must obtain a "confirmation of offer of employment" issued
  by a Canada Employment Centre before their application can be
  approved.

  Engineers: To score points under Factor 4, Occupation, Engineers may
  have their engineering education and experience reviewed by the
  Canadian Council of Professional Engineers (CCPE). To do this they
  must obtain form IMM 1338 from the visa office. Complete this form
  and return it with the required documents and a non-refundable fee
  payable to the CCPE. The visa officer will forward your request to
  the CCPE. The result of this informal review leads only to
  occupational designation for immigration purposes and will not have
  any bearing on the final decision of the licensing authority in
  Canada.

  Engineering and applied sciences technologists and technicians: To
  score points under Factor 4, Occupation, engineering and applied
  sciences technologists and technicians may have their education and
  experience reviewed by the Canadian Council of Technicians and
  Technologists (CCTT). To do this they must obtain form IMM 1338 from
  the visa office. Complete this form and return it with the required
  documents and a non-refundable fee payable to the CCTT. The visa
  officer will forward your request to the CCTT. The result of this
  informal review leads only to occupational designation for
  immigration purposes and will not have any bearing on the final
  decision of the licensing authority in Canada.

  Occupational therapists: To score points under Factor 5, Designated
  occupation, or Factor 4, Occupation, occupational therapists may have
  their academic background reviewed by the Canadian Association of
  Occupational Therapists (CAOT). This is to determine whether they are
  qualified to write the national certification examination. To do this
  they must obtain form IMM 5206 from the visa office. Complete this
  form and return it with the required documents and a non-refundable
  fee payable to the CAOT. The visa officer will forward your request
  to the CAOT.

  The result of this informal review leads only to occupational
  designation for immigration purposes and will not have any bearing on
  the final decision of the licensing authority in Canada. Occupational
  licensing is a provincial responsibility. Upon arrival in Canada, you
  will have to contact the provincial occupational therapy regulatory
  body in your province of destination to apply for a licence to
  practise as an occupational therapist.

  Physicians: Physicians who intend to practise medicine in Canada must
  obtain a "confirmation of offer of employment" issued by a Canada
  Employment Centre before their application can be approved.

  There are a number of restrictions which limit the employment of
  medical personnel in Canada. The visa officer will inform you of
  these restrictions.

  Note: There are a number of occupations which are not on the general
  occupations list. Individuals may, in spite of this, still consider
  independent immigration to Canada. In such cases, the applicant must
  have a "confirmation of offer of employment" from a Canada Employment
  Centre if their application is to be approved.
 


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