HAVANA TIMES — This past January 1, a special program offering “express entry” to qualified individuals wishing to become permanent residents of Canada came into effect, affording new opportunities to Cuban professionals interested in options outside the island.
The Express Entry Program – now a priority of the Canadian government – will offer 25 thousand job positions to qualified applicants, who will be entitled to immigrate to Canada through an express mechanism that involves a 6-month or shorter process, instead of the two-year or longer waiting period for immigrants with the required qualifications to settle in Canada that had been in effect till now.
The system will be based on a visa lottery. The application will be valid before Canadian authorities for a period of 12 months.
Ninety-one Job Categories
Ottawa will invest CAD $ 14 million – some US $ 11.8 million – over the next two years to ensure the successful implementation of the Express Entry program, which seeks to fill professional positions for which there are not enough available qualified Canadians.
Canadian immigration authorities have issued an invitation to professionals around the world who are qualified in some 91 different categories, from medical engineering to computer programming to psychology and translation.
This initiative is part of Canada’s efforts to improve its immigration system to address the country’s workforce demands, and to ensure that the Temporary Foreign Worker program that has been in effect for years grants permanent residency to the most qualified applicants.
“Canada will be able to identify and select those who are most likely to succeed in Canada, based on work experience, education, language and other factors. Previously applications were processed on a first-come, first-served basis,” Immigration Minister Chris Alexander declared before a commission of deputies at the beginning of June last year.
Internet Applications Available
In anticipation of the launching of the Express Entry program, the federal government began accepting applications over the Internet on May 1 last year as part of the existing qualified workers program. This time around, it received five times the 5 thousand applications accepted in 2013.
Professionals who have submitted their applications will be considered for the Express Entry program. Those who have not yet presented an application still have time to do so.
“The qualified workers program has been very beneficial and has given many people the opportunity to leave the country and pursue new prospects,” Cuban journalist Maria de Lourdes Torriente, who has lived in Canada since 2007, stated. “Of course, I know many fellow Cubans of diverse professions and trades who have used it to cross the border into the United States.”
According to Torriente, the increase in the number of professions and trades included in the list of work opportunities will make it possible for a greater number of people to submit an application and make the process easier for Cubans.
Following the migratory reforms implemented by Raul Castro’s government in January of 2013, Cubans are entitled to leave the country for up to 24 months without losing their residency and privileges as citizens of Cuba, such that traveling to Canada to live and work there would not deprive them of their legal status on the island.
Money Up Front
“However, applicants are required to have a considerable sum of money, without which the Canadian government feels the new immigrants will be unable to become established here, a sum not everyone can get their hands on,” the journalist added.
Usually, the sum is set at CAD $ 5,000 (US $ 4,200) for two people, and the sum goes up for couples with children. The money must be deposited in a bank account in Canada before the applicants arrive in the country.
The process is simple, but applicants must have an educational background recognized by Canada and included in the National Occupational Classification (NOC).
All applicants must take a language exam (English and/or French). The process involves a point system which requires applicants to score a minimum to be considered. Points are awarded in dependence of the profession of the main applicants, their age, language proficiency, profession or educational level of their spouse and whether the applicants have relatives in Canada or not.
The process is hastened if applicants can offer proof of a work offer in Canada.
A permanent residency application costs CAD $ 490 (US $ 415) per person. Applicants under 18 are not required to pay for the application.
The money must be paid after the application has been approved, but Canadian authorities recommend including the payment with the application to hasten the process. If the applicant is turned down or the immigrant worker ultimately does not make use of their visa, the money is reimbursed in its entirety.
The 50 job categories under which an Express Entry visa can be requested, as per Canada’s workforce needs, are the following:
NOC O Group Occupation List
(Skill level A)
011 Administrative services managers
012 Managers in financial and business services
013 Managers in communication (except broadcasting)
021 Managers in engineering, architecture, science and information systems
031 Managers in health care
041 Managers in public administration
042 Managers in education and social and community services
043 Managers in public protection services
051 Managers in art, culture, recreation and sport
060 Corporate sales managers
062 Retail and wholesale trade managers
063 Managers in food service and accommodation
065 Managers in customer and personal services, n.e.c.
071 Managers in construction and facility operation and maintenance
073 Managers in transportation
081 Managers in natural resources production and fishing
082 Managers in agriculture, horticulture and aquacultureure
091 Managers in manufacturing and utilities
NOC A Group Occupation List
(Occupations usually require university education.)
111 Auditors, accountants and investment professionals
112 Human resources and business service professionals
211 Physical science professionals
212 Life science professionals
213 Civil, mechanical, electrical and chemical engineers
214 Other engineers
215 Architects, urban planners and land surveyors
216 Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries
217 Computer and information systems professionals
311 Physicians, dentists and veterinarians
312 Optometrists, chiropractors and other health diagnosing and treating professionals
313 Pharmacists, dietitians and nutritionists
314 Therapy and assessment professionals
411 Judges, lawyers and Quebec notaries
415 Social and community service professionals
416 Policy and program researchers, consultants and officers
511 Librarians, archivists, conservators and curators
512 Writing, translating and related communications professionals
513 Creative and performing artists
NOC B Group Occupation List
(Occupations usually require college education or apprenticeship training.)
121 Administrative services supervisors
122 Administrative and regulatory occupations
124 Office administrative assistants – general, legal and medical
125 Court reporters, transcriptionists, records management technicians and statistical officers
131 Finance, insurance and related business administrative occupations
221 Technical occupations in physical sciences
222 Technical occupations in life sciences
223 Technical occupations in civil, mechanical and industrial engineering
224 Technical occupations in electronics and electrical engineering
225 Technical occupations in architecture, drafting, surveying, geomatics and meteorology
226 Other technical inspectors and regulatory officers
227 Transportation officers and controllers
228 Technical occupations in computer and information systems
321 Medical technologists and technicians (except dental health)
322 Technical occupations in dental health care
323 Other technical occupations in health care
421 Parapro- fessional occupations in legal, social, community and education services
431 Occupations in front-line public protection services
521 Technical occupations in libraries, public archives, museums and art galleries
522 Photographers, graphic arts technicians and technical and coordinating occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting and the performing arts
523 Announcers and other performers, n.e.c.
524 Creative designers and craftspersons
525 Athletes, coaches, referees and related occupations
621 Retail sales supervisors
622 Technical sales specialists in wholesale trade and retail and wholesale buyers
623 Insurance, real estate and financial sales occupations
631 Service supervisors
632 Chefs and cooks
633 Butchers and bakers
634 Specialized occupations in personal and customer services
720 Contractors and supervisors, industrial, electrical and construction trades and related workers
723 Machining, metal forming, shaping and erecting trades
724 Electrical trades and electrical power line and telecommunications workers
725 Plumbers, pipefitters and gas fitters
727 Carpenters and cabinetmakers
728 Masonry and plastering trades
729 Other construction trades
730 Contractors and supervisors, maintenance trades and heavy equipment and transport operators
731 Machinery and transportation equipment mechanics (except motor vehicle)
732 Automotive service technicians
733 Other mechanics and related repairers
736 Train crew operating occupations
737 Crane operators, drillers and blasters
738 Printing press operators and other trades and related occupations, n.e.c.
821 Supervisors, logging and forestry
822 Contractors and supervisors, mining, oil and gas
823 Underground miners, oil and gas drillers and related occupations
824 Logging machinery operators
825 Contractors and supervisors, agriculture, horticulture and related operations and services
826 Fishing vessel masters and fishermen/women
921 Supervisors, processing and manufacturing occupations
922 Supervisors, assembly and fabrication
923 Central control and process operators in processing and manufacturing
924 Utilities equipment operators and controllers
Those interested in the Express Entry program can submit their initial application here
Professionals invited to take part in the program must fill out an application here