Ok below is the actual process, as experienced by myself and other friends and forum members, of applying for residency under the Federal Skiller Worker programme.
Please note that this process is only for applications received by CIO on or after 26th June 2010.
*UPDATE 29 June 2012*
As of 1st July 2012, CIC has put a pause on Federal Skilled Worker applications under what was previously known as Category 1. The new Category 1 are those who have a job offer from a Canadian employer. The new Category 2 are PhD.
The process below I am leaving here because I believe it remains very similar for those applying with a job offer, but if you don’t have a job offer or Canadian PhD then please note you cannot apply as a Federal Skilled Worker currently.
It is expected that the Federal Skilled Worker program will undergo a review and that changes will be announced before January 2013 when the doors are expected, in some form or other, to once again be open.
As soon as news of this is published I will publish it here.
1) CIO Sydney – Completeness check
Once your application arrives at CIO, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada the first thing that happens is it will undergo a completeness check. This check will ensure:
– That you have included all required forms
– That any forms which have space for a signature have been signed and dated
– That you have not left any blank fields
– That you have included the correct payment fee
– That you have included all supporting documents required by both the main CIO checklist, and the visa-office specific checklist
If unsuccessful your entire application will be returned to you by regular post with a covering letter. You will not get an email notification from CIO.
2) CIO Sydney – Payment charged
If your completeness check is successful your payment will be taken. This means CIO will attempt to charge your credit card, or they will cash your banker’s draft, depending on which method of payment you chose.
I would personally strongly advise using a banker’s draft if possible. These are like personal cheques but they are guaranteed to clear so there can be no payment problems. Most banks will usually charge a small fee for issuing one of these.
Credit cards can be risky. Many banks and credit card issuers use automated security software and when the software sees the source from Canada it may block the transaction, which in turn could lead to your application failing and being returned.
If your payment is unsuccessful your entire application will be returned to you by regular post with a covering letter. You will not get an email notification from CIO.
3) CIO Sydney – Eligibility review
CIO then perform a complete eligibility review on your application, based on the information you have provided on your forms and they will examine your supporting documents to ensure it backs up the claims you have made.
Since as of 1st July 2012 there is no longer an in-demand list, they will need to see an AOE (Arranged Employment Opinion) or positive LMO (Labour Market Opinion) with a TWP and this must be for a job in Skill Levels 0 (Managerial) or A or B on the NOC list.
For both categories they will also assess your application against the selection criteria – age, education, work experience, adaptability, job offer and language skils etc, to ensure you have 67 points. They will use your supporting documents to convince themselves that there is sufficient proof to back up the claims you have made on your forms in these areas.
If your eligibility review is unsuccessful you will receive an email stating the reasons and your entire application will be returned to you. Since CIO have already taken payment by this point they will initiate a refund of your fees, which will likely take several months to get to you. Please note this is the last point at which you will receive a refund if your application is unsuccessful.
At this stage your ECAS status should now read “CIO eligibility review complete”.
UPDATE 18-Apr-2011: Please note that several people have been told that you do not get your application back AT ALL if your application is failed at the eligibility review stage, all you will receive is a refund for your processing fee.
UPDATE 29-Jun-2012: FSW1 frozen for 6 months, so at the moment you need a job offer.
4) CIO Sydney – PER issued and file transferred
If your eligibility review is successful, CIO will send you a confirmation of positive final eligiblity review. This will be by email if you specified an email on your application, otherwise they will send a letter by regular post. They will then transfer your file to the CHC/VO (Canadian High Commission/Visa Office) for further processing.
Please see the “PER” page of this blog for the text of the PER and also the CIC email address from which it will arrive, so you can add this into your contacts list on your email.
Once the file gets to the visa office (which usually takes 2 to 4 weeks) your ECAS status will read “Received by visa office”.
5) 2nd AOR from visa office
Once your application arrives at the visa office, they will sit on it for a while. When they are in a position to process it most visa offices will send you a 2nd AOR. Please see the link at the top for an example of this, from Manila office and the wordings vary from visa office to visa office. Also some offices send by email, and others send by snail mail. There is still no need to do anything at this stage. A few visa offices, most notably London, will not send a 2nd AOR at all but will skip this and go straight to medicals, or ask for further documentation.
6) Processing begins – document background checks
Once the visa office begins processing your file they will commence with document background checks.
At this stage your ECAS status should now read “In Process” with the extra line in the detail “Your application was reviewed and we started processing on <Date>”.
This document background check will include ascertaining the authenticity of your documents, and since they use some third party companies for this it could take a varying level of time depending on your visa office, the complexity of your case, and even the speed of the individual visa officer looking at your case. They may also perform employment verification checks which will involve telephoning both you (whilst at work) and your employer to ensure you give the same answers on their questions about your employment. Only a small percentage of applicants are likely to receive employment verification. Only if they are unconvinced by any of the work experience documents you sent, or if your application is one of the random spotchecks they do to prevent fraud, will they actually perform the verification.
Visa office may request further documentation from you during the processing phase, which can come by email or snail mail. They may also ask for a few things (PCCs or fresh forms) at the same time as medicals (see below)
7) Medical requests and RPRF fee request
Once the document background checks are completed satisfactorily, the visa office will write to you (usually by snail mail) requesting you to complete medicals and also requests RPRF (Right of Permanent Residents fee). They may also ask for updated documents such as PCCs and fresh forms at this stage. Please note that New Delhi visa office will also request passports at this stage. Most other visa offices will not request passports until they are about to finalise the application.
This will basically involve your booking medical appointments at one of the approved DMPs (Designated Medical Practicioner) throughout the country. The fee will vary slightly from DMP to DMP, but they are usually around CAD $450 per person, obviously converted into your own currency.
RPRF at this time (18-Apr-2011) is CAD $490 for the principal applicant and also for accompanying spouse. So PA + spouse in total is CAD $980.