Federal skilled workers: Assessing applications against minimum requirements

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

The Express Entry system or the Centralized Intake Office (CIO) will determine if the applicant meets the minimum requirements to submit an application as a skilled worker.

Note: Substituted evaluation cannot be used by the CIO to overcome an applicant’s failure to meet the minimum requirements.

Minimum work experience requirement

The applicant must have accumulated at least one year of continuous full-time (or the equivalent in part-time) paid work experience in the occupation identified in their application for permanent residence as their primary occupation. In calculating this period of work experience, the occupation must be listed in skill type 0 (Managerial occupations), skill level A (Professional occupations) or skill level B (Technical occupations and skilled trades) of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2011 [R75(2)(a)].

The applicant’s skilled work experience must also

  • have occurred within the ten years preceding the date of their application for permanent residence; and
  • not be in an occupation that has been designated as a restricted occupation.

Note: At the time of publication, no occupations were designated as restricted.

In addition, during that period of employment, the applicant must have

  • performed the actions described in the lead statement for the occupation as set out in the occupational description of the NOC [R75(2)(b)]; and
  • performed a substantial number of the main duties, including all of the essential duties, of the occupation as set out in the occupational description of the NOC [R75(2)(c)].

Note: The applicant does not need to demonstrate that they meet the “employment requirements” listed in the NOC occupational description.

Minimum language proficiency requirement (applications received on or after May 4, 2013)

The applicant must demonstrate that they meet the threshold(s) set by the Minister for proficiency in either English or French for each of the four language skill areas: reading, writing, speaking and listening [R75(2)(d)].

Refer to the language proficiency requirements.

Applicants must demonstrate that they meet the required level of language proficiency in all four language skill areas by submitting the results of an English or French language test from a designated testing organization with their application.

In the case of applications received before January 1, 2015, the language test results must be less than two years old at the time of application receipt.

In the case of applications received after January 1, 2015 (i.e., through Express Entry), language test results must be less than two years old when a candidate creates their profile in Express Entry, and when their application for permanent residence is submitted.

As of January 1, 2015, the public policy concerning economic class permanent residence applicants and Express Entry candidates whose language proficiency cannot be tested in all four language skill areas due to a physical or mental disability exempts both the principal applicant and their accompanying spouse or common-law partner from having to provide evaluation results from a designated organization or institution in up to three of four language skill areas. Instead, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will accept notionalized scores using a language calculator tool. The language evaluation results, both those that could be completed and the notionalized score(s), must be considered in the same manner as any other language evaluation results.

Minimum education requirement (applications received on or after May 4, 2013)

Applicants must submit either their completed Canadian educational credential or their completed foreign educational credential and the equivalency assessment (Educational Credential Assessment [ECA] report) issued by a designated assessment organization or institution with their application for permanent residence. The equivalency assessment must be less than five years old on the date on which their application is made [R75(2)(e)].

Note: The applicant must submit at least a completed Canadian secondary educational credential or its equivalent in order to meet the minimum education requirement.

Equivalency assessments (ECA reports) will be used as conclusive evidence that the applicant’s completed foreign diplomas, certificates or credentials are equivalent to completed Canadian educational credentials for the purposes of paragraph R75(2)(e), subsection R75(2.1) and section R78. The ECA report will also include an assessment by the organization or institution of the authenticity of the completed foreign diploma, certificate or credential.

If a professional body has been designated for the primary occupation specified in the application, the applicant must submit a completed foreign diploma, certificate or credential relevant to that occupation and the equivalency assessment (ECA report) issued by the designated professional body establishing that the completed foreign diploma, certificate or credential is equivalent to the completed Canadian educational credential required to practise that occupation in at least one of the provinces in which the equivalency assessments issued by this professional body are recognized.

Note: Only reports issued by a CIC-designated organization or institution will be accepted as an equivalency assessment for the purpose of a federal skilled worker class application.

In the case of applications received after January 1, 2015, applicants (where applicable) are only required to submit their ECA reference number, not a copy of their assessment. Applicants must declare in their Express Entry profile if they have obtained an ECA for their foreign educational credential. An ECA report must be less than five years old at the time the Express Entry profile is submitted and upon receipt of the application for permanent residence.

See also the Concerns with respect to the authenticity of foreign educational credentials section.

Minimum requirements and Ministerial Instructions: MI12 (applications received between May 1, 2014, and December 31, 2014)

Applicants who were determined to meet the twelfth set of Ministerial Instructions (MI12) because they had accumulated, over a continuous period, at least one year of full-time work experience, or the equivalent in part-time work, in the occupation identified as their primary occupation, other than a restricted occupation, that is listed in skill type 0, skill level A or skill level B of NOC 2011 should automatically meet the minimum work experience requirement pursuant to paragraph R75(2)(a).

Applicants who were determined to meet MI12 because they demonstrated through official language test results that they met or exceeded the threshold(s) set by the Minister for proficiency in either English or French for each of the four language skill areas should automatically meet the minimum language proficiency requirement pursuant to paragraph R75(2)(d).

  • If the applicant meets all of the minimum requirements, then the CIO will assess the application against the selection criteria as per subsection R76(1).
  • If the applicant does not meet all of the minimum requirements, then the CIO will not assess the application against selection criteria, and will refuse the application as per subsection 75(3).
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