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How to check your eligibility to migrate as a Skilled Worker

Now you can compare the criteria of the five countries with permanent migration programs and check which country fits your skills or conversely which skills are needed in the country you intend to migrate.

Crispin Aranda

How to check your eligibility to migrate as a Skilled Worker

How to check your eligibility to migrate as Skilled Worker

Age is wealth and the essential number towards migration.

From the date of birth, the countdown to non-productivity begins. Officially, a Filipino becomes part of the labor force at age 15.

In July 2018, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported there were 71.5 million 15-year old and over in the country. Close to 43 million are in the labor force, 28.5M out of it

Labor participation peaks between the age 15 to 24 and declines from then on to age 65. Having a job, however, does not ensure survival, much less on a decent level.

In the Philippines, 21.6% of the population lives below the national poverty line in 2015, based on Asian Development Bank data.

Just how much should a Filipino family of five have to survive? Initially the Philippine government’s National Economic and Development Authority said P10,000 should be sufficient.  After being called to task for its unrealistic pronouncement, the country’s Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia clarified the amount should be P42,000.

Using the highest average daily wage of Filipinos across all industries from PSA data, the average worker gets only P9,622.80 a month working 6 days a week. This must be the basis for the first NEDA claim.

Little wonder why those who can aspire to work overseas.

In fact, 2.3 million Filipinos worked abroad at anytime during the period April to September 2017, workers from CALABARZON represent the largest proportion. OFWs sent an estimated 205.2 billion pesos in remittances during the same period.

CALABARZON has the largest proportion of OFWs and there were more female workers 25 to 29 years old and over. Only 1.3M have post-secondary degree,5.6M have college degrees or higher. 

A post-secondary degree and college diploma is equated as well to communications skills and, for those aspiring to work abroad English proficiency.

Age, education and language proficiency are the three most important criteria to pursue a successful career overseas.

Having a job that pays more than thrice what a Filipino worker gets at home is great, even if the job comes with the risk of exposure to disease, decapitation or death.

It is public knowledge that an OFWs in the Middle East would want to look for other destinations to be earning the same if not more than what they are getting from oil-rich Kingdoms during their productive years.

In this scenario, the five countries with permanent migration programs come into view.

Permanent residency in any of these countries ensures not just the same – if not higher earnings - but respect for human rights, access to social services, world class education for OFWs and their children and overall a quality of life for a better future.

Or at least until they have contributed enough to the social security system of the country, they are permanent residents (or naturalized citizens of) and could then return home to retire – should that be an option - during their golden years.

Factors to qualify for permanent residency

The 2.3 million OFWs are part of the 10 to 12 million Filipinos overseas.  Over 4 million are in the United States, with the second largest concentration of permanent residents in Canada, the UK and Europe, then Australia and bringing up the rear, New Zealand.

The U.S. admits an average of 1 million yearly in the numerically limited and non-quota classes focusing on family-based migration: 226,000 are allocated for Family-sponsored categories, 140,000 for those in various occupations in five employment-based categories.

The spouse, minor children and parents of U.S. citizens are exempt from the annual quota thus bringing the yearly total to over a million.

The three other countries – Australia, Canada and New Zealand – offer a points-based migrant selection system, giving preference to workers in occupations that are in demand or in short supply.

Australia has a current list of eligible occupations including those in the short and middle term skills list.  New Zealand has the Long-Term Skills Shortage List (LTSSL).  Canada used to have a list of occupations eligible for permanent migration through the Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP).

Currently, skilled workers and professionals in any occupation may pursue permanent residency in Canada as long as they meet the minimum requirements in any of the three federal migration programs (which include the FSWP) and the Provincial Nomination Program (PNP). Quebec has its own immigrant selection scheme.

A comparison of each country’s selection criteria is shown to help our OFWs and aspiring immigrants choose the most viable pathway.

All countries prefer younger worker with the best communication skills, since these two factors are essential in pursuing a successful career based on one’s occupation.  Younger workers contribute more over a longer period keeping the retirement fund programs viable and dynamic.

Workers contributions ensure receipt of social benefits and services such as free or low-cost comprehensive health insurance coverage, free education, unemployment and disability benefits, child care and elderly care programs to name a few.



New Zealand





Age Range



18-24 = 25

25-32 = 30

33-49 = 25

40-44 = 15


20-39 = 30

40-44 = 20

45-49 = 10

50-55 = 5


20 – 29

Single = 110

Married = 100

Points less than 5 from this age range

17and younger = 0

45 and over = 0


No age limit, and selection is not points-tested, so far.

English proficiency

IELTS score of 7 each = 10

8 each = 20

6.5 to 7 overall band score preferred but not part of formula

6.5 in speaking, writing, reading and 7.5 in listening minimum. Higher scores improve score.

Healthcare occupations require minimum 6.5 to 7 overall band score.



Bachelor’s degree

Two degrees=/diploma

Masters / PhD

Secondary HS Diploma





PhD =20-










S = 120/ M = 1 1

S =128 / M=119

S =126 / M=135

S = 30 / M = 28


Bachelor’s degree required for HJ-1B work visas, Masters for the EB2 category


Work Experience Offshore and Canadian

3 - 4 = 5

5 – 7 = 10

8 – 10 = 15

2 = 10 / 4 = 20

6 = 30 / 8 = 40

10 or more = 50


3 to 4 Years

Tied to English proficiency level

Work experience is basically an employer or occupational requirement

Qualified Relatives

Only in designated areas


Not applicable

Sibling = 15

Other relatives count for provincial nomination

Family petitions or sponsorship / Quota or Non-quota


Arranged employment


Job Offer


N/A - Job offer falls in another subclass



Job offer = 50

Job offer outside Auckland = 30

Job offer for occupation in the Long-Term Skills Shortage List = 10-


Occupation in O, A or B = 50


Managerial level structure = 200


Required for Employment based (

EB2 or EB3 unless national interest is shown.

Nomination by State, Territory or Province

State /Territory – Nomination = 5


Not applicable le


Province = 600


Not applicable

Qualifying age

While New Zealand offers migration chances for the 50 to 55-year-old worker, the points for age get lower. Essentially, the aspiring New Zealand skilled migrant must increase the points to be earned in other criteria, particularly the three Es: English, education and experience.

However, it will take time to complete a master’s or doctorate degree. The same with experience. Each year spent towards education and experience reduces the points for age.  English proficiency then becomes the achievable variable to enhance the chance of permanent migration.

In this case, Canada leads the way. English proficiency is given the highest priority. An applicant’s language proficiency combined with experience and education adds much needed bonus points towards an invitation to apply for permanent residency through Express Entry.

The U.S. does not have an age ceiling, but migration is not points-based. Unless an OFW or aspiring immigrant has a citizen or permanent resident relative eligible for sponsorship, a job offer is required.  The immigrant selection system of Canada, Australia and New Zealand allows for migration without arranged employment if the applicant meets the requirement for the other selection criteria.

Age may just be number, but one that comes with wealth of opportunities.



Authors & Contributors

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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