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Express Entry 2020 Questions

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Hello Everyone

I have been slowly working through all the posts relating to Express Entry and Immigration to Canada. I knew immigration is the right answer, but am a slight wreck at the risks involved. 

I have a few questions, which I hope can be helped with. I am 35 years old, turning 36 in October this year...basically at cut-off age for max points on age. I have roughly 11 years work experience in Architecture and Interior Design (studied both disciplines, and work as both). I am hoping to immigrate under either the Express Entry programme or the AIPP (provided I can find a job, which is tricky)...I have done a basic assessment and qualify for the Skilled Workers option via EE. I will be coming over by myself (no partner or children), which in itself is daunting. My biggest worries at this stage is the settlement funds and the CRS score...

Some questions:

1. Can one use your RA and Pension (Sanlam and Discovery) as settlement funds? I realise one cannot physically cash out these before age 55, but (and this is my understanding) one can get access to the money upon immigration. Whether this means financial immigration is necessary, I don't know. 

2. I do own property (nothing spectacularly expensive) and would like to keep it (mainly as retirement plans for my parents). I am reluctant to sell this, but if push really comes to shove, then I won't have much of a choice.

3. Has anyone actually been successful in using the AIPP programme (in my field)? Not sure if there are any other Architecture/Interior Designers out there... 

4. I was listening to a podcast today and they recommend using either the Saskatchewan PNP, Prince Edward Island PNP or Nova Scotia PNP if looking for PNP nominations as these are some of the easier PNP options...any input on this? I am merely considering this as I am worried about my CRS score. I also assume you need to be in the EE pool before investigating this...or not?

5. When doing the ECA (I am considering WES) you pay per degree submitted? I have a complicated situation (degree wise) as I have a Bachelors in Building Arts and a BTech in Interior Design (and then half a Masters Professional...different story).

6. Is it actually possible to handle the whole process without a immigration consultant/company. It seems fairly simple, but I am worried that I may miss some small intricacy and then compromise myself completely in being successful.

7. I have read in a few posts that there are spreadsheets involved with a breakdown of funds and assets etc needed when one has gotten an ITA...I have a little bit of credit card debt (about R2500), and then my home loan and car (which I will sell)...I am in a catch 22 because I either need to go into debt to get my IELTS and WES done (economy is pretty crappy and I'm owed a lot of building work, unfortunately)...and then possible the rest too if I get an ITA...I am not sure if this is wise...mainly because I don't know if this will be counting against me if I get an ITA? I have enough money in my RA and Pension fund to meet the settlement amount, and there will be some left, so I will be able to clear this additional debt if that pays out. Money makes me nervous...hence the query...would love to get some opinions on this.

I really would appreciate any help available. Or just thoughts...

Thanks so much, in advance!


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