On March 31, 2012, Citizenship & Immigration Canada
("CIC") issued a news release regarding
the further consideration of applications received under the
Federal Skilled Worker immigration program ("FSW
Program"). According to CIC, all applications
received under the FSW Program prior to February 27, 2008, will be
returned to applicants along with a full refund of the processing
fees paid. The intention of this heavy-handed stroke of policy
reformation is to reduce a supposedly insurmountable backlog of
out-dated or "stale" FSW applications currently in
process within the Canadian immigration system. Understandably,
this has caused a considerable amount of indignation by those
applicants who will have their applications and processing fees
returned to them through no fault of their own.
Multiple operational, procedural and regulatory amendments have
altered the face of the FSW Program over the course of the last few
years, from changes which affect the location in which applications
must be submitted to changes affecting what category and aptitude
of applicant may be considered for qualification under the FSW
Program in Canada. At present, it is CIC's reasoning that an
applicant who may have qualified under the FSW Program prior to
February 27, 2008, would most likely not be able to qualify under
present requirements due to the multiple changes made to the FSW
Program in accordance with Canada's ever-changing labour
market. Simply put, the skills, occupations, labour shortages and
occupations Canada has sought to identify and fill in past years
are drastically different from what the 2012 economic landscape
demands in order to facilitate Canada's economic progress in
According to CIC, the changes to the FSW Program are an absolute
necessity in order to move forward with processing new applications
received under newly introduced criteria; thus the backlog of
applications formed too large of an impediment for the department
to reasonably meet the expectation of creating an efficient,
flexible and more responsive immigration system which better
reflects and attends to Canada's current labour market
Addendum: An excerpt of the press release taken
from CIC's official website detailing the specifics of the
changes reads as follows:
"Under the proposed legislation, CIC will close the files
of FSW applicants who applied before February 27, 2008, and for
whom an immigration officer has not made a decision based on
selection criteria by March 29, 2012. This is expected to affect
around 280,000 applicants, including their dependants. CIC will
begin the process of returning the full amount of fees paid to the
Department by these affected FSW applicants. For those who have
passed the selection criteria stage – approximately
20,000 people – CIC will continue processing their
applications until they are approved for entry into Canada or
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