Six weeks after putting a moratorium on the majority of streams of the immensely popular Federal Skilled Worker Program, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has revealed regulatory changes they would likely introduce as soon as the program begins accepting new applications, presumably in January 2013. CIC also released proposals for changes to the Canadian Experience Class and the creation of a new Federal Skilled Trades Class.
Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney emphasized these proposed changes come after extensive evaluation of the program and consultations with various stakeholders and members of the public. Targeting program selection criteria, Kenney noted that these reforms would allow for better identification of immigrants best suited to succeed in Canada.
Review the new changes to the Federal Skilled Worker points grid
To be considered eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, applicants would need to earn a pass-mark of 67 or greater based on the following proposed selection criteria:
- Making language the paramount selection factor; increasing the maximum points awarded for proficiency in one official language to 24 points, and proficiency of both official languages to 28 points. New minimum language thresholds would be set, with a Canadian language benchmark of 7 and each of the IELTS exams set around 5.5.
- Placing a stronger emphasis on younger immigrants, as they would be active in the labour force longer and presumably integrate into Canadian society with greater ease; 18-35 years olds would be awarded with the maximum of 12 points, with points declining until the age of 47, after which no points will be awarded for age.
- Awarding Canadian work experience with more points, and decreasing points awarded for foreign work experience; 1 year of Canadian work experience would be awarded with 9 points, while 6 years or more would be awarded with the maximum 15 points
- Simplifying the arranged employment process by requiring a Labour Market Opinion ( http://www.canadianimmigration.net/canada-work-permit/labor-market-opinion-canada.html) which allows for quicker staffing solutions for Canadian employers while still ensuring fraud and abuse are prevented
- Emphasizing the 'adaptability' selection criteria; Granting points for language capability of spouse, previous work or study experience in Canada, or for having relatives in Canada; a maximum of 10 points will be awarded for meeting any of these criteria under the category of 'adaptability'.
- Introducing the Education Credential Assessment – a mandatory requirement which would have designated organizations assess FSWP applicants' education against Canadian education standards, and then award points based on completed educational credentials in Canada – this would not guarantee that applicants would be licensed to practice in a regulated Canadian occupation; a maximum of 25 points will be awarded for a doctoral degree
- According to the published guidelines for the new program there does not appear to be a list of eligible occupations
Minister Kenney maintained that these proposals are meant to help potential immigrants make informed choices before coming to Canada, and avoid having newcomers arrive in Canada and left unable to work in their field.
CIC will launch a new Call for Service Proposals on August 20th, 2012 and request submissions from organizations experienced in foreign credential assessment. The deadline for the proposal submissions is September 21, 2012. More information can be found at here
CIC announced several proposals to amend the Canadian Experience Class, including:
- Reducing the Canadian work experience requirement from 24 months to 12 months within the last three years. This change would allow for more flexibility among applicants working in Canada under international agreements.
- Requiring applicants to be employed under NOC 0, A or B
- Implementing a minimum requirement in each of the language abilities. Minister Kenney would ultimately be responsible for determining what this minimum requirement would be, but it can be expected that a level corresponding to CLB/NCLC 7 or "adequate intermediate efficiency" in speaking, oral comprehension, read and writing would be set for NOC 0 and A, with NOC B applicants requiring the equivalent of CLB/NCLC 5 or "initial intermediate proficiency" in each ability.
New Dedicated Skilled Trades Class: Federal Skilled Trades Class
A new FSTC would be implemented, accepting applications from skilled tradespersons with experience in the following NOC B occupations:
- Industrial, Electrical and Construction trades
- Maintenance and Equipment Operation Trades
- Supervisors and Technical Occupations in Natural Resources
- Agricultural and Related Production
- Processing, Manufacturing and Utilities Supervisors and Central Control Operators
- Chefs, Cooks, Bakers, Butchers
For applicants among the listed NOC B occupations, would need to meet the following minimum criteria:
- Possess a qualifying offer from up to two employers in Canada, lasting at least one year in duration OR a Certificate of Qualification from a provincial or territorial Apprenticeship Authority
- Meet the minimum language standards put forth by Minister Kenney, in all four language abilities (speaking, reading, writing, oral comprehension) as demonstrated by a test from a designated language resting organization
- 24 months of work experience within the same skilled trade within the last 5 years
- Satisfy employment qualifications as outlined by the NOC (except for licensing requirements)
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