Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has announced that
effective January 2015, Canada's permanent residence system
will undergo a complete overhaul, and will work on an 'express
entry' model. This will have serious ramifications for foreign
workers wishing to become permanent residents, as well as for
employers for whom they work, as set out below.
Currently, there are essentially three programs by which skilled
workers can seek permanent residence (in addition to provincial
programs). Briefly, these programs are:
Canadian Experience Class (CEC) – a process
which allows a foreign worker with at least one year of Canadian
work experience to 'convert' his/her work permit to
Federal Skilled Workers (FSW) – a system by
which an applicant garners points for factors including age,
education, language, occupation, length of experience, and arranged
employment. If an applicant garners sufficient points, he/she will
qualify for permanent residence.
Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) – a
program which allows skilled tradespeople an opportunity to obtain
permanent residence based on experience, language, and a job offer
or provincial certification. In many ways, the considerations in
this category are hybrids of the CEC and FSW, applied to skilled
Within these programs, applicants make applications, which are
processed on a first in/first out system. The government does set
quotas and restrictions per year in each category, (as well as
'sub-caps' within some categories, e.g. X number of civil
engineers within the FSW), but the process is applicant driven.
There may be various positive or negative aspects to each of the
systems, but their outcomes have been based on the use of an
established set of parameters, against which the facts of the case
could be tested. This has created an element of certainty in the
The New 'Express Entry' Model
Under the new system to be implemented in January 2015, the
process will cease to be applicant driven. The process will be
government driven. Full details are not yet available, but the
process would require applicants to file a profile, which signifies
to the government that they are interested in permanent residence,
and which would set out their backgrounds. CIC, on grounds which
are also not yet clear, would then select those applicants it
thought were 'highest ranked' and who had arranged
employment (or a provincial nomination). These applicants would be
invited to apply for permanent residence, and would have 60 days to
file their applications.
No longer will applicants be processed in a first in/first out
system, and no longer can applicants know that they have met the
criteria through clearly established guidelines. Rather, as noted,
CIC will choose from among the pool of prospective applicants, only
those applicants it wants to process. Further, applicants who are
not invited to apply for permanent residence will be removed from
the pool of potential applicants after 12 months.
As it stands, this new system creates uncertainty. No longer can
an employee know with certainty whether he/she can become a
permanent resident, and no longer can an employer know with
certainty that he/she would have the ability to retain a particular
desired employee. Though further details may clarify some of the
issues, it would seem apparent that the new system gives CIC a
large degree of discretion, and as such, the inability for
employers/employees to plan for their immigration issues.
What Prospective Applicants and Their Employers Should Do
Given the doubt and insecurity of the new system, the net effect
of the above is that it is better to utilize the certainty of
today's system, rather than take a chance on the uncertainty of
the future system. If a Canadian company has a foreign employee
working in Canada on a work permit, and that employee intends to
seek permanent residence, or if indeed the company wishes to secure
permanent residence for that person, preparation and submission of
the application should occur now. January 2015 is
not that far away, and failure to lodge the application before then
could mean the inability to seek permanent residence. There are
various preparations involved in the filing of permanent residence
cases, including the need for an English test (as well as quotas
which must be considered), so it is not too early to start.
Employers and employees alike should take necessary measures
now, if they wish to secure permanent residence for the future.
The information in this article is for general purposes
only, and not intended as legal advice for any particular
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September 21st, 2016 - Immigration authorities conducted the 20th round of invitations under Express Entry in 2016 and 43rd overall, inviting 1288 applicants for permanent residence with a lowest CRS score of 483.
Canada received more than 320,000 immigrants in the last 12 months, approaching levels not seen since the early 20th century. The per capital immigration rate at .88%, is consistent with previous Liberal government policies.
October 12th, 2016 - Immigration authorities conducted the 21st round of invitations under Express Entry in 2016 and 44th overall, inviting 1518 applicants for permanent residence with a lowest CRS score of 484.
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