Federal Skilled Worker Program changes effective January 2013

New skilled worker class designed to ensure immigrants and the jobs they come to in Canada are a good fit
By Ackah Business Immigration Law
|employmentlawtoday.com|Last Updated: 10/17/2012

When the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC) reopens in January 2013, it will include a number of important changes. The policy behind the changes focuses on the ability of immigrants to be better prepared to find work and settle into Canadian society.

The changes to the FSWC focus on the best interests of both immigrants and the Canadian economy. Some of the most significant changes are as follows:

1. Requiring a minimum level of language proficiency

One of the biggest concerns that CIC identified with the success of immigrants was proficiency in one of Canada’s two official languages. As such, all applicants will now be required to meet a minimum language benchmark when taking the compulsory English (or French) exam and for which more points will be awarded.

2.Requiring a foreign credentials assessment

All applicants to the FSWC will be required to have their educational credentials assessed by a third party designated by the Canadian government. The hope is that new immigrants will be able to demonstrate to their future employers exactly what their education is equivalent to in Canada.

3. Placing a stronger emphasis on younger workers

The FSWC points system has been restructured to award younger applicants more points as older workers often had difficulty adapting to Canada and retired soon after finding a Canadian job. It is hoped that young professionals who are admitted to Canada can look forward to a long future of working and living in the country, thereby benefiting the Canadian economy.

4. LMOs under the FSWC

LMOs will now be available for use to support permanent residence applications, replacing the Arranged Employment Opinion process. This will streamline processing times as there will no longer be a need to make two separate applications to keep employees here temporarily while their permanent residence applications are being adjudicated.

5. Skilled Trades Stream

A new stream for skilled tradespeople will also be introduced for applicants under the FSWC who will be employed in the construction, transportation, manufacturing, and service industries, particularly in the natural resources sector. This new stream will help to alleviate the bias under the previous points grid in favour of individuals with post-secondary schooling and reduce labour shortages in the trades. While more points will be awarded for practical training and work experience rather than formal education, applicants will still need to meet minimum language requirements.

Final publication of the new regulations is scheduled for late 2012 and the new points grid will likely take effect in January 2013. While there is currently a hold on new applications (except for FSWC candidates with a qualifying offer of arranged employment or those applying under the PhD stream), CIC expects to begin accepting applications again early next year.

Ackah Business Immigration Law is a boutique law firm focused on Canadian and U.S. business immigration law, based in Calgary. The firm can be contacted by calling (403) 452-9515 or by visiting www.ackahlaw.com.

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