Immigration Law Update: Limits on Pool of Skilled Workers in Canada

The Federal Skilled Worker program enables eligible workers in one of twenty-nine eligible occupations to apply to become permanent residents in Canada. In a press release dated June 25th, 2011, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration announced that between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012, a maximum of 500 Federal Skilled Worker applications in each of the 29 eligible occupations will be processed.  This is half of the 2010 quota.

Once these quotas are met, no further applications will be considered until July of 2012 unless an existing offer of arranged employment has already been made. To date, the 500 quota has been met or almost met for certain occupations. For example, as of August 22, 2011, the 500 quota for National Occupation Classification (”NOC”) 1122: Professional Occupations in Business Services to Management was met. In other words, no other applications will be considered in this occupation classification until July of 2012 unless a pre-arranged offer of employment is already made. NOC 1122 includes workers who provide services to management such as analyzing the operations, managerial methods or functions of an organization in order to propose, plan and implement improvements, or analyzing advertising needs and developing appropriate advertising plans.

For employers, this means that the eligible pool of skilled workers in Canada may be limited in certain NOCs. For example, where the 500 quota has been met in a certain NOC and there isn’t a comparable pool of skilled Canadian workers, employers may have to expand their recruitment efforts outside of Canada. However, even if the employer finds the right foreign candidate and extends an offer of employment, there is still no guarantee that the candidate’s skilled worker application or work permit will be approved.

For an update on the applications received for all 29 eligible occupations, visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website at

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