The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration Canada has made several announcements over the past couple weeks regarding proposed changes to our immigration system focused on Canadian labour market needs.
In a recent statement, Minister Jason Kenney provided, “As the Prime Minister has stated, the Government of Canada is committed to making economic and labour force needs the central focus of our immigration efforts. We have already begun the groundwork and will be building on this foundation in the months ahead to ensure our long-term economic success.”
As noted above, the federal government’s immigration initiatives are geared toward prioritizing entrance of skilled workers which will be beneficial to employers who seek talent from abroad on a long-term basis.
The changes are focused on a few key programs, including the Foreign Skilled Worker Program and the Canadian Experience Class.
Foreign Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
The foreign skilled worker program selects individuals for permanent residence on the basis of their ability to become “economically established” in Canada. The program is limited to skilled workers who have a valid offer of employment in Canada, PhD students, and skilled workers in specific occupations within the categories of managerial, professional and technical/skilled trades.
The following are the proposed changes to the FSWP:
- Eliminating the back log of applications by closing files applied for on or before February 27, 2008 for which an immigration officer has yet to make a decision;
- Creating a FSWP Skilled Trades Program in order to attract skilled tradespersons in occupations such as constriction, transportation, manufacturing and service industries;
- Assessing and verifying foreign workers’ educational credentials before they arrive in Canada;
- Reforming the FSWP point system in order to promote younger immigrants; and
- Allowing for priority on applications by individuals in specific occupations based on Canada’s needs and priorities.
Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
Temporary foreign workers and students can apply for permanent residence status through an application under the Canadian Experience Class (“CEC”). Currently, an applicant under the temporary foreign worker stream of the CEC program must have 24 months of work experience in the past 36 months in order to apply for permanent residence. Under the proposed changes, this would be reduced to 12 months for highly skilled workers in order promote a faster transition from temporary to permanent residence. This will benefit employers who use highly skilled temporary foreign workers and would like to employ them on a permanent basis.
We will keep you updated on any new developments.