The Canadian Government has unveiled changes to the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) which are likely to come into effect when they re-start accepting new applications under this program in “early 2013”.
The proposed new points grid reflects the Government’s intention to gear the immigration system toward younger workers with strong language skills in English or French who already have a job lined up in Canada. Driving the change is the concern that the ratio of working-age Canadians to retirees is shifting dramatically, but some Canadians will argue that older immigrants can still be very productive.
Amongst the proposed changes to the FSWP are:
- Making language the most important selection factor by establishing new minimum official language thresholds and increasing points for language. The new rules will give significantly more points to applicants who have strong language skills in either English or French, but points for speaking both official languages will be cut in half from eight to four.
- Increasing the emphasis on younger immigrants, who are more likely to acquire valuable Canadian experience and remain in the workforce longer. Under the new rules workers aged 47 & over would receive no points for age, compared with 12 for those between 18 & 35. The available age points will decrease by one for each year above 35.
- Increasing points for Canadian work experience and reducing points for foreign work experience;
- Simplifying the arranged employment process to prevent fraud and abuse yet enable employers to staff positions quickly,
- Awarding points for spousal language ability and Canadian experience.
- Introducing the Educational Credential Assessment – a mandatory requirement that FSWP applicants have their education abroad assessed against Canadian education standards by designated organizations. CIC will then award points according to how an applicant’s foreign educational credential compares to a completed educational credential in Canada. It does not necessarily guarantee that they would become licensed to practice in a regulated occupation. “This is an important step we are taking to address the problem of immigrants arriving and not being able to work in their field,” stated Minister Kenney. “This new requirement will help potential newcomers make informed choices about immigration and Canadian career paths.”
The new FSWP points grid will likely take effect in January 2013. While there is currently a pause on new applications (except for FSWP 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.
In addition to changing the Federal Skilled Worker Class, the new regulations will introduce a new Federal Skilled Trades Class and update the Canadian Experience Class. Over all, the changes aim to help employers bring in the workers they need and make it easier for temporary workers to apply for citizenship while in Canada.
Sources: CIC - 17 August 2012 and The Globe & Mail 21 Aug 2012
For assistance with all Canadian immigration matters, contact us today.