On May 4, 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) began accepting applications under the “new and improved” Federal Skilled Worker Program.
By way of background, the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) is one of the Government of Canada’s main permanent immigration programs. Under this program, applicants are selected based on a points system that assesses applicants’ overall capacity to adapt to Canada’s labour market, based on factors which include: age, education, work experience, proficiency in Canada’s official languages and other criteria that have been shown to help immigrants become economically established in Canada. In June 2012, the Government placed a temporary pause on most new applications to the FSWP while they sought to re-design the program, with the goal of moving towards a faster, more flexible immigration system.
Over the past several months, the CIC has released details of the new FSWP, which include a number of significant changes from the program that was previously in place. Key changes include:
- Modification of the FSWP points grid, with greater weight given to language proficiency and youth, which research indicates are two of the most important factors in the economic success of immigrants.
- A new eligible occupations list, with a total of 24 occupations, has been released and can be found at the following link: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/backgrounders/2013/2013-04-18.asp#list. The eligible occupations stream will be capped at 5,000 applications in total, with sub-caps of 300 applications in each of the 24 eligible occupations.
- The introduction of mandatory education credentials assessments for all applicants, with four organizations designated by CIC to carry out the assessments. The list of designated organizations can be found here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/backgrounders/2013/2013-04-18.asp#educ.
- All FSWP applicants must now meet a minimum language threshold of Canadian Language Benchmark 7 in all four language skill areas (speaking, reading, writing and oral comprehension), as confirmed by a test report from a designated third-party language testing organizations.
- CIC is no longer accepting Arranged Employment Opinions from Human Resources and Development Canada in support of FSWP applications. Instead, most Arranged Employment offers will require a Labour Market Opinion.
If you would like to discuss your options for a Permanent Residence Application under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, or any other Canadian or US immigration matter, we invite you to contact the Bomza Law Group at 416 598 8849.