Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has announced that the new selection system for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) will take effect on May 4th, 2013. At that time, the program will begin accepting applications for review. In addition to the long-awaited announcement, important new details about the program have been revealed, helping to paint a fuller picture of what Canadian immigration will look like in the coming year.
A Quick Background
The Skilled Worker category of the FSWP has been frozen since mid-2012 so that necessary improvements could be made to the program.
The FSWP changes, as described by CIC, are as follows:
- Minimum official language thresholds and increased points for official language proficiency, making language the most important factor in the selection process;
- Increased emphasis on younger immigrants, who are more likely to acquire valuable Canadian experience, are better positioned to adapt to changing labour market conditions, and who will spend a greater number of years contributing to Canada’s economy;
- Introduction of the Educational Credential Assessment (ECA), so that education points awarded reflect the foreign credential’s true value in Canada;
- Changes to the arranged employment process, allowing employers to hire applicants quickly, if there is a demonstrated need in the Canadian labour market; and
- Additional adaptability points for spousal language ability and Canadian work experience
These changes are part of CIC’s mission to transform Canada’s immigration system to one that is ‘faster and more flexible’. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has stated that “the government’s number one priority remains jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity. The new Federal Skilled Worker Program criteria will ensure Canada is selecting the skilled immigrants our economy needs, who are the most likely to succeed in Canada.”
Important Additional Announcements
In addition to announcing that applications will be accepted starting May 4th, 2013, CIC made three important statements:
- A list of organizations designated by the government to perform educational credential authentication and assessment will be made available in the new year;
- A limit will be placed on the number of skilled worker applications the FSWP will accept for review each year. The specific number for this limit has not yet been announced; and
- New applications to the FSWP will be processed in a matter of months, as opposed to a year or more.
“This is exciting news for applicants,” says Attorney David Cohen. “We have been looking forward to learning more details about this program, and it appears that CIC is taking steps to achieve its goal of a more streamlined, transparent system that will select the immigrants Canada needs most.”
Prospective Applicants – Moving Forward
Prospective applicants now have a time frame for preparing their applications in advance, if they so choose. According to Attorney David Cohen, early preparation may be key to ensuring that one’s application arrives before quotas are filled.
“Applicants have been patiently waiting for the FSWP to open since July 2012,” he said. “In previous years, quotas have filled quickly, leaving otherwise eligible individuals to wait another year for their chance to gain Canadian Permanent Residency. I suggest those who are serious about immigrating through the FSWP be proactive about preparing their applications so they are first in line on May 4th.”
Once they have submitted their applications, the government promises that individuals will enjoy the fastest processing times for the FSWP in recent history. Those who are successful will arrive in Canada better prepared to find employment, integrate into their communities, and settle into their new home.