Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Working in Canada Just Got Tougher: Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program Coming


Waiting in LineAs I’ve mentioned in the past, if you want to immigrate to Canada and you qualify, you should begin the process immediately, as rules seem to change often these days, and it seems increasingly more difficult to qualify.
Following the public outcry after the Royal Bank hired foreign workers from India to replace Canadians.  Some of those workers were in Canada to train for jobs that would be outsourced to India.  Canadians lost their jobs at the Royal Bank and the public backlash was fierce.
The government has moved quickly and today announced a series of reforms that will be introduced through legislation, regulation and through practise and administrative process directives.
So how exactly will it be more difficult to work Canada?  The government is taking aim at both employers and temporary workers.  The new provisions include:
Requiring employers to pay foreign workers at the prevailing wage
This replaces the wage flexibility employers used to enjoy in hiring foreign workers.  The loss of this flexibility may make it more difficult for employers to justify hiring someone from abroad.
Suspending the Accelerated Labour Market Opinion Process
This program allowed employers who had previously issued a positive Labour Market Opinion (“LMO”) and who complied with all requirements to obtain a new LMO is just over a week.  This program is no longer available so employers will have to go through the entire LMO process which can be lengthy.  It also means they can’t hire foreign workers as quickly as before.
Government authority to suspend and revoke work permits
The government now has discretion to intervene where the foreign worker program is being “misused”. We don’t have a definition of “misused” yet, but I suspect this provision was aimed at the RBC scenario described above.
Adding questions to the LMO application to ensure outsourcing is not on the table
Employers will have to confirm that they are not using foreign workers to outsource jobs to a foreign country by training them in Canada.  Again, this is aimed squarely at the RBC case above.
Ensuring there is a transition plan to hire Canadian workers
Employers will have to provide a plan on how they will transition from using foreign workers to Canadian workers over time.  This is an administrative burden that some employers may not be able to address fully.  For example, if there is a chronic shortage of Canadians with certain specialized skills, it is going to be tough to make a plan to transition to Canadian workers.
Fees for LMO’s and increasing fees for workers
In past, applying for an LMO was free.  Not any longer.  It’s going to cost employers to apply for an LMO with no guarantee it will be accepted.  This could be a big disincentive.  Work permit fees will also increase.
English and French as the only languages used as a job requirement
In my view, this will be one of the biggest challenges to overcome.  In past, employers could state that a worker required a foreign language (such as Spanish or Mandarin or whatever), because that employer did business in those parts of the world, and needed a worker with those language skills.  As a result, finding a fluent Canadian with those language skills was difficult, and often a positive LMO was issued and a foreign worker hired.
No longer.  With only English and French as language requirements for a job, a great number of employers simply won’t be able to hire foreign workers for their language skills (among other technical skills of course).  In a global economy, I simply can not understand this requirement – this will hurt our employers who do significant business overseas in different languages and who can’t find Canadians with the right technical and language skills to do the job.
So there you have it – the new changes in a nutshell.
I’ll post further details as we get them.

About the author

Gianpaolo PanusaGianpaolo Panusa is a Canadian immigration lawyer, writer, and founder of the PanCanadian Immigration Law Group based in Vancouver, Canada.Google+ Profile


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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The new Skilled Trades Program


““The new Skilled Trades Program will address serious labour shortages that some regions of the country are facing, and will help grow Canada’s economy,” said Minister Kenney. “These long-overdue changes are part of the government’s plan to build a fast and flexible immigration system that is responsive to the needs of Canada’s economy. Canadian employers have long been asking for ways to get the skilled tradespeople they need to meet demands in many industries across the country. We’ve listened to their concerns and created this program in response.”
In the program’s first year, CIC will accept applications from up to 3,000 people in specific trades. The occupation list was designed to reflect current labour market needs and ensure the program delivers a diverse range of skilled tradespeople to fuel Canada’s economy. Within the 3,000, there will be no limit on 26 in-demand occupations, while 17 occupations will be subject to sub-limits of 100 applications each. In total, there are 43 occupations eligible for the Federal Skilled Trades Program. Applications are expected to be processed within 12 months.
In addition to being qualified for an eligible occupation, Federal Skilled Trades Program applicants must demonstrate basic language proficiency in either English or French at the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 5 for speaking and listening, and CLB 4 for reading and writing. This is due to the overall importance of language as a determinant of immigrant success and general health and safety reasons. CLB 4 is considered basic proficiency while those with CLB 5 can more effectively participate in and understand routine conversations.
Other criteria include: a valid offer of employment in Canada or a certificate of qualification from a province or territory in a qualifying skilled trade; at least two years of work experience in the occupation within the last five years; and meeting the employment requirements set out in the National Occupational Classification system, with the exception of licensing requirements, which are addressed separately.
“The Federal Skilled Trades Program is yet another tool in the Canadian employer’s toolkit to find the workers they need to build Canada’s future economy,” said Minister Kenney. “This new program, along with all other changes we are introducing, will help us move towards an immigration system that better supports Canada’s economic growth and long-term prosperity.”
Application forms for the Federal Skilled Trades Program can be found on the CIC website.


To avoid backlogs and ensure fast processing times, we will accept no more than 3,000 complete federal skilled trade applications to process in the first year (from January 2, 2013 to January 1, 2014).
Within the 3,000 cap, no more than 100 new applications for each job under Group A below will be considered for processing. There is no sub-cap for jobs under Group B.
Group A includes 17 jobs with a moderate labour market need. Group B includes 26 in-demand jobs. In total, 43 jobs will be eligible to apply under the Federal Skilled Trades program in the first year of the program. The specific codes from the 2011 version of the NOC are provided below as you must include this in your application form.
The caps apply whether or not people have a qualifying offer of employment or a certificate of qualification from a provincial or territorial apprenticeship authority.
Applications will be processed in the order we receive them.
Group A – Jobs with sub-caps of 100 applications each (and their corresponding 2011 NOC code)
  • 7202 Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications occupations
  • 7204 Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades
  • 7205 Contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers
  • 7271 Carpenters
  • 7301 Contractors and supervisors, mechanic trades
  • 7302 Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews
  • 8211 Supervisors, logging and forestry
  • 8221 Supervisors, mining and quarrying
  • 8222 Contractors and supervisors, oil and gas drilling services
  • 8241 Logging machinery operators
  • 8252 Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • 9211 Supervisors, mineral and metal processing
  • 9212 Supervisors, petroleum, gas and chemical processing and utilities
  • 9214 Supervisors, plastic and rubber products manufacturing
  • 9231 Central control and process operators, mineral and metal processing
  • 9241 Power engineers and power systems operators
  • 9243 Water and waste treatment plant operators
Group B – no sub-caps (2011 NOC code)
  • 7231 Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors
  • 7233 Sheet metal workers
  • 7235 Structural metal and plate work fabricators and fitters
  • 7236 Ironworkers
  • 7237 Welders and related machine operators
  • 7241 Electricians (except industrial and power system)
  • 7242 Industrial electricians
  • 7243 Power system electricians
  • 7244 Electrical power line and cable workers
  • 7245 Telecommunications line and cable workers
  • 7246 Telecommunications installation and repair workers
  • 7251 Plumbers
  • 7252 Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers
  • 7253 Gas fitters
  • 7311 Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics
  • 7312 Heavy-duty equipment mechanics
  • 7313 Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics
  • 7314 Railway carmen/women
  • 7315 Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors
  • 7318 Elevator constructors and mechanics
  • 7371 Crane operators
  • 7372 Drillers and blasters - surface, mining, quarrying and construction
  • 7373 Water well drillers
  • 8231 Underground production and development miners
  • 8232 Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers
  • 9232 Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators
You must complete your applications according to the requirements in place at the time you apply.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

List of Priority Occupations and Organizations Designated to Conduct Educational Credential Assessments for Federal Skilled Worker Program Released

English: Langevin Block, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
English: Langevin Block, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ottawa, April 18, 2013 —The list of 24 occupations that are eligible under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) when it re-opens on May 4, 2013 was released today.
In addition, four organizations have been designated to provide the now-required independent third party assessments of foreign educational credentials for applicants who studied outside of Canada. These assessments, which must be completed before an application is submitted, are aimed at helping newcomers through the FSWP to get off to a better start and into the Canadian labour force more quickly when they arrive.
The government’s focus remains on jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity,” said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Kenney. “Under the new Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canada will be able to attract the skilled immigrants our economy requires, who are the most likely to succeed and contribute their full skill set to the Canadian economy.
With the re-opening date approaching, future applicants should be aware of several key elements that will have an effect on the application process:
  • A new eligible occupations list, with a total of 24 occupations;
  • An overall cap of 5,000 new applications for all eligible occupations, including a sub-cap of 300 new applications for each eligible occupation;
  • Four organizations have been designated to conduct educational credential assessments (mandatory for applicants submitting foreign educational credentials); and
  • Applicants must show proof that they meet the minimum threshold of Canadian Language Benchmark 7 in all four language skill areas: speaking, reading, writing and oral comprehension.
As a result of the actions taken by the Government to deal with the massive backlogs and unacceptably long wait times, FSW applications will be processed in approximately one year,” said Minister Kenney. “We will not be able to remain competitive and attract the skilled immigrants we need if we allow backlogs and wait times to grow again. That’s why we are capping application intake and focusing on specific occupations that are experiencing labour shortages in Canada. This will also help us transition nicely into the just-in-time immigration system of the future.
Applications under the new FSWP will be accepted starting May 4, 2013. Until then, however, the FSWP application process does not change – only individuals with qualifying job offers or those applying under the PhD stream are eligible for processing.
All applicants who are considering applying on or after May 4 are invited to consult the Backgrounder. It outlines some of the steps that can be taken now to prepare and includes the eligible occupations list and the organizations designated to conduct educational credential assessments.
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Information for Applicants to the New Federal Skilled Worker Program


The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) selects immigrants based on their ability to succeed economically in Canada. After meeting eligibility requirements, applicants are assessed against selection criteria, also known as the “points grid.” There are 100 points available to applicants, with points awarded for official language abilities, age, education, work experience, employment already arranged in Canada, and adaptability. The current pass mark is 67.
After a thorough review of relevant research, an extensive program evaluation, stakeholder and public consultations, research and study of best practices in other immigrant-receiving countries, improvements to the FSWP were announced in December 2012. These improvements will come into force on May 4, 2013.
A pause on the intake of most new FSWP applications has been in place since July 1, 2012, except for those with a qualifying job offer and those who applying under the PhD stream. The pause will be lifted and an eligible occupations stream re-established on May 4, 2013.
While Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will not be accepting applications for the 24 eligible occupations until May 4, 2013, there are some new requirements that applicants can start preparing for, such as language tests and foreign educational credential assessments. The complete application process, featuring the new selection criteria, will be available on CIC’s website by May 4, 2013.
All individuals who are considering applying on or after May 4 should be aware that if their application does not meet the new criteria, it will not be processed. A prospective applicant should ensure they meet at least one of the following requirements:
  • They have at least one year of continuous work experience in one of the 24 eligible occupations;
  • They have a qualifying offer of arranged employment (*note changes to the arranged employment process were previously published in this web notice); or
  • They are eligible to apply through the PhD stream.
If prospective applicants are confident that they meet at least one of the above requirements, they must also meet the minimum language threshold and obtain an educational credential assessment (if submitting a foreign educational credential).

Eligible Occupations List

The eligible occupations stream will have an overall cap of 5,000 new applications and sub-caps of 300 applications in each of the 24 occupations on the list.

Eligible occupations (with their corresponding 2011 National Occupation Classification code):

  • 0211 Engineering managers
  • 1112 Financial and investment analysts
  • 2113 Geoscientists and oceanographers
  • 2131 Civil engineers
  • 2132 Mechanical engineers
  • 2134 Chemical engineers
  • 2143 Mining engineers
  • 2144 Geological engineers
  • 2145 Petroleum engineers
  • 2146 Aerospace engineers
  • 2147 Computer engineers (except software engineers/designers)
  • 2154 Land surveyors
  • 2174 Computer programmers and interactive media developers
  • 2243 Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics
  • 2263 Inspectors in public and environmental health and occupational health and safety
  • 3141 Audiologists and speech-language pathologists
  • 3142 Physiotherapists
  • 3143 Occupational Therapists
  • 3211 Medical laboratory technologists
  • 3212 Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists' assistants
  • 3214 Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists
  • 3215 Medical radiation technologists
  • 3216 Medical sonographers
  • 3217 Cardiology technicians and electrophysiological diagnostic technologists, n.e.c. (not elsewhere classified)

Minimum Language Threshold

All prospective applicants to the FSWP should first determine whether they meet the new minimum language threshold: Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) 7 in all four skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing). To prove language proficiency, a prospective applicant must take a third-party language test from an organization designated by the Minister and submit their test report along with their application to CIC.
Language test results will be accepted by CIC for two years from the date that they were issued by the designated organization.
CIC-designated language testing organizations include: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP),International English Language Testing System (IELTS), and Test d’évaluation de français (TEF).
Third-party language tests are scored differently by each of the three organizations. Here are the scores on each of the tests that correspond to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) 7 or higher:

English

An FSWP applicant must score at least 4L on the CELPIP-General test in each of the four skills to meet the minimum language threshold.
A score of 4L on the CELPIP-General test corresponds to CLB 7. A score of 4H corresponds to CLB 8, and a score of 5 or higher corresponds to CLB 9 or higher.
An FSWP applicant must score at least 6.0 on the IELTS General Training test in each of the four skills to meet the minimum language threshold of CLB 7.

French

An FSWP applicant must score at least 206 in reading, 248 in listening, and 309 in both speaking and writing on the TEF to meet the minimum language threshold of NCLC 7.

Arranged Employment

Previously, employers have applied for an Arranged Employment Opinion (AEO) from Human Resources Skills Development Canada when they wished to hire a foreign national on a permanent, full-time basis and support their employee’s application for permanent residence through the FSWP.
Starting on May 4, 2013, CIC will no longer accept AEOs in support of an FSWP application. Instead, most offers of arranged employment will require a Labour Market Opinion.

Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)

Another important change that takes effect on May 4, 2013, is the introduction of the educational credential assessment (ECA). Prospective applicants may start the process of getting an ECA before May 4 if they are planning to submit a foreign educational credential. However, applicants should keep in mind the other program eligibility requirements listed above, i.e. whether they have a qualifying offer of arranged employment or are applying under the PhD stream or eligible occupations stream; and if they meet the minimum language threshold through a designated third-party test. Applicants who have Canadian educational credentials do not need to get an ECA, unless they are also submitting a foreign educational credential in support of their application.
The ECA process will help determine if the foreign educational credential is authentic and equivalent to a completed credential in Canada. For prospective applicants, the ECA can provide a realistic understanding of how their foreign educational credentials are likely to be recognized in Canada.
As of April 17, 2013, four organizations have been designated by the Minister to provide ECA reports for purposes of immigrating to Canada under the FSWP. Additional organizations may be designated by CIC in the future. The designated organizations are:
The Medical Council of Canada has been designated only for those principal applicants who intend to apply with specialist physician (2011 National Occupation Classification [NOC] code 3111) or general practitioner/family physician (2011 NOC code 3112) as their primary occupation in their FSWP application. Neither NOC code 3111 nor 3112 is on the eligible occupations list that takes effect on May 4, so this will only affect those applying under the PhD stream or with a qualifying job offer based on those NOC codes.
Applicants should contact the designated organizations directly for further information on their documentation requirements, processing times and fees.
CIC will only accept ECA reports issued after the date the organization was designated by CIC to provide ECA reports for immigration purposes (i.e. April 17, 2013). An ECA report will be valid for immigration purposes for 5 years from the date that it was issued by the designated organization.
IMPORTANT NOTE: CIC will update application kits and web materials before the new FSWP is launched on May 4, 2013. Prospective applicants who wish to get a head start on their application can proceed with the steps and information outlined above but should check the CIC website for new FSWP application forms.

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Top 10 jobs by projected demand in 2020




JobMedian annual salaryProjected # of job seekers in 2020Projected job openings in 2020Projected job openings for every person looking in 2020
Mining, oil & gas supervisor$74,8805671,3022.3
Pilot$69,8468321,2981.56
College instructor$66,5603,5525,1461.45
Railway & transportation supervisor$60,3201,1591,5311.32
Power systems operator$70,7208341,0751.29
Health-care managers$86,6745,3136,5451.23
Education administrator (all levels)$90,0025,3136,5451.23
Head nurse$74,88013,32516,3881.23
Railway conductor & brakemen/women$61,2143394161.23
Dental hygienist$69,9921,0211,2241.2

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KAIST Aerospace engineering
KAIST Aerospace engineering (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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The Chemical Engineer (Photo credit: thekevinchang)


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