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Skilled Worker and Provincial Nominee Admissions Increased; New Eligibility Stream for PhD Students Introduced

Citizenship and Immigration (CIC) announced this month that it plans to increase the total admissions to Canada in 2012 under both the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW) and Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). At the same time, CIC has added a new eligibility stream for doctoral students under the FSW Program.
FSW admissions in 2012 will increase from the 47,000–47,400 targeted in the 2011 Immigration Levels Plan to a new target of 55,000-57,000. According to CIC, the higher range in 2012 is consistent with a 2010 evaluation of the FSW Program which indicated a strong continuing need for skilled immigrants in Canada and which showed that the program is working well: 89 per cent of FSWs were employed or self-employed three years after landing; and 95 per cent of the employers surveyed indicated that FSWs were meeting or exceeding their expectations.  CIC believes the higher range will also support “labour market responsiveness” and sustain progress on backlog reduction.

In the PNP category, CIC will increase the space available to the provinces and territories in 2012 for provincial nominees to a new level of between 42,000 to 45,000, including the nominees themselves, their spouses and dependents.  According to CIC, over 36,000 people entered Canada in 2010 as provincial nominees; the new level for 2012 represents an almost seven-fold increase since 2004. CIC has indicated that the PNP allotments by province and territory are still being finalized and will be released later.

Beginning November 5, 2011 qualifying international PhD students and recent graduates are eligible to apply for permanent residence under the FSW Program. To be eligible, students must have completed at least two years of study toward a PhD and remain in good academic standing at a provincially recognized post-secondary educational institution in Canada or have graduated from a Canadian PhD program within the 12 months before applying. CIC has indicated that it intends to accept up to an annual total of 1,000 PhD students/recent graduates in this new FSW stream.

For further information on the requirements and process of applying for permanent residence under the FSW Program or under a PNP, please contact the immigration law specialists at Green and Spiegel LLP.

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