The new Canada immigration system: this is how it works

From January 2015 Canada will apply the Express Entry system

From January next year Canada will transform its immigration policy. Where those interested in migration to Canada would currently select one of the many streams to submit an application, from next year onwards there will be one list to be sure to put your name on.
The new system has been named the Express Entry, indicating the aim of the Canadian government to actively recruit, assess and select skilled immigrants. The list will function as a job bank, where the government as well as employers will be able to select the candidates that are most likely to succeed.
Selected candidates will be invited to apply through three of Canada’s existing economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class.
Some of the Provincial Nominee Programs will also be open for selected candidates of the Express Entry list, while other provincial programs will continue to exist on its own.
The new system is believed to lead to reduced processing times, with the majority of applications processed within 6 months.
With the launch date approaching, a lot of questions about the new system still remain. However, little by little the process is starting to become clearer. Here is what we know so far.
The first step: putting your name on the list
The first step towards migration to Canada under the new system will be to create an Express Entry profile. Applicants will have to provide information about their skills, work experience, language ability, education, and other details.
Once on the list, applicants will be ranked against each other. Although the criteria for gaining points has not been made clear, a successful candidate has been described as ‘those who deem to have the best chance of economic success’.
When the applicant has a valid job offer the invitation to apply for permanent residency is guaranteed. A job offer can be obtained once an employer has expressed interest in hiring a particular candidate. To increase the chances of being matched, applicants can submit their file on the Government of Canada's Job Bank.
What comes next?
Once the profile has been made the applicant will have to wait, while the government or province is assessing the many candidates. If no invitation has been after 12 months of being on the list, the applicant should submit a new application. If successful, the candidate will receive an invitation to apply for permanent residency.
When an invitation to apply has been sent, the applicant has 60 days to apply for permanent residency under one of the three programs, or listed provincial nominee programs.
The Federal Skilled Worker Program is currently the most popular program and will continue to exist. This program selects qualified skilled applicants from across the world based on factors like their education, work experience, language proficiency.
On the contrary, the Federal Skilled Trades Program targets those applicants that are valuable for their practical skills rather than educational credentials. This program was launched beginning 2013 and will be available for candidates selected by the Express Entry system.
The third program that will remain available is the Canadian Experience Class. This program was created for individuals who already gained skilled work experience in Canada.
Almost all provinces offer Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), accepting applicants based on the labour demand in that province. Provinces will choose to list some of these programs under the Express Entry system. In any regard, assessing the opportunities in the provinces is recommended, because a job offer will enable the applicant to apply for residency, also when the program was not under the Express Entry list.
Although most of these programs currently have occupation lists and intake caps, the Express Entry system is said to have neither of these thresholds. It is unclear what the existing programs will look like once the new system is in place.
What are the changes?
One of the most prominent programs that will be discontinued is the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), which currently aims to help workers come to Canada to fill jobs in sectors where the local workforce does not provide with the required expertise. These workers come to Canada on a temporary basis, and are able to apply for permanent residency under one of the existing programs when in the country.
The temporary nature of a job position will be no more, made the government clear. Whereas employers will still be able to select employees based on their needs, these employees will come to Canada as fulltime residents and without uncertainty, was the argument.
Furthermore, law firms have applauded the abolishment of the occupation list and intake cap, arguing that it is now free for anybody to apply regardless of the profession executed or time of application. However, as a counter argument it has been stressed that this principle itself is likely to lead to uncertainty, as applicants can do little more than waiting for an invitation to apply.
With 5 more months to go before the system is in place, applicants still have the chance to be assessed under the current criteria, as the application will be reviewed based on the criteria that were in place when the application was submitted.
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