New skilled worker programme changes in Canada unveiled

by Ray Clancy on August 23, 2012

Changes include making language the most important selection factor

Canada’s revised Federal Skilled Worker Programme has been unveiled with claims that it will allow the country to better select skilled workers who can ‘hit the ground running’ upon arrival.

The Federal Skilled Worker Program is Canada’s largest economic immigration programme.

‘The changes we are making to update the selection criteria are based on a large body of data and evidence we’ve accumulated over the years showing what skills and qualifications are most likely to lead to success for skilled immigrants,’ said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.

Following an extensive programme evaluation, stakeholder and public consultations, as well as other research, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is proposing a series of changes.

These include making language the most important selection factor by establishing new minimum official language thresholds and increasing points for language as well as increasing the emphasis on younger immigrants, who are more likely to acquire valuable Canadian experience and remain in the workforce longer.

It will also see an increase in points for Canadian work experience and reducing points for foreign work experience, a simplified arranged employment process to prevent fraud and abuse yet enable employers to staff positions quickly and points awarded for spousal language ability and Canadian experience.

Another proposed change is the introduction of the Educational Credential Assessment, a mandatory requirement that FSWP applicants have their education abroad assessed against Canadian education standards by designated organizations. CIC will then award points according to how an applicant’s foreign educational credential compares to a completed educational credential in Canada. It does not necessarily guarantee that they would become licensed to practice in a regulated occupation.

‘This is an important step we are taking to address the problem of immigrants arriving and not being able to work in their field. This new requirement will help potential newcomers make informed choices about immigration and Canadian career paths,’ explained Kenney.

Final publication of the proposals is scheduled for late 2012 and the new FSWP points grid will likely take effect in January 2013.

The changes mean that there is currently a pause on new applications, except for FSWP candidates with a qualifying offer of arranged employment or those applying under the PhD stream, CIC expects to begin accepting applications again early next year.

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