CANADA – Federal Skilled Worker Program to Re-Open on 4 May 2013
Citizenship and Immigration Canada has announced that the one of the most commonly used Permanent Residency categories for newcomers to Canada, the Federal Skilled Worker Program, will reopen as of May 4, 2013:
What Is the Federal Skilled Worker Program?
The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) selects immigrants based on their ability to succeed economically in Canada. It measures applicants using a selection grid worth up to 100 points. The current pass mark is 67. Each applicant is awarded points for official language ability, age, education, work experience, employment already arranged in Canada, and adaptability (such as previous work experience or education acquired in Canada).
Why Has The FSWP Been Closed?
The FSWP was temporarily suspended in June 2012 (see our alert here) while the points system was revised, and while a huge backlog of cases was cleared. It was anticipated that the program would re-open in January 2013 – in fact, it will be May.
One of the biggest novelties of the new 2013 FSWP is that credentials will be evaluated prior to applicants coming to Canada, which should result in less unemployed or under-employed qualified migrants into Canada. CIC’s press release states that the final changes to the FSWP selection criteria include:
- Minimum official language thresholds and increased points for official language proficiency;
- Increased emphasis on younger immigrants;
- 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.The CIC is optimistic that applications under the new FSWP will be processed in terms of months rather than years.
Note that the Federal Skilled Worker Program will re-open in May 2013; if you have employees or transferees who may qualify, contact us for more information.