June 30, 2010

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has announced a number of changes to one of its routes to permanent residency, the Federal Skilled Worker class.  The changes, which are effective immediately, include limiting qualifying experience to 29 specific, in-demand occupations, capping applications at 20,000 per year, and tightening the language fluency requirement by making language tests mandatory.

Background 

These changes come at a time of increased immigration stringency in Canada.  Pro-Link GLOBAL has noted that even standard intra company transfer applications are coming under increased scrutiny, as Canada seeks to protect its own labor market while still attracting skilled migrants.  Canada is also rigorously enforcing employer immigration compliance, and has taken a number of measures to achieve this, including publishing details of non-compliant employers on the Citizenship and Immigration website.

29 In Demand Occupations for Federal Skilled Workers 

Effective immediately, to be eligible to apply as a federal skilled worker, applicants must either have a job offer, or they must have experience in one of29 in-demand occupations.  These occupations were identified through analysis of updated labor market information and consultations with provinces, territories, stakeholders and the public.

Cap of 20,000 Federal Skilled Worker Applications

For those applying under the occupation list, the government will limit the number of applications considered for processing to 20,000 per year as a way to better manage the supply of applications with labor market demand. Within the 20,000 limit, a maximum of 1,000 applications per occupation will be considered. The limit does not apply to applicants with a job offer.

Language Test Requirements (FSW and CEC)

In addition, all federal skilled worker applicants must submit the results of an independent language test before they will be considered.   Previously, written submissions were accepted as evidence of language ability, although Pro-Link GLOBAL has always recommended the language test as a better option.  This change also applies to applicants for permanent residency under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) route.

Federal Investor Program Changes

The Canadian government is also proposing new eligibility criteria for the immigrant investor program.  The proposals double the required personal net worth of new investors (to CAD$1.6M, up from CAD$800,000) and double the required investment sum (to CAD$800,000, up from CAD$400,000). These proposals were pre-published on June 26 in the Canada Gazette for a 30-day public comment period, and so are subject to change – however, it is likely that they will be passed.

Until the changes are finalized, the Government will stop accepting new investor applications to prevent a flood of applications before the new criteria take effect. When the new criteria are in place, new applications will be processed alongside the old ones.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS 

Pro-Link GLOBAL will advise our clients on a case by case basis regarding the Federal Skilled Worker changes, however, employers should note that:

  • Federal Skilled Worker applications have been capped at 20,000 per year, but this cap does not apply to applicants who have a job offer
  • New language test requirements have been introduced for both the Federal Skilled Worker and the Canadian Experience Class routes
  • Required investment amounts for the Federal Investor class are likely to be doubled in the near future.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader 

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification.

Pro-Link GLOBAL worked with Citizenship and Immigration Canada to provide this Global BRIEF alert to you.