Skilled Workers – Immigration Canada
The regulations to immigrate to Canada keep changing without notice every year for skilled workers who wish to obtain permanent resident visa based on their education, age, language proficiency and background. This is the so-called “points system”.
Since 2008 Ministerial Instructions have been issued and changed every year in order to meet the labour market needs in Canada. Before 2008 applications filed under the Federal Skilled Worker category had longer processing times and there was a backlog of 640,000 applications.
From 2008 to 2010 applications were processed a little bit faster but some of the applicants did not have the right profile to fulfill the market’s needs and some of those applications have not been processed yet. The biggest change came into effect on June 26th, 2010; the Ministerial Instructions imposed a cap of 20,000 applications per year distributed among 19 different National Occupational Classification Codes. No more than 1,000 applications could be filed under each code. This meant that only 20,000 professionals worldwide were going to be accepted during that year. Moreover, the requirements increased and it became mandatory to take the language proficiency exam before Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) did the first assessment and started processing the application.
In June 30th, 2011 another big change occurred and the cap was reduced 50% resulting in only 10,000 applications allowed under the same 19 National Occupational Classification Codes that had applied the former year. This time the opportunity for skilled immigrants was even lower and preference was given to other programs to attract immigrants.
For 2012 we are expecting another set of changes, on March 19th, 2012 Jason Kenney, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism has mentioned that the changes have had a positive impact on the immigration system. This being said, we would not be surprised if new big changes come into in effect this summer in order to improve the immigration processes.
Some of the possible changes that may occur according to the most recent news are the following:
- Employers will have more participation to appoint workers, as they know better what is needed.
- English or French Proficiency will be one the most important requirements
- Fewer points will be given for the level of education since most of the times the foreign credentials cannot be recognized once the immigrants make it to Canada
- Some National Occupational Classification Codes may be changed to meet the current needs of the country
I have experienced these changes being an immigrant myself under the Federal Skilled Worker category in 2010. I can say that it is good for the country to have skilled immigrants and I am glad that the government is focusing again on this program. The economic growth of Canada is one of the objectives of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and this could be achieved by allowing skilled individuals into the country who can get well established and contribute to the development.
By: Maria Campos