Federal Skilled Worker Program to Re-open May 4, 2013

Dec 12

The new selection system for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) will take effect on May 4, 2013 at which time the program will re-open for applications. These changes will not apply to people who have applied to the FSWP prior to May 4, 2013 with a qualifying arranged job offer or under the Ph.D. stream. 

The changes to the FSWP points grid will place greater emphasis on the applicant’s age and language proficiency and will provide additional adaptability points for spousal language ability and Canadian work experience. In addition we will see the introduction of the Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) for all credentials earned outside of Canada.

The Changes to the FSWP are as follows:

Pass Mark – The pass mark will remain at 67 points.

Minimum Language Proficiency – Points allocated for language ability (in either English or French) will be raised from 16 to 24. Points for ability in the second official language will be reduced from 8 to 4. In order to be eligible to apply, applicants must reach a Canadian Language Benchmark of 7 which is equivalent to “adequate intermediate proficiency.”

Emphasis on Younger Workers  – Up to 12 points will be awarded to individuals aged 18-35. Previously, the same points were awarded for individuals between the ages of 21-49. Points will diminish until the age of 46. However, there will be no age limit for applying.

Amending Work Experience Points – The maximum number of points awarded for foreign work experience will be decreased from 21 to 15 points. In order to achieve maximum points, applicants must have 6 full years of experience, as opposed to 4.

Credential Assessment – Designated non-government organizations will be contracted by the government to authenticate educational credentials and determine their equivalency in Canada. Individuals who hold credentials that are not recognized in Canada will not be eligible to apply to the FSWP.

Arranged Employment – Canadian employers, whose workers are applying through the FSWP, will have to secure a Labour Market Opinion (LMO). FSWP applicants, whose prospective employment includes a positive or neutral LMO, will receive up to 15 points.

Changing Adaptability Requirements – A principal applicant to the FSWP who has Canadian work experience will be awarded a maximum of 10 points. 5 points will be awarded for study in Canada. Spousal adaptability will now be assessed on the basis of language skills, as opposed to education.

In order to receive points for relatives in Canada, the relative will have to meet a minimum age threshold of 18 years.

Caps and Processing Times-Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has stated that the new FSWP will be limited to applicants in NOCs O, A, and B, but will not be limited to particular occupations. There will be an overall cap or limit to the number of applications that will be accepted for assessment by CIC however, this number has not yet been announced. Finally, CIC has said applications under the new FSWP will be processed in a few months, rather than a few years.  

For more information on any Canadian or US immigration matter, please contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP at pwcimmigrationlaw-info@ca.pwc.com or 1-800-993-9971.

Posted by Donna Habsha » No Comments »

CIC Proposes New Biometrics Requirement Commencing Fall 2013

Posted by Melodie Hughes|Canada Immigration
Dec 12

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has proposed to introduce a Temporary Resident Biometrics Project, commencing in the Fall of 2013. Under this new project, nationals of certain countries will need to have their biometrics (including fingerprints and a digital photograph) taken in order to apply for any temporary resident visa, study permit, or work permit. Children, the elderly, and government officials and their family members travelling to Canada on official business may be exempt from this new requirement.

The countries whose citizens will be impacted by this change include:

  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Bangladesh
  • Burma (Myanmar)
  • Cambodia
  • Colombia
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Egypt
  • Eritrea
  • Haiti
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Jamaica
  • Jordan
  • Laos
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Palestinian Authority
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Syria
  • Tunisia
  • Vietnam
  • Yemen

CIC has proposed to start collecting this information on a mandatory basis from citizens of Colombia, Haiti and Jamaica in September 2013 and will roll out the requirement for citizens of other listed countries by December 2013 (with precise dates being subject to change).

The Biometrics Process

The implementation of a biometrics requirement will mean that many applicants will no longer be able to mail in their temporary resident visa, work permit or study permit applications. Rather, the applicant will need to appear in person to have his/her fingerprints and photograph taken at the time the application is submitted. In order to facilitate the process, CIC has indicated that it will be opening new Visa Application Centres (VACs) around the world.

Processing Times and Fees

While taking biometric information is not expected to increase the time it takes for CIC to process applications, it may impact the submission of the application as applicants will now need to apply in person. Additional time should be planned for making an in-person application, particularly when travel is involved.

The Government of Canada has also proposed a biometrics fee of $85 CAD per person, $170 CAD for a family, and $255 CAD for performing artists and their staff applying together for a work permit. This would be in addition to the normal temporary resident visa, work permit and study permit application processing fees.

Transition Period – Voluntary Biometrics

As CIC opens new VACs over the next year, affected nationals will be able to have their fingerprints and photograph taken on a voluntary basis. This service will be free of charge before the biometric requirement becomes mandatory.

Further information regarding the establishment of new VAC locations and dates on when the taking of biometrics will become a mandatory requirement for each country is expected to be announced in May 2013.

This document has been created for informational purposes only and does not contain a full analysis of the law, nor does it constitute a legal opinion of PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP.

For further information regarding this update or any other Canadian immigration matter, please contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP at 416-598-8849.

Posted by Melodie Hughes » No Comments »

Canadian Experience Class Work Experience Reduced from 24 Months to 12 Months

Dec 12

Today Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) announced that effective January 1, 2013 skilled temporary foreign workers will be able to transition to permanent residence faster than ever before. The Canadian work experience requirement of the Canadian Experience Class (“CEC“) is being reduced from 24 to 12 months.

Applicants who have 12 months of work experience in the 36 months preceding an application will now be eligible to apply to the program. Only applicants with National Occupational Classification 0, A or B work experience will continue to qualify for the CEC.

A minimum language threshold will be required in each of the four abilities (reading, writing, listening and speaking) for applicants to the CEC. It is anticipated that the threshold will be set at CLB/NCLC 7 for NOC 0 and A applicants and CLB/NCLC 5 for NOC B applicants, in each ability as opposed to averaged among the four abilities.

The change to the Regulations with respect to this program does not mention any transitory provisions. That is, the 12 months of work experience will not need to have commenced at a particular date.

In addition, under the foreign graduates stream of the CEC, applicants will have more time to earn their one year of work experience – up to 36 months, compared to only 24 months previously.

Through the CEC, which was created in 2008, Canada has admitted more than 20,000 international students and skilled workers. In 2013, CIC intends to accept a record high of up to 10,000 permanent residents through this program up from 2,545 CEC applicants admitted in 2009.

For more information on any Canadian or US immigration matter, please contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP at pwcimmigrationlaw-info@ca.pwc.com or 18009939971

Posted by Donna Habsha » No Comments »

New Federal Skilled Trades Stream to Begin Accepting Applications on January 2, 2013

Dec 12

A new Federal Skilled Trades Program is being launched on January 2,2013. In order to qualify, applicants will need to:

  • have an offer of employment in Canada or a certificate of qualification from a province or territory to ensure that applicants are “job ready” upon arrival;
  • meet basic language requirements;
  • have a minimum of two years of work experience as a skilled tradesperson; and
  • have the skills and experience that match those set out in the National Occupational Classification (NOC B) system, showing that they have performed the essential duties of the occupation.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will accept up to a maximum of 3,000 applications in the first year of the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

Eligible occupations will include electricians, welders, heavy-duty equipment mechanics, and pipefitters, among others. CIC is currently working with the provinces, territories and federal government partners on the list of skilled trades’ occupations that are experiencing acute labour shortages and which will qualify under the program. This list will be announced prior to the program opening on January 2, 2013.

For more information on any Canadian or US immigration matter, please contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP at pwcimmigrationlaw-info@ca.pwc.com or 18009939971


Posted by Donna Habsha » No Comments »