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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-993-9971.