On Friday, August 17, 2012, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced proposed regulatory changes to the Federal Skilled Worker Class and Canadian Experience Class as well as the creation of the Federal Skilled Trades Class. All of these changes will take effect on January 1, 2013.
FEDERAL SKILLED WORKER CLASS
Among the changes announced by the Minister are:
• Increasing the importance of language by establishing new minimum official language thresholds and increasing the points awarded for “Language” from 24 to 28 points;
• Increasing the emphasis on younger immigrants by increasing the points awarded for “Age” from 10-12 points and awarding maximum points to applicants between the ages of 18-35;
• Increasing the points awarded for Canadian work experience and reducing the points awarded for foreign work experience from 21 to 15 points;
• Simplifying the arranged employment process; and
• Awarding points for spousal language ability and Canadian experience.
Another change announced by the Minister is the creation of the “Educational Credential Assessment”. As of January 2013, all Federal Skilled Worker Class applicants will have to have their education abroad assessed against Canadian education standards by designated organizations chosen by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). CIC will then award points according to how an applicant’s foreign educational credential compares to a completed educational credential in Canada.
FEDERAL SKILLED TRADES CLASS
Also announced by the Minister was the creation of the Federal Skilled Trades Class to facilitate the immigration of certain skilled tradespersons in Canada, in response to labour market needs. The Class would be open to skilled tradespersons with experience in the following occupational areas: Industrial, Electrical and Construction Trades; Maintenance and Equipment Operation Trades; Supervisors and Technical Occupations in Natural Resources, Agriculture and Related Production; Processing, Manufacturing and Utilities Supervisors and Central Control Operators; as well as Chefs and Cooks, and Bakers and Butchers.
Applicants to the proposed program would be required to meet four (4) minimum requirements:
1. A qualifying offer of employment from up to two (2) employers in Canada of at least one (1) year duration or a Certificate of Qualification from a provincial or territorial Apprenticeship Authority;
2. Language proficiency, as evidenced by a test from a designated language testing organization that demonstrates the applicant’s abilities in the requisite skill areas meet the threshold set by the Minister in all four (4) language abilities (speaking, reading, writing, oral comprehension);
3. Twenty-four (24) months of work experience (after qualification/certification in the country where the work was performed, where applicable) in the same skilled trade in the last five (5) years; and
4. Qualifications that satisfy employment requirements as described by the National Occupational Classification, except for certification and licensing requirements, which are difficult to obtain outside Canada.
CANADIAN EXPERIENCE CLASS
The Minister announced that the Canadian work experience requirement will be reduced from twenty-four (24) months to twelve (12) in the preceding thirty-six (36) months. Only applicants with managerial/professional/technical/skilled trade work experience would continue to qualify for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
Furthermore, just as will be the case with the Federal Skilled Worker Class, a minimum language threshold will be required in each of the four (4) abilities for applicants to the CEC. Initially, it is anticipated that the threshold would be set at “moderate intermediate proficiency” in speaking, oral comprehension, reading and writing for applicants with managerial/professional/technical work experience and “low intermediate” proficiency in each ability for applicants with skilled trade work experience.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
If you are an existing Federal Skilled Worker Class client of Abrams & Krochak who has not yet applied for Permanent Residence, your qualifications will be subject to the revised points grid/selection criteria and you will have to have your foreign educational credentials assessed. Likewise, if you are a skilled tradesperson, you might qualify in the new Federal Skilled Trades Class. If you have questions regarding the status of your Application, please send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are not yet a client of Abrams & Krochak but wish to become one and have not yet had your eligibility to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada in the Federal Skilled Worker Class assessed by the firm, please visit http://www.abramsandkrochak.com/skilled-worker for your free eligibility assessment. If you have already received a favourable Federal Skilled Worker Class eligibility assessment from the firm, please send an e-mail to email@example.com and Abrams & Krochak will be more than happy to reassess your eligibility and, if favourable, represent you on the understanding that your Application for Permanent Residence cannot be filed until January 2013 at the earliest, and on the assumption that your eligibility to immigrate is not adversely affected by the possible publication of an Occupational Demand List and your occupation(s) do(es) not appear on the List. In the event that your eligibility to immigrate IS adversely affected, Abrams & Krochak will work with you to explore other options to make your proposed Canadian Immigration plans a success (i.e. Arranged Employment/Provincial Nominee Programs/ Temporary Visas (i.e. Work Permits/Study Permits), etc.).
With all of the changes taking place with respect to Canada’s Immigration system and all of the uncertainty that these changes have caused, one thing is certain: Now more than ever it is wise to have legal representation to help you understand and navigate the complex Canadian Immigration Application process.