Revised Federal Skilled Worker Program Unveiled
Proposed regulatory changes announced today to the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) will allow Canada to better select skilled workers who can “hit the ground running” upon arrival.
“The Federal Skilled Worker Program is Canada’s largest economic immigration program,” said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. “The changes we are making to update the selection criteria are based on a large body of data and evidence we’ve accumulated over the years showing what skills and qualifications are most likely to lead to success for skilled immigrants.”
Following an extensive program evaluation, stakeholder and public consultations, as well as other research, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is proposing the following changes to the FSWP:
Making language the most important selection factor by establishing new minimum official language thresholds and increasing points for language;
Increasing the emphasis on younger immigrants, who are more likely to acquire valuable Canadian experience and remain in the workforce longer;
Increasing points for Canadian work experience and reducing points for foreign work experience;
Simplifying the arranged employment process to prevent fraud and abuse yet enable employers to staff positions quickly; and
Awarding points for spousal language ability and Canadian experience.
Another proposed change is the introduction of the Educational Credential Assessment – a mandatory requirement that FSWP applicants have their education abroad assessed against Canadian education standards by designated organizations. CIC will then award points according to how an applicant’s foreign educational credential compares to a completed educational credential in Canada. It does not necessarily guarantee that they would become licensed to practice in a regulated occupation.
“This is an important step we are taking to address the problem of immigrants arriving and not being able to work in their field,” stated Minister Kenney. “This new requirement will help potential newcomers make informed choices about immigration and Canadian career paths.”
CIC will be issuing a Call for Service Proposals on August 20, 2012, inviting submissions from organizations with expertise in foreign credential assessment to conduct the reviews. The deadline for submissions is September 21, 2012. For more information, please visit CIC’s International Qualifications Network website.
The full text of the proposed FSWP regulatory changes is now available online in the Canada Gazette. They also include improvements to the Canadian Experience Class and the creation of a new Federal Skilled Trades Program. The Department welcomes input from stakeholders and interested parties.
Final publication is scheduled for late 2012 and the new FSWP points grid will likely take effect in January 2013. While there is currently a pause on new applications (except for FSWP candidates with a qualifying offer of arranged employment or those applying under the PhD stream), CIC expects to begin accepting applications again early next year.
These changes have been announced by Minister Kenney in the past year.