Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has announced that the new point based selection system for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) will take effect on May 4th, 2013. At that time, the program will re-open for new applications.
The Skilled Worker category of the FSWP has been closed since mid-2012 so that necessary changes could be made to selection criteria. It is important to note that the FSWP continues to be open for individuals with a qualifying arranged job offer or who wish to apply under the Ph.D. stream.
The final changes, as described by CIC, are as follows:
Minimum official language thresholds and increased points for official language proficiency, making language the most important factor in the selection process;
Increased emphasis on younger immigrants, who are more likely to acquire valuable Canadian experience, are better positioned to adapt to changing labour market conditions, and who will spend a greater number of years contributing to Canada’s economy;
Introduction of the Educational Credential Assessment (ECA), so that education points awarded reflect the foreign credential’s true value in Canada;
Changes to the arranged employment process, allowing employers to hire applicants quickly, if there is a demonstrated need in the Canadian labour market; and
Additional adaptability points for spousal language ability and Canadian work experience
These changes are part of CIC’s mission to transform Canada’s immigration system to a ‘faster and more flexible’ system. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has stated that “The government’s number one priority remains jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity. The new Federal Skilled Worker Program criteria will ensure Canada is selecting the skilled immigrants out economy needs, who are the most likely to succeed in Canada.”
These changes, along with efforts to streamline processing times, will result in FSWP applications being processed within months, as opposed to years. To assist in a speedy processing time, CIC has announced that the new FSWP will place a cap on the number of applications accepted for review each year. The exact number of applications to be accepted in 2013 has yet to be announced.