Earlier this year, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced a temporary pause to its Federal Skilled Worker program while they reviewed the selection criteria to ensure a faster, more efficient immigration system.
Since then, they’ve been busy running consultations with the public, businesses and local stakeholders to get their input into proposed changes.
Finally, on 17 August, Citizenship and Immigration Canada unveiled their proposed changes, designed to allow Canada to better select workers who can “hit the ground running” upon arrival.
So what’s changed?*
Applicants under the Federal Skilled Worker Program are assessed against a points grid which awards a maximum of 100 points. The pass mark is 67 points. The following changes to the points grid are proposed:
Language is now the most important factor on the grid – the weight of the first official language would be significantly increased from 16 to 24 points while the weight of the second official language would be reduced from eight to four points.
The proposal will favour younger applicants by awarding a maximum of 12 points (currently the maximum is 10 points) for applicants aged 18 to 35, but reducing one point for every year after 35.
The total number of points for work experience will decrease from 21 to 15, yet to achieve full points for work experience, they’ve increased the years of experience required. Previously it was four years, it will now be six years.
Education points will be awarded based on an assessment of foreign education credentials and what the Canadian equivalent would be. CIC will not accept credentials that don’t exist in Canada or ones that aren’t comparable to a completed Canadian credential. The maximum points available will remain at 25.
The proposal will change the adaptability criteria to emphasise factors that are shown to have positive impacts on an immigrant’s economic and social integration. This includes points being awarded for spousal language ability and previous Canadian work experience.
Final publication of the new (and hopefully improved) Federal Skilled Worker Program is scheduled for late 2012 while the new FSWP points grid is due to take effect in January 2013. Applications are expected to be accepted again in early 2013. You can read the whole text of the proposed changes at the Canada Gazette.
*Bear in mind that this is just a proposal and may be still subject to change.