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Canada puts hold on skilled worker immigration

Skilled expats hoping to start a new life and career in Canada may find their hopes are dashed by a revamp of immigrant selection procedures.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has revealed details of the new Federal Skilled Worker Program aimed at tightening up the rules on skills and qualifications for expats seeking work.

Proposed changes put forward by CIC include:

  • Focusing on language as the most important selection factor by setting minimum official language thresholds and awarding more points for language skills
  • Supporting applications from younger immigrants who are more likely to work longer
  • Up the points awarded for Canadian work experience and reducing points for foreign work experience
  • Simplifying the arranged employment process to stop fraud while aiding employers to quickly find staff

“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,” said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.

No guarantee of a place

The CIC is also recommending an education assessment for expats that will compare skills and qualifications against Canadian education standards.

Points will be awarded against the immigrant’s foreign qualifications compares to the Canadian counterpart.

“It does not necessarily guarantee that they would become licensed to practice in a regulated occupation,” said Kenney.

“This is an important step we are taking to address the problem of immigrants arriving and not being able to work in their field. This new requirement will help potential newcomers make informed choices about immigration and Canadian career paths.”

The proposals are expected to become law from January 1, 2013.

Cap on number of applicants

Meanwhile, many expats will find their Canadian visa applications are on hold except for candidates with a qualifying offer of arranged employment or those with PhD.

Kenney has stated that the new program will be limited in the number of applicants but won’t be limited to particular occupations – the likely outcome is an overall cap or limit to the number of applications that will be accepted for assessment by CIC.

“We are continuing to make changes to create a faster, more flexible immigration system and look forward to even more improvements and reforms in the year ahead,” said Kenney.

“Our government has a plan for a faster, more flexible system that will better meet Canada’s economic needs while continuing to uphold our humanitarian commitments.”

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