The Cap System Needs Reform for the Skilled Worker Program

June 21, 2011

The new Federal Skilled Worker Program will celebrate its first anniversary on June 26, 2011. The new program introduced a cap system, which places a limit of 20,000 on the total number of applications, and a limit of 1000 on the applications under each occupation category, to be processed by CIC between June 26, 2010 and June 30, 2011.

As of June 21, 2011, CIC received only 13,682 eligible applications, far short from the 20,000 limit. Further, while the caps for some occupations were reached months ago, most are not. An example is the “Crane Operator” category (NOC 7371), which received only 12 applications.

CIC should review the cap system carefully with the expiration of the first year of “experiment.” If the cap for total number of applications will remain unchanged, the distribution of the sub-caps should at least be revised. The cap for each occupation should be based on the labour market needs, and availability of foreign skilled worker applicants. After all, Canada needs different number of people to fill different positions, and the number of potential applicants under each occupation varies considerably.

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