CIC announces new immigration policy initiatives

April 17, 2012

Eligibility criteria changed for Canadian Experience Class

Winnipeg, April 16, 2012 — To meet Canada’s labour market needs more quickly, highly-skilled temporary foreign workers could soon transition to permanent residence faster than before, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.

“Thousands of highly-skilled foreign nationals are working successfully in Canada on a temporary basis,” said Minister Kenney. “Expediting their transition to permanent residence would help Canada retain bright and talented people who already have Canadian work experience and the ability to communicate in English or French. In many cases, they already have a job lined up. Such newcomers are set for success.”

To make Canada’s immigration system more flexible and even more responsive to our labour market needs, Citizenship and Immigration Canada intends to reduce the work experience requirement for eligible temporary foreign workers applying to stay permanently. One major benefit of the change would be to make it easier for skilled tradespersons working in Canada to transition to permanent residence as their work is often project-based and can be seasonal.

Currently, to be eligible to apply, applicants under the temporary foreign worker stream of the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) must have acquired 24 months of full-time work experience within the last 36 months. Under the proposed regulatory changes, the requirement would be reduced to 12 months of experience.

The announcement is the latest in a series Minister Kenney has made about transforming Canada’s economic immigration program into a fast and flexible system focused on jobs, growth, and prosperity.

Launched in 2008, the CEC offers a pathway to permanent residence – and eventually Canadian citizenship – for international students and temporary foreign workers with highly-skilled Canadian work experience. The CEC aims to support the economic success of immigrants by selecting those who are most likely to succeed in Canada’s labour market.

In 2011, a record number of people were admitted to Canada under the CEC. According to preliminary admissions data, 6,022 immigrants were welcomed under the CEC last year, a significant increase in admissions of more than 50 % from 2010. In 2012, 7,000 permanent residents are expected to be admitted through the CEC – more than ever before.

“The CEC is a key part of our plan for the future of immigration in Canada, and so it is gratifying to see the dramatic growth in the program since its inception,” said Minister Kenney.

Further details about the proposed changes to the Canadian Experience Class will be announced later in 2012.

Towards a faster and more flexible immigration system?

London, April 17, 2012 — The Government of Canada is taking concrete steps to realize its vision of an immigration system that actively recruits talent rather than passively receives and processes all applications, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.

“As the Prime Minister has stated, the Government of Canada is committed to making economic and labour force needs the central focus of our immigration efforts,” said Minister Jason Kenney. “We have already begun the groundwork and will be building on this foundation in the months ahead to ensure our long-term economic success.”

As outlined in the Government’s Economic Action Plan 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will work with provinces, territories, and employers to create a pool of skilled workers who are ready to begin employment in Canada.

“We are making transformational changes to Canada’s immigration system,” said Minister Kenney. “We want a system that is faster, more flexible – a system that attracts younger people who can help grow our economy the minute they arrive in Canada.”

CIC has announced that it is already taking proactive steps towards building a fast and flexible immigration system that meets Canada’s economic needs. For example, the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) points system will be reformed to reflect the importance of younger immigrants with Canadian work experience and better official language skills. Furthermore, CIC will strengthen the assessment of educational credentials to ensure that immigrants are closer to being ready to work upon arrival in Canada. FSW applicants will have their foreign educational credentials assessed and verified abroad as a part of the application process.

Today, Minister Kenney announced two additional changes that will help transform Canada’s immigration system. One proposed change would help CIC ensure FSWapplicants meet current labour market needs. It would allow new rules set out in Ministerial Instructions to apply to people who have already submitted an application. For example, instructions could place a priority on a specific occupation, such as doctors, and have existing applications from doctors processed first, regardless of where they are in the queue.

A similar change would allow new regulations, once approved, to apply retrospectively to people who have already submitted an application. These changes would help ensure that immigrants are chosen based on Canada’s current needs and priorities.

“Canada risks losing the global competition for talent as potential immigrants choose to take their skills to other countries with more responsive immigration systems, rather than remain in the queue for years to have their application processed here,” concluded Minister Kenney. “All of the changes we are exploring will make Canada more competitive with other similarly-placed countries and more attractive to the best and brightest from around the world, and will better match our immigration system with the best interests of the Canadian economy.”

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