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How the changes in Canada’s Skilled Worker and Immigrant Investor programs will affect prospective immigrants

Canada’s Minister of Immigration announced new developments in the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) and the Federal Immigrant Investor (FIIP) programs.

In the past few years the minister has announced changes on the last weekend in June.

These have covered the number of applications the federal government would take receipt of in each category and the work experience that would qualify people to apply in the FSW program. If that pattern had continued, the minister would have made similar announcements last June.

Both the FSW program and the FIIP filled up last year – the FIIP in about three hours – and the department stopped taking receipt of applications.

The FSW program will likely be closed for a period of at least six months. There is no target date to reopen the FIIP program.

The minister refers to this as a “pause” to allow the department to “make important changes to its economic immigration programs before accepting more applications”.

As a result, the department will not take receipt of any new Skilled Worker or Federal Investor applications before January 2, 2013, at the earliest.

The qualifying job categories will likely be announced on December 29, 2012.

This “pause” will give the department an opportunity to shorten the queue by processing older applications.

It will also give the minister time to redesign the Federal Skilled Worker program. He has spoken in the past about revising the selection criteria.

For example, until now applicants could earn 10 points for age up to the age of 50, with points falling to zero for candidates who filed their applications at age 55 of or older. It is likely that the minister will change the age requirement so that those over the age of 35 years will get reduced or zero points for age. He has made it clear that he would like to see younger immigrants arriving in Canada, as they are expected to be more adaptable to the Canadian labour market, and will contribute to the Canadian economy over a longer period of time.

The minister promises that the changes will not affect the numbers of new immigrants arriving in Canada, but only the criteria that qualifies them for immigrant status.

Exceptions

Canada's provinces continue to develop their own immigration programs, and this pause does not affect provincial programs.

Also, new FSW applications that are accompanied by a government-approved job offer from an established Canadian employer will still be processed. So too will applications submitted in the PhD stream.

There is no suggestion that any sponsorship program will be changed.
– Gregory James

• Gregory James, of Gregory James Immigration Law Firm, can be reached at 416-538-1301.

Posted: Aug 1, 2012

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