Federal Skilled Worker Points System - Update

29 Aug 2012

Immigration News

The Government of Canada devised these changes through meetings with key immigration stakeholders as well as the Canadian general public. Their ultimate goal is not to decrease immigration to Canada, but rather to focus immigration in such a way that both Canada and immigrants are able to benefit from the changes.

Reforms to the Federal Skilled Worker Points System

The current FSWC program operates on a 100-point system. Successful applicants must score 67 or more points, which are allocated for a number of factors such as education, work experience, language ability, age, and ‘adaptability’. CIC plans to update the ways in which points will be allocated to future applicants. In this way, it is expected that successful FSWC applicants who come to Canada will be better prepared to find employment and successfully settle into their new home.

Proposed updates to the FSWC program are as follows:

Pass Mark – The pass mark will remain at 67 points.

Minimum Language Proficiency – CIC statistics indicate that proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages is a key to securing a good job. Therefore, points allocated for language ability (in either English or French) will be raised from 16 to 24. Points for ability in the second official language will be reduced from 8 to 4, as little evidence has been found that this helps immigrants.

A language threshold, in order to be eligible to apply, will also be instituted. It is anticipated that this threshold will be set at the Canadian Language Benchmark 7, which is equivalent to “adequate intermediate proficiency”.

Emphasis on Younger Workers – Canada needs younger workers who will contribute to the labour market for years to come. Therefore, up to 12 points will be awarded to individuals aged 18-35. Previously, the same points were awarded between the ages of 21-49. Points will diminish until the age of 46. However, there is no age limit for applying to the FSWC program.

Amending Work Experience Points – Because it is not highly valued by Canadian employers, the maximum number of points awarded for foreign work experience will be decreased from 21 to 15 points. In order to achieve maximum points, applicants must have 6 full years of experience, as opposed to 4.

Credential Assessment – Designated non-government organizations will be contracted by the government to authenticate educational credentials and determine their equivalency in Canada. Individuals who hold credentials that are not recognized in Canada will not be eligible to apply to the FSWC program.

If an applicant claims work in a regulated occupation, CIC may designate a professional body in Canada to conduct an assessment of the applicant’s credentials.

Arranged Employment –The current process of securing Arranged Employment Offers will be disposed of. In its place, Canadian employers, whose workers are applying through the FSWC program, will have to secure a Labour Market Opinion (LMO). The LMO process is already used to help secure temporary work permits for foreign workers. FSWC applicants, whose prospective employment includes a positive or neutral LMO, will receive up to 15 points.

Changing Adaptability Requirements – A principal applicant to the FSWC who has Canadian work experience will be awarded a maximum of 10 points. 5 points will be awarded for study in Canada. Spousal adaptability will now be assessed on the basis of language skills, as opposed to education.

In order to receive points for relatives in Canada, the relative will have to meet a minimum age threshold of 18 years.

Impact of FSWC Reforms

It is important to note that changes to the FSWC program will not affect other immigration programs. The Quebec Skilled Worker, Family Class Sponsorship, and other programs will remain unaffected and continue to operate in their current states.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has stated that “the new Skilled Worker program will be limited to applicants in NOCs O, A, and B, but won’t be limited to particular occupations.”

While the Minister has said that there won’t be a limitation on particular occupations, it is expected that there will be an overall cap or limit to the number of applications that will be accepted for assessment by CIC.

Further clarifications to how the program will be implemented are forthcoming. CIC News will alert readers to future changes as they become clear.

Will my occupation be included when the Federal Skilled Worker program reopens on January 1st, 2013?

The Minister of Immigration has indicated that all occupations listed under National Occupation Classification (NOC) levels O, A and B will be eligible under the revised Federal Skilled Worker Class. There is however, a strong probability, that there will be an overall cap or limit to the number of Federal Skilled Worker applications accepted for assessment.

I was granted Canadian Permanent Residency 15 years ago. I then found a job abroad, and have not returned since. Can I renew my Permanent Residency, or must I go through the entire application process again?

Canadian Permanent Residents must accumulate 2 years of “residency days” in each 5-year period in order to meet their residency obligations. If the residency obligation is not met and there are no extenuating humanitarian or compassionate reasons, then the Permanent Resident may lose status. In that case, a new application for Permanent Residence would have to be submitted.

My spouse and I received Canadian Permanent Residency. He was the principle applicant, and I am his dependent. If we were to split up or get divorced, would I lose my Permanent Residency?

While we do not comment on specific cases, in general terms if civil status changes (ex. divorce) before landing in Canada as a Permanent Resident it should be reported to Canadian immigration authorities, and it may affect eligibility. After landing, Permanent Residents are treated individually and a change in civil status would not normally make a difference.

I was arrested but not convicted for a criminal offense. Do I still need to address issues of admissibility to Canada?

You must answer all questions as they appear on application forms or as put to you by an immigration officer honestly. Generally, when an individual indicates that he/she has been arrested or detained, at the very least a detailed explanation would have to be provided. For the most part, only convictions would make an individual inadmissible to Canada, but there are exceptions.



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