Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has recently announced that the recent changes to the country’s immigration rules are designed to attract more skilled workers into the country. The goal is to fill in the current labor shortages faced by major industries such as the construction sector and natural resources sector.
The new rules are included in the Federal Skilled Worker Program or FSWP, which would be formally launched in the last quarter of 2012. This is a revamped program from the Citizenship and Immigration Canada where there is a simplified programme for skilled workers for specific economic sectors such as construction, transportation, service and manufacturing industries.
One of the major aspects of this new program would be to allow visa applications from specific occupations to be fast tracked. Furthermore, this programme would provide more flexibility as well as provide the Minister for Immigration to exercise their authority on priority occupations as needed by the economy. The following are the other changes to be instituted:
- The policy is being streamlined in sync with economic needs of the country;
- Businesses and companies that hire immigrants would be given the responsibility to assess the education, skills and credentials of immigrants directly;
- The pre-assessment of applicants would give them an idea about their employability as they integrate themselves in Canada based on their chosen trade and skills;
- The immigrant investor programme is designed to attract investors who would want to take up residence in Canada would be changed.
What would be retained though is the minimum knowledge of either English or French language as a criteria for qualification under FSWP.
The current program for CIC in 2012 would allow at most 57,000 skilled workers under the FSWP, with no sign of any increase in the intake for the year. The current system of the programme evaluates applicants against a grid of 100 points. These are broken down into language ability, work experience, education, candidate age as well as a current standing job offer together with the adaptability into the country as a whole.
With nearly ten of the twenty four occupations on the skilled workers list for immigration come from many trades and skill sets, only 3% of them coming from the FSWP. In the end, the new changes would provide skilled workers the opportunity to be appraised according to their work experience and practical training instead of just relying on university degrees.
According to Deepak Obhrao, a PIO member of the Canadian parliament, “The changes are aimed to meet the economic needs of Canada and focused on areas of growth within industry. Some sectors have seen rapid growth over the past couple of years and have huge gaps of skilled trades people. India has always been a huge source of immigrants to Canada and we don’t see that trend changing at all.”