Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has revealed that three long-awaited announcements regarding the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) will be made sometime in April. The announcements will concern the following subjects:
- A cap on the number of applications to be accepted this year;
- A list of priority occupations; and
- Information on designated educational assessment organizationsWith this statement, CIC has officially confirmed rumours that the FSWP will include an occupation list. Previous descriptions of the program have made no official mention of such a list. Details as to what occupations will be included on the list, in addition to how the list will impact the FSWP, will likely be announced in April.
The FSWP Thus Far
The FSWP is not currently accepting applications to its Skilled Worker category. The program will reopen on May 4th, 2013. Over the past year, the selection criteria for the FSWP have been reworked to better target the immigrants most likely to succeed once in Canada. Based on information provided by CIC thus far, interested applicants will have to meet the following requirements in order to be eligible to apply:
- Have at least 1 year of full-time paid work experience in the last 10 years;
- Demonstrate at least adequate-intermediate language proficiency in English or French;
- Obtain at least 67 points on the reworked point grid, which is based on factors such as language proficiency, age, work experience, education, adaptability; and
- Have foreign credentials assessed, authenticated, and given an equivalent value in Canada.
The Impact of an Occupation List
The FSWP has previously included occupation lists as a way of targeting workers with the skills and education that Canada needs most. No details on how the list will compare to previous years have yet to be released. However, an analysis of Canada’s labour market can provide some clues as to the workers the country needs most. At present, skilled labour shortages are particularly steep in the fields of health care and natural resources management.
In 2011, the FSWP occupation list featured a cap on applications accepted under each occupation. Due to the program’s popularity, some categories filled their caps in just a few days. To counter this, many proactive applicants prepared their files in advance in order to submit the very day the program opened.
“Applicants are now in a position where they must balance the risk of preparing an application for naught with the reward of submitting before caps close,” said Attorney David Cohen. “Caps are likely to be tight, and excitement for the program has been building over the last year, so interest is high. Individuals who feel they have skills that are valued in Canada may wish to get a head start on their applications today.”When the FSWP opens in less than two months, prospective immigrants from around the world will clamour for the opportunity to have their applications assessed for Canadian immigration. Those individuals whose applications are approved will enter Canada better prepared than ever before to find employment and settle into their new homes.