TORONTO: Canada will reopen its revised Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) for fresh applications from would-be immigrants from May 4.
Acceptance of applications under the program was stopped in July as the Canadian government undertook a revision of the FSWP.
Fresh applications will now be accepted from May 4 under the program, immigration minister Jason Kenney (seen addressing a Toronto Sikh gathering in the above file photo) announced on Wednesday.
Since the new applications under the revised FSWP will be processed in a few months, rather than a few years, only a fixed number of applications will be accepted each year.
“The government’s number one priority remains jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity. The new Federal Skilled Worker Program criteria will ensure Canada is selecting the skilled immigrants our economy needs, who are the most likely to succeed and fully realize their potential in Canada,’’ the immigration minister said.
The major change in the revised skilled worker program is preference for younger immigrants and language proficiency even though the pass mark for immigrants remains 67 on a scale of 100.
While previously the maximum number of 10 points were granted to those in the 21-49 age bracket, under the revised system the maximum number of points has been increased to 12 that will be given those in the age bracket of 18 to 35.
The revised program also mandates a minimum level of language proficiency, and those with a strong command of either English or French will be granted more points.
“The applicants will have to demonstrate that they meet the minimum language threshold, which is level 7 of the Canadian Language Benchmark assessment system. Applicants will be able to get a language assessment from existing agencies designated by the Minister and listed on the CIC website,’’ Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) said in a statement.
The revised program also introduces the so-called Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) so that applicants will have their foreign credentials assessed against the Canadian system and points allocated before they arrive in Canada.
“Applicants will have their education credentials assessed prior to arriving in Canada. A list of assessment organizations designated by the Minister will be made available early in the New Year. The assessment of foreign educational credentials will provide prospective newcomers with a more realistic understanding of how their credentials compare to education standards in Canada. It will also give them the opportunity to upgrade their education prior to coming to Canada if they choose,’’ the CIC said in its statement .
But these changes will not apply to people who have applied to the FSWP prior to May 4, 2013, with a qualifying arranged job offer or under the Ph.D. stream.
Significantly, the number of points allocated for foreign work experience have been reduced under the revised program.
“Foreign work experience is largely discounted by Canadian employers when the immigrant first enters the Canadian labour market, and it is a weak predictor of economic success,” says an analysis of the existing skilled workers program published in August.
“For too long, too many immigrants to Canada have experienced underemployement and unemployment, and this has been detrimental to these newcomers and to the Canadian economy,” said the Immigration Minister.
“Our transformational changes to the FSWP will help ensure that skilled newcomers are able to contribute their skills fully to the economy as soon as possible. This is good for newcomers, good for the economy, and good for all Canadians,’’ the minister added.