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What Other Changes does Budget 2012 Signal for Immigration?

Posted by kanrisha in blog - (Comments Off on What Other Changes does Budget 2012 Signal for Immigration?)

The Federal Government gave a budget speech today, but it was chock full of immigration news. For the past few months, Jason Kenney has been hinting about coming changes and testing the waters to see what kind of reaction his proposals would get. Although they’re not law yet, we can expect to see them become official in the near future.

Let’s see what the Government has in mind.

Building A Fast and Flexible Economic Immigration System

The Government is committed to transitioning to a faster and more flexible economic immigration system. Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes:

  • Taking further actions to strengthen the immigration system to make it truly proactive, targeted, fast and efficient in a way that will sustain Canada’s economic growth and deliver prosperity for the future.

OK, not much we can take from this collection of buzz words and motherhood statements. Let’s see what else we’ve got to work with.

  • Announcing the Government’s intention to better align the Temporary Foreign Worker Program with labour market demands and to ensure that businesses look to the domestic labour force before accessing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

“Better align the TFWP with labour market demands” . . . If that means greater involvement by Service Canada in the TWF process, we can pretty well kiss ‘proactive, targeted, fast and efficient’ good-bye. But if Kenney is proposing to reduce SC’s role, the whole economy will breathe a huge sigh of relief. The part about looking to the “domestic labour force before accessing the TFWP” has to make you think that you’d better put Service Canada on your speed dial. It’s almost as if CIC is looking for new ways to create backlogs and bottlenecks.

  • Signalling the Government’s intention to support further improvements to foreign credential recognition and to work with provinces and territories to identify the next set of target occupations for inclusion, beyond 2012, under the Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications.

This one is multi-layered and chock full of ideas.

First is foreign-credential recognition. Applicants looking to immigrate as Skilled Workers will have to get a pre-arrival assessment of their credentials. CIC admits that this will do nothing to guarantee employment on arrival – we probably won’t solve that problem until we can convince employers that there is more to a CV than ‘Canadian experience’.

Then comes ‘working with the provinces and territories’. The Federal Government has been trying to gracefully (or not so gracefully – see our earlier post on dumping the SFW backlog) get out of the Skilled Worker business entirely, by shifting skilled workers to Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) that are employer driven.

But then we take a giant step backwards in trying to identify the next set of target occupations for inclusion. CIC has always believed that it can micromanage the labour force by flipping switches on its lists of approved occupations. The thing is, it takes them so long to process applications that whatever demand they imagined there was for a particular occupation has long since moved on by the time they get the tap open.

And “the Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications”? First we’ve heard, we have to confess. Watch this space for further updates.

PCIC’s Immigration Blog – Why Does the Canadian Government Hate Skilled Workers?

Posted by kanrisha in blog - (Comments Off on PCIC’s Immigration Blog – Why Does the Canadian Government Hate Skilled Workers?)

One has to wonder why the Canadian government hates skilled workers so much. Last year, new ministerial instructions made it possible for only 20,000 to apply as Foreign Skilled Workers (FSWs) in one of 29 occupation categories. Each of the 29 categories was capped at 1,000 applications – not 1,000 visas issues or 1,000 FSWs accepted – pass or fail, 1,000 applications. It is clearly no longer a question of setting conditions to screen in those with the best chance of succeeding economically in Canada. The game now is to kill the category and to divert those applicants into other channels. More on that later.

So, despite the fact that many of the categories failed to reach anywhere near 1,000 application, this year’s total was reduced to 10,000 with each category – and the categories that attracted almost no applicants remain on the list –  capped at 500 applications.
The only exceptions for FSWs are for the ones who have an Arranged Employment Offer (AEO). Of course, the AEO has come under increasing scrutiny by CIC due to the alleged fraud perpetrated on the system by the current Chair of CSIC. As a result, the forms to apply for an AEO and the reporting requirements for prospective employers have both ballooned to insupportable proportions.

So what’s a skilled worker to do?

It is clear that CIC is employing two strategies. One is to channel would-be independent immigrants (as we used to call them) into employer-driven Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). The other is to encourage applications for permanent residence from a pool of people who have experience and success living in Canada, such as temporary foreign skilled workers and international students. Scaffolding has been created for international students, for example, where study leads to work experience, which in turn leads to permanent residence through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). CEC allows both skilled workers who have accumulated enough work experience in Canada and international students who have graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution to apply for permanent residence. International students are eligible for Post-graduate Work Permits (PGWPs) that allow them to gain the requisite work experience in qualify for CEC. Both PNP and CEC make it critical for international students and temporary skilled workers alike (assuming their goal is to eventually settle in Canada) to develop a strategy immediately upon arrival in order to maximise their chances of qualifying either under a PNP or under CEC.

The easiest way to stay ahead of the curve is to let Premier Canadian Immigration Co-op’s consultants custom-design a strategy for you.

The whole PCIC team is looking forward to making a difference in your life and we hope you will put your faith in us and give us that opportunity.

PCIC – We Know What You Need.