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CIC Introduces Measures to Streamline Immigration for Skilled Tradespeople

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Under the modernized Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) to be unveiled later this year, CIC intends to create a separate and streamlined program for skilled tradespersons. Skilled trades include occupations in construction, transportation, manufacturing and service industries. Skilled tradespersons are in high demand in Canada particularly in the natural resources and construction sectors.

Currently, FSW applicants are assessed against a 100-point grid, with a pass mark of 67. The grid takes into account the candidate’s official language ability, education, work experience, age, whether they have a job offer in Canada (arranged employment), and their overall adaptability (which awards points for things like previous work or study in Canada, spouse’s education and relatives in Canada).

Some criteria in the FSW grid, such as years of education, have traditionally favoured professionals and managers more than skilled trades, and thus skilled tradespersons only make up 3 percent of all FSWs entering Canada. During CIC’s consultations on FSWP modernization over the past year, stakeholders also agreed that changes were necessary to make the program more accessible to tradespersons.

The proposed FSWP Skilled Trades program would create a means for skilled tradespersons to be assessed based on criteria geared towards their reality, putting more emphasis on practical training and work experience rather than formal education. The new skilled trades stream would avoid some of the complexities of the traditional points grid. Skilled trades applicants will, however, need to meet minimum language requirements, given the importance of language as a determinant of immigrant success.

Federal Skilled Worker Backlog Reduction Pilot

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On March 15, 2012 the BC PNP launched a new pilot project in partnership with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to reduce processing times for select Federal Skilled Worker applicants.

The Federal Skilled Worker Backlog Reduction Pilot targets CIC clients who submitted their applications for permanent residence prior to February 27, 2008 and who have experience in a select group of high demand engineering, information technology and construction occupations.

Those who are invited to participate will receive a letter from CIC and will be eligible to submit an application to the BC PNP without a job offer from a BC employer. The BC PNP will assess pilot project participants on their ability to become economically established in BC by considering a number of factors including age, education, work experience and English language ability. Successful applicants will be issued a nomination certificate that will entitle them to expedited processing of their applications for permanent residence by CIC.

The BC PNP will issue up to 250 nomination certificates through the pilot.

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

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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.