Changes to the Federal Skilled Worker Program
Just last week the Minister of Immigration announced changes to the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Program of Canadian Immigration.
It should come as no surprise to anyone who follows Canadian politics that the party in power, with a fresh majority of seats in the House of Commons, has reduced by half the number of applications to be accepted for processing, without a job offer, under the FSW Program. Effective July 1, 2011 and for the ensuing 12 months, a maximum of 10,000 of these applications will be accepted for processing. The 29 eligible occupations remain unchanged, but only 500 applications in each occupation will be considered for a permanent resident visa. No cap has been placed on the number of FSW applications that include a validated job offer from a Canadian employer.
The decrease in the FSW numbers fits the philosophy of the Conservative government. There has been a gradual but steady shift in Canadian Immigration policy since the Conservatives formed a minority government some five years ago. Before then, our national government assumed the role of chief selector of individuals who wanted to immigrate to Canada. Since 2006 much of immigrant selection has devolved to the provinces and territories and they all now administer their own Immigration departments and selection systems. The federal government seems more at ease in handling the health and security aspects of the Immigration process and leaving the selection of suitable candidates to the provinces/territories, employers and educational institutions. You can argue for or against the Conservatives’ way of doing things, it doesn’t really matter. It is what it is and the bottom line is that Canada still plans to hand out about 250,000 permanent resident visas and a more or less equal number of work permits and study permits in the next 12 months.
What it does mean is that individuals who wish to come to Canada will no longer be able to do one-stop shopping for a visa at the federal government store. There are currently more than 60 different paths that lead to a permanent resident visa and finding the “right” one has become a lot more complicated.