New Federal Skilled Worker Program to accept applications beginning May 4, 2013 Ottawa, December 19, 2012 — The new selection system for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) will take effect on May 4, 2013 at which time the program will re-open for applications, Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today. “The government’s number one priority remains jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity,” said Minister Kenney. “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 improvements to the FSWP points grid are based on a large body of research which has consistently shown that language proficiency and youth are two of the most important factors in the economic success of immigrants. The final changes to the FSWP selection criteria include: Minimum official language thresholds and increased points for official language proficiency, making language the most important factor in the selection process; Increased emphasis on younger immigrants, who are more likely to acquire valuable Canadian experience, are better positioned to adapt to changing labour market conditions, and who will spend a greater number of years contributing to Canada’s economy; Introduction of the Educational Credential Assessment (ECA), so that education points awarded reflect the foreign credential’s true value in Canada; Changes to the arranged employment process, allowing employers to hire applicants quickly, if there is a demonstrated need in the Canadian labour market; and Additional adaptability points for spousal language ability and Canadian work experience. “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 Minister Kenney. “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.” There are two new steps to the new selection system. First, 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. Second, 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. It is important to note that 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. As recently announced, due to the actions taken over the past months, new applications under the FSWP will be processed in a few months, rather than a few years. In order to ensure fast processing times and to avoid backlogs, the new FSWP will accept a fixed number of applications each year. In the medium term, the Government is also moving forward to develop and implement an Expression of Interest (EOI) model, which will provide employers with access to a pool of skilled workers.