With the goal of processing new Federal Skilled Worker applications within six to 12 months, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Canada (CIMC) has implemented new submission procedures to make the process more efficient.

Back in September 2008, the former Minister of Immigration Diane Finley announced a pilot project to consolidate the receipt of Federal Skilled Worker applications at the Centralized Intake Office (CIO) in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

“This pilot is one of several measures we are taking to help reduce wait times overall. By centralizing the intake of federal skilled worker applications, we are alleviating some of the workload in our overseas visa offices,” stated Minister Finley.

As of this month, the new Federal Skilled Worker submission procedures are in effect. The visa office to which an application should be sent depends on which of the three new Federal Skilled Worker qualifying criteria the applicant falls under.

  • Applicants with Arranged Employment are to submit their applications directly to the Canadian immigration visa office responsible for their country of nationality or residence (if the applicant has been legally residing in that country for at least one year).
  • Applications made by Temporary Foreign Workers or International Students currently residing in Canada, who have been legally residing Canada for at least one year, are to be submitted to the Canadian immigration visa office in Buffalo, New York, or the visa office serving the applicant's country of nationality.
  • All other Federal Skilled Worker applications, which meet the new ministerial work experience requirements, are to be submitted to the CIO in Sydney, Nova Scotia. These applicants will submit a new set of forms, along with certain basic documents and fees to the CIO. Qualified applicants will then be forwarded to the appropriate Canadian immigration visa offices abroad. At that time, the CIO will notify qualified applicants that they must submit their complete application to the visa office abroad within a 120 day period.

Those who do not qualify based on the CIO review of work experience qualifications will have their applications returned (not refused) and their processing fees refunded.

These new parameters do not affect the processing methods of other categories of Canadian immigration.

The recently tabled Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration notes that "the challenge lies in balancing competing demands to process applications properly and in an efficient and timely manner, and to sustain high levels of client satisfaction."

"Funding from Budget 2008 will help the Department boost overall capacity to process more applications, enabling it to meet annual target levels, reduce the current backlog, and manage the inventory today and into the future."

Other efforts to reduce wait times include; sending more staff to overseas visa offices where wait times are the longest and redistributing work from these offices to others that are less busy. CIC will also be reconfirming the immigration intentions of applicants who have been waiting the longest.