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Immigration Changing: Provinces Need More Skilled Workers

November, 2012

Earlier this month, discussions were held between federal and provincial authorities regarding improvements to the country’s Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). These discussions have been part of a larger move away from the current PNP system to one that will more effectively bring immigrants to provinces in need of their specific knowledge and skills.

Many provinces want to increase their annual Provincial Nominee quotas, which are allocated by the Federal government, in order to address widespread labour shortages. Saskatchewan is lobbying to increase its annual quota from 4,000 to 6,000. Ontario wants to raise its quota from 1,000 to 5,000, while British Columbia wants to take in 6,500, up from 3,500 this year.

The PNP System Today

The PNP system was implemented to allow provinces greater authority in choosing the Permanent Residents who arrive and settle within their borders. While provinces nominate individuals for Permanent Residency, the Federal government remains responsible for issuing visas and screening nominees for health and security.

PNPs benefit provinces throughout the country, as they are able to target workers who are most likely to succeed in their labour markets. Most PNP categories place an emphasis on work or study experience in the province, as well as training or skills in an in-demand profession. They may also develop special categories to help bolster targeted industries. British Columbia, for instance, offers an immigration stream exclusively for long- and heavy-haul truck drivers, whereas Alberta recently created a pilot program targeting trades such as ironworking and carpentry.

Despite its success, restrictions to the current PNP system have resulted in some provinces struggling to fill quotas while satisfying Federal government regulations. New Federal rules have also been implemented that require many PNP applicants to show proficiency in one of Canada’s two official languages.

PNPs in Transition

Ontario is one example of the need for PNP reform. The province receives more Permanent Residents per year than any other in Canada. The vast majority of these arrive through the popular Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC), while only 1,000 are currently channeled through the Ontario PNP.

The FSWC has been undergoing a number of changes that are part of the government’s goal of creating a faster and more flexible immigration system. These new changes are promising for Canadian provinces, as they will better target immigrants who are well-placed to thrive in Canada’s economy. Unlike most PNP programs, a job offer is not needed to apply to the FSWC, and successful applicants may settle in any province of their choosing, except Quebec. While applications are not currently being accepted for the Skilled Worker category of the FSWC, changes to program regulations are expected to come into force in January 2013.

The FSWC will help attract immigrants with the education and experience needed to excel in Canada. However, provinces such as Ontario wish to complement this program with PNPs that can bring in immigrants whose profiles are particularly sought after in their province. During a recent meeting in Halifax, premiers from across the country urged the Federal government to allow their provinces greater flexibility in achieving their immigration goals.

“We want more space to be able to make our decisions about which immigrants will come to our provinces, where they will be settled and how many we’ll get,” said one premier.

The Federal government has been working with provinces to help them do so in a more efficient manner. One important proposed plan is the creation of an Expression of Interest (EOI) system. This system, which will be modeled on ones already in place in Australia and New Zealand, will create a pool of skilled applicants from which provinces may select candidates. Greater details regarding an EOI system and other changes to PNPs are forthcoming.

Options for Applicants Today

There are a number of options currently available for Permanent Residency applicants. Because every PNP is different, interested applicants may find themselves more suitable for some provinces than others. In addition, they may consider the FSWC and Quebec Skilled Worker programs as a path to Permanent Residency.

For the FSWC (opening in 2013), applicants must:

  • Have at least 1 year of full time work experience in the last 10 years;
  • Demonstrate at least an Adequate-Intermediate language proficiency in English or French (Canadian Language Benchmark: 7);
  • Obtain at least 67 points on the new point grid (based on language proficiency, age, work experience, education and adaptability etc.);
  • Have their foreign education credentials assessed, authenticated and given an equivalent value in Canada

For the Quebec Skilled Worker (currently open and accepting applications), applicants must:

“Individuals who are committed to settling in a specific province should pay close attention to any changes being made in upcoming months,” said Attorney David Cohen. “However, they should also be aware of other popular options, such as the FSWC and Quebec Skilled Worker programs. The Quebec Skilled Worker program is currently accepting applications for Permanent Residency, while proactive applicants are already preparing their files in anticipation of the FSWC opening soon.”

With provinces more than ever seeking to attract newcomers to their cities and towns, it appears that Canada has never been more welcoming.

To learn more about Provincial Nomination or one of Canada’s 60-plus immigration programs, please fill out a free online immigration assessment.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Eissa November 29, 2012 at 6:58 am

Would you please support us?

Briefly: we are the qualified skilled workers who are passing our life in queue of immigration progress. Each of us has its own history but what is important is that we cannot make a long-term plan for our life.

In below you can find the potation which has more than 1000 signature. We are trying to make contact with other channels as well.

Best regards

Mugabi Elvina November 29, 2012 at 7:19 am

how can i apply for one of those jobs?

Daisy Joy S. Guevara November 29, 2012 at 8:13 am

How can I obtain an arranged employment?

ARNOLD MULI November 29, 2012 at 8:47 am

Thanx for the great information. i hope to be in canada so soon

CHETANKUMAR VAGHELA November 29, 2012 at 9:50 am

Respected SIR,
How can i asess my education credentials equal to canadian education?
looking forward to hearing back from you.

momin November 29, 2012 at 10:47 am


roy lesmana November 29, 2012 at 11:21 am

Hi my name is roy, i want to know about how to get sponsorship frm the employer, fr working visa, thanks

Anonymous November 29, 2012 at 12:04 pm

How to apply for PNP?

Emmanuel Ekwang November 29, 2012 at 1:39 pm


Parviz Akbari November 29, 2012 at 3:11 pm

What is age limit for 2013 (on the new point grid)?

tsouknakis peter November 29, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I do hold FAA cpl ifr multiengine land I am up to take the cfi course and work there as a flight instructor I am hard working energetic and i love to be challenged The life in canada is good and i am looking forward to settling in Thank you

satomi November 29, 2012 at 5:23 pm

I wonder why Guest service agent at the hotel is Semi-skilled.

caroline wisdom November 29, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Please send me more update of the same.

james November 30, 2012 at 6:28 am

I would like to be clear about the IELTS Scores in FSW regarding the bench mark 7. They want all the scores in reading listening writing and speaking to be 7 score minimum, thank you.

sameh saleeb November 30, 2012 at 12:23 pm

please how can I get ( foreign education credentials assessed, authenticated and given an equivalent value in Canada) I had bachlor degree in pharmacy , my age 35 years ,maried,12 years work experience , pass ielts 6.5 points from 9 (speaking 7,reading and writing 6,listening 6.5 )

Eleonor Cayari November 30, 2012 at 9:50 pm

I have a sister in law living in Saskatchwewan for 31/2 years now. She nominated her brother (my brother in law) and he flew to Canada in May 2011 with his family (wife and a child). I have heard from them that I have to wait for my brother-in-law in to be stable in Canada first before i’ll be nominated. Is that correct? But then, I will be turning 50 years old in Feb27, next year. I will be too late for me. I dont have the chance to to be nominated because of my age. Please advise

saminathan December 5, 2012 at 6:29 am

Thank you for your great information. I belief, i can get a work permit in Canada.

Anil Bathija December 12, 2012 at 12:11 pm

How can I obtain an arranged employment?

Godlove Adjei Takyi January 3, 2013 at 12:13 am

how do i get my foreign educational credentials assessed, authenticated and given an equivalent value in Canada whiles am still in Ghana?

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