The following has been prepared for the benefit of those who may be affected by the amendments to the Regulations affecting skilled workers which have been tabled on March 15, 1997, and for those responsible for the implementation of such.
Readers may be aware that the Department of Citizenship and Immigration has proposed changes to Schedule I of the Regulations and that these modifications are to become effective on May 1, 1997.
Schedule I sets out the criteria upon which those who apply for admission to Canada as independent immigrants are assessed, and the basis upon which visa officers award points to applicants for the purpose of determining whether the applicant meets the federal standard of 70 points.
According to the Department the modifications are necessary in order to change its occupational classification system from the antiquated Canadian Classification and Dictionary of Occupations (CCDO) to the more current National Occupational Classification (NOC).
In the words of the Department “this amendment to the Regulations is primarily technical in nature. It does not reflect a substantive change to the Regulations.” “The change from CCDO to NOC… (will have) little impact on those persons applying for admission to Canada as independent immigrants.” The Department does go on to say that “there could be a small number … of individual applicants who will find that they cannot be considered for entry under the occupation for which they had hoped to be considered.”
Respectfully, I must strongly disagree with the Department’s assessment of the likely impact of the proposed changes. The intention may well be technical in nature but the practical application of utilizing the NOC in place of the CCDO will have a significant negative effect on a large number of applicants.
Every applicant must indicate his or her intended occupation in Canada. There are currently approximately 1200 occupations listed by the Department for which there is some demand and for which points are awarded. This is referred to as the Occupational Demand Factor.
I have not as yet had the opportunity to compare how an applicant in each one of these 1200 occupations would fare when assessed under the current Regulations as compared to the proposed Regulations. However, even my preliminary review allows me to state unequivocally that many applicants will be prejudiced substantively under the proposed Regulations.
For example, assessing an applicant with four years of experience as a systems analyst under the current Regulations will yield five more points than assessing the same individual with the same qualifications under the proposed Regulations. Five points often make the difference in accepting or rejecting an applicant.
In my systems analyst example the loss of five points is due to the fact that under the present occupations classification system the applicant would have been awarded 18 points for the factor referred to as Specific Vocational Training and 8 points for the factor referred to as Experience; whereas under the proposed Regulations this same individual will be awarded 15 points for the factor to be referred to as Education/Training Indicator (ETI) and 6 points for the Experience factor.
Examples of other intended occupations which will also carry lower points for ETI and Experience may be summarized as follows . For each example I have assumed that the applicant has 4 years of experience in the intended occupation.
Intended Occupations: Loss of Points under the Proposed Regulations
* Literary writers … -23
* Dressmakers, & Tailors – made to measure garments … -22
* Die Setters (forging) … -17
* Photographers … -17
* Head Chefs, saucier or pastry … -15
* Patternmakers, wood … -15
* Heavy Duty Equipment Mechanics … -15
* Scenery Artists … -14
* Moulders, bench – (Machine mouldmakers) … -13
* Safety Inspectors … -10
* Millwrights … -10
* Administrative Officers … -10
* Executive Secretaries … -10
* Chefs-Cooks, general … -10
* Boilermakers … -10
* Boiler Operators … -10
* Video & Sound Recorders … -10
* Secretaries … -6
* Bookkeepers … -6
* Sales Representative – food products … -6
* Accountants … -5
* Producers/Directors- Motion Pictures … -5
* Fashion Designers – (Fur, Shoe, Clothing) … -5
* Actuaries … -5
* Architects … -5
* Urban Planners … -5
* Technical Salesmen Electronic –
* Data Processing … -5
* Electrical Wiring Inspectors … -5
* Biologists … -1
* Landscape Architects … -1
* Engineers … -1
* Economists … -1
* Physiotherapists … -1
* Investment Analysts … -1
* Meteorologists … -1
* Chemists … -1
* Geologists … -1
* Pharmacists … -1
A review of the foregoing examples clearly indicates, to this writer at least, that the proposed modifications will be more than technical in nature and will in fact have significant impact on persons applying for admission to Canada.
While it might be argued that the current occupational classification systems (CCDO) is out-moded in certain respects, it does not follow that switching to a more current systems (NOC), without appropriate adjustments in the overall point system, can take place without seriously prejudicing many applicants.
For all its antiquity the CCDO and its accompanying Specific Vocational Preparation Factor did recognize the value of highly skilled but less formally educated individuals. The NOC with it’s Educational/Training Indicator simply does not. Unless this is taken into account in the proposed Regulations, the overall make-up of accepted applicants will change. This can hardly be referred to as only a technical modification.
If it is the intention of the Department that the new Regulations have little impact on those persons applying for admission to Canada then a way should be found to compensate those applicants who will suffer as a result of changing the occupational classification system so that these individuals will not lose overall points. One such way could entail increasing the points for the Occupational Demand Factor in those occupations which will be negatively affected under the new system. However, this is not as easy as it sounds, for to do so would be a fiction and not based on labour market information. In any event, from conversations with the Department, it is my understanding that the General Occupations List at this time will only be modified as it needs to be to allow assessment under the new Regulations. Changes to the Occupational Demand factor will have to wait until a later date.
It is my opinion that the proposed Regulations will have a far-reaching effect and to be fair their implementation should be delayed until at least such time as a detailed analysis can be made.
There are other issues of importance which readers will want to know about the proposed Regulations. The current Regulations require an immigration officer to assess an applicant under the CCDO. In the future an immigration officer will be obliged to assess an applicant according to the NOC including the Career Handbook and all other component publications published by the Minister of Human Resources Development. The proposed changes afford an immigration officer a much more extensive array of material in assessing an applicant’s qualifications. For example each occupation described in the Career Handbook contains a “verbal ability” component. Does this mean that an applicant will have to satisfy this part of the occupation profile summary even though language abilities are assessed separately under a completely different factor? If so, then pity the applicant who indicates that his or her intended occupation in Canada is that of a Biologist for he or she will have to demonstrate verbal ability that ranks in the highest 10% of the Canadian labour force. Will the lack of this ability be a valid reason to refuse the applicant even when 70 total points are awarded? Would this not be considered as “double counting” in the area of language?
In summary, it can be said that the proposed Regulations raise important questions and issues which at this point remain unanswered and unresolved . It does not appear that the new Regulations will be applied retroactively. In short, the best advice that I can give readers is to ensure that your applications are received at the appropriated Canadian Immigration Processing posts before the end of April 1997 so that you can at least claim the benefit of being assessed under the current Regulations, should they be more favourable to your chances of success.