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Canadian Federal Skilled Worker immigration program under review

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On March 16, Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced that the government of Canada is reviewing current immigration procedures to ensure that they continue to meet Canada’s economic needs. The review is likely to result in a change in the Federal Skilled Worker program, namely a change in the 38 occupations that are currently ‘open’ under this program.

In 2008, new instructions for processing Federal Skilled Worker applications were issued by the Immigration Minister with two goals in mind: to speed up application processing times and to meet Canada’s immediate economic needs.

Under those instructions, an application is eligible for processing if the applicant:

  1. Has at least one year of continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience in the past 10 years in one of 38 qualifying occupations, which were been identified as the most in-demand occupations in Canada at the time; or
  2. Has been living in Canada with legal status as a Temporary Foreign Worker or an international student for at least one year; or
  3. Qualifies for Arranged Employment with a full-time permanent job offer from a Canadian employer.

According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the instructions have reduced the backlog of Federal Skilled Worker applications that were in process by almost 40 per cent.

Presently, Kenney is consulting with federal and provincial government bodies to determine whether those 38 occupations are still highly in demand and whether new occupations need to be added to the list.

“The first set of instructions has had a significant impact, but our research shows it is time to revise them to make sure they continue to meet their goals,” he said.

The consultation period is expected to last until April 16, and any changes to the program will be introduced after that date. While there is no current timetable for that announcement, and will report on any changes to the program as soon as they are revealed.