Canadian Immigration Programs: a Key to Newcomer Integration

CIC News
Published: December 11, 2012

A recent study has revealed that Canada ranks third in the world, and first of all English-speaking nations, for integrating immigrants into its society and economy. With recent changes made to a number of key immigration programs, the country has taken steps to ensure that future newcomers are better prepared than ever before to settle into their new home.

The study, known as the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX), was based on data collected in 2010 by the British Council and the Migration Policy Group to study the immigrant integration policies of 31 countries. According to the data, Canada ranks highly in key indicators such as commitment to anti-discrimination and equality, labour market mobility, and diversity of education. The MIPEX also praises the Canadian government for consistently maintaining “one of the best policies to attract permanent migrant workers and their families” and for developing a citizenship test and guide that is the “most professional of all countries.”

Recent changes made by the Federal government with regard to issues such as the recognition of foreign credentials and the reformation of immigration policy were credited with helping Canada rise to its current rank. Because immigration criteria has been modified to better target immigrations who are likely to succeed in Canada, new Canadian Permanent Residents are in a better position than ever to make a smooth transition to living and working in the country. A few of these programs have been outlined below.

The Federal Skilled Worker Class

The MIPEX looked positively on the new regulations to the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC). The new requirements, as well as their benefits for immigrant integration, are as follows:

  1. Applicants must have their foreign credentials assessed, authenticated, and given an equivalent value in Canada
    • Benefit: New arrivals in Canada will be able to find work faster, as Canadian employers will be able to understand their educational background in a Canadian context
  2. Applicants must demonstrate at least an Adequate-Intermediate language proficiency in English or French (Canadian Language Benchmark: 7)
    • Benefit: Internal studies conducted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) have determined that language skills are key to new arrivals finding suitable employment and settling well in their new communities. New immigrants will arrive with the language skills needed to achieve both these goals.
  3. Applicants must achieve 67 points on the new point grid (based on language proficiency, age, work experience, education and adaptability, etc)
    • Benefit: The points grid has been modified to place a renewed emphasis on young, educated immigrants with the skills and professional background that is currently in demand throughout the country
  4. Applicants must have at least 1 year of full time work experience in the last 10 years
    • Benefit: In addition to education, new arrivals with professional experience will be highly valued in the Canadian labour market.

The new regulations mentioned above are expected to come into force in January 2013. At present, the program is not accepting applications in the Skilled Worker category, although individuals may continue to apply to the PhD and Arranged Employment streams of the FSWC. In order to ensure their applications are received in a timely manner, some potential applicants have already begun preparing their files in advance.

The Federal Skilled Trades Class

The Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC) was recently created by the Federal government to help bring in workers with trades skills the country acutely needs. This new program will be opening its doors to applicants on January 2nd, 2013. Its requirements and benefits for immigrant integration are as follows:

  1. Applicants must have at least 24 months of work experience in the last 5 years
    • Benefit: Immigrants who come to Canada under the FSTC will have the skills necessary to quickly find a job and adjust to the Canadian work environment.
  2. Applicants must have at least Low (Initial) – Intermediate language proficiency in reading, speaking, writing, and listening (Canadian Language Benchmark 5)
    • Benefit: Proficiency in one of Canada’s two official languages is key to finding a suitable job in Canada. The proficiency requirement for this program is lower than that of the FSWC, as Canadian employers are more likely to place an emphasis on trade skills rather than language skills.
  3. Applicants must have EITHER a qualifying offer of employment from a Canadian employer OR a Certificate of Qualification from a provincial or territorial apprenticeship authority
    • Benefit: Successful applicants will enter Canada with a job already lined up, or with the certification needed to find a job quickly upon arrival.

The Canadian Experience Class

In addition to the above changes to the FSWC, CIC has announced modifications to the popular Canadian Experience Class (CEC). This category covers temporary foreign workers and foreign students who graduated from a qualifying Canadian higher education program.

Previously, CEC applicants were required to demonstrate 24 months of skilled work experience in Canada before applying to the program. This requirement has been reduced to 12 months, effective January 2nd, 2013. The change will allow individuals, who have already demonstrated their ability to thrive in Canada, to speed up their transition to Canadian Permanent Residency. As with the FSWC, CEC applicants need to prove their proficiency in English or French.

A Bright Future in Canada

Canada’s high rank in the MIPEX study has affirmed what people in the country already know: that Canada makes an effort not only to bring in immigrants from around the world, but also to help them become established upon arrival.

Through its ever-expanding store of opportunities, tolerant multicultural society, and progressive immigration policies, Canada is expected to remain an attractive home away from home for newcomers seeking to make a new life on its shores.

To find out if you are eligible for one of over 60 Canadian immigration programs, please fill out a free online assessment.

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