Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has explained its reasoning behind the recent reform of the required duration of qualifying job offers for candidates in the Express Entry pool. IRCC stated its aim to address perceived disadvantages in the system before improvements were brought in last month.
Under the previous Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) for Express Entry, a job offer was required to be of indeterminate length, except in the case of candidates eligible under the Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC), who could be awarded CRS points for a job offer of at least one year in duration. After the changes introduced by IRCC on November 19, the job offer duration requirement has changed from ‘indeterminate’ to ‘at least one year in duration’ for all programs, including the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC) and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
Since November 19, qualifying job offers are now awarded 200 CRS points if the offer is in the Senior Managerial group of the National Occupational Classification (NOC), or 50 CRS points if the offer is in any other skilled position (levels 0, A and B of the NOC).
Moreover, the definition of a qualifying job offer has been expanded to include certain individuals who would not have qualified for these points previously. Before November 19, a candidate was required to have a job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) if they wished to obtain points for a qualifying job offer.
Since November 19, certain candidates working in Canada may obtain points for a qualifying job offer if they have been working in Canada for the employer named on their work permit for at least one year, and if their current employer makes them an offer of employment of at least one year in duration.
To read more about the recent changes to qualifying job offers, please consult this comprehensive article.
Rationale behind job offer duration reforms
In the most recent Gazette, the Government of Canada’s official publication, IRCC explained the reasons behind these changes to the regulations.
IRCC stated that “employers could be reluctant to undergo the LMIA process, putting foreign nationals on a LMIA-exempt work permit at a disadvantage, despite many of them having potential to economically establish in Canada.”
In a presentation at the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Immigration Law Summit in November, an IRCC spokesperson gave the example of a senior executive with a job offer. If a senior executive comes to Canada to work as an intra-company transferee, he or she would not require a LMIA. However, if the senior executive wished to obtain CRS points for a job offer under the previous CRS, he or she would have to obtain a LMIA. In this situation, the employer may not wish to openly advertise such a high-level position that involves sensitive issues such as salary and leadership qualities. Under the new regulations, such an individual may be able to obtain 200 CRS points with a job offer of at least one year’s duration.
IRCC also explained why the job offer duration has been reduced from ‘indeterminate’ to one year in duration.
“The prior requirement that offers of arranged employment be for an indeterminate (or permanent) length of time had also resulted in barriers to certain foreign nationals who otherwise have similarly demonstrated a strong potential for economic establishment. The contemporary job market, and the reality of highly skilled contract-based employment has meant that permanent job offers are no longer the standard hiring practice in many industries and occupation. […] Highly skilled occupations, including university professors, physicians and graphic artists, were disproportionately affected by the requirement for indeterminate job offers.”
In the presentation at the Immigration Law Summit, the IRCC spokesperson gave the example of a tenure-track professor. Previously, an individual working in a full-time tenure track position under a temporary LMIA exemption was not likely to obtain a qualifying job offer as the position is a contract, rather than indeterminate. However, since the regulatory changes, such an individual may now be able to obtain CRS points for a qualifying job offer if the offer of employment is at least a year in duration.
While a job offer does not guarantee an Invitation to Apply (ITA) under the revised CRS, it does significantly increase the chances of being invited to apply.
Objectives of the change
IRCC states that its objective in establishing these new regulations is “to better align program requirements with program intent by ensuring job offer points are accessible to candidates who can demonstrate that they have an acceptable job offer.” In so doing, IRCC aims to better assess the likelihood of each candidate’s economic establishment in Canada, and limit those subjected to the LMIA process. It is expected that as a result, offers of arranged employment will better reflect the Canadian job market, and highly-skilled workers will have equal access to the advantages a job offer brings.
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