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24 JUNE 2011: UPDATED MINISTERIAL INSTRUCTIONS

 Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has already published the new Ministerial Instructions to come into force on July 1, 2011.   These Instructions do not apply to refugees or protected persons or persons making a request on Humanitarian or Compassionate grounds from within Canada and to the following Economic Class applicants:

  • Quebec economic applicants;
  • Provincial Nominees;
  • Canadian Experience Class;
  • Other federal Business Immigrant applicants (self-employed); and
  • Live-in Caregivers.

All Federal Skilled Worker applications received by the Centralized Intake Office in Sydney, Nova Scotia prior to July 1, 2011 will continue to be considered for processing having regard to the Ministerial Instructions in place at the time of their receipt.  The new Ministerial Instructions have preserved the concept of an annual cap on the number of applications, but this time the quotas have been reduced to ½ compared to the previous 12 months.  A maximum of 10,000 new Federal Skilled Worker applications, without an offer of arranged employment, will be considered for processing each year from now on.

Within the 10,000 cap, a maximum of only 500 new Federal Skilled Worker applications per National Occupation Classification (NOC) code will be considered for processing each year.  In calculating the caps, applications will be considered in order of the date they are received. Applications received on the same date will be considered for processing having regard to routine office procedures.  The  cap year will begin on July 1, 2011 and end on June 30, 2012, unless otherwise indicated in a future Ministerial Instruction. Subsequent years will be calculated from July 1st to June 30th, unless otherwise indicated in a future Ministerial Instruction.

Federal Skilled Worker applications  received by the Centralized Intake Office in Sydney, Nova Scotia on or after July 1, 2011, and that meet either of the following criteria will be placed into processing:

1. Applications submitted with an Arranged Employment Offer (AEO).

or

2. Applications from skilled workers with evidence of experience in the last ten years under one or more of the following National Occupation Classification (NOC) codes, not exceeding the identified caps:

  • 0631 Restaurant and Food Service Managers
  • 0811 Primary Production Managers (Except Agriculture)
  • 1122 Professional Occupations in Business Services to Management
  • 1233 Insurance Adjusters and Claims Examiners
  • 2121 Biologists and Related Scientists
  • 2151 Architects
  • 3111 Specialist Physicians
  • 3112 General Practitioners and Family Physicians
  • 3113 Dentists
  • 3131 Pharmacists
  • 3142 Physiotherapists
  • 3152 Registered Nurses
  • 3215 Medical Radiation Technologists
  • 3222 Dental Hygienists & Dental Therapists
  • 3233 Licensed Practical Nurses
  • 4151 Psychologists
  • 4152 Social Workers
  • 6241 Chefs
  • 6242 Cooks
  • 7215 Contractors and Supervisors, Carpentry Trades
  • 7216 Contractors and Supervisors, Mechanic Trades
  • 7241 Electricians (Except Industrial & Power System)
  • 7242 Industrial Electricians
  • 7251 Plumbers
  • 7265 Welders & Related Machine Operators
  • 7312 Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanics
  • 7371 Crane Operators
  • 7372 Drillers & Blasters — Surface Mining, Quarrying & Construction
  • 8222 Supervisors, Oil and Gas Drilling and Service

Please note that the previous list has remained unchanged, but the cap per occupation is now 500 as opposed to the previous cap of 1000 applications.  Please also note that being “placed into processing” doesn’t mean being actually approved; the FSW applicants who can prove experience in one of the above occupations must still meet the selection criteria, reach the 67 points pass mark and show settlement funds tantamount to the CIC requirements.

The new Instructions have also introduced a 700 applications annual cap for Investor Class applications (starting from July 1, 2011) and a temporary moratorium  on Federal Entrepreneur Class applications: no new federal Entrepreneur application will be accepted unless it is received by the designated Citizenship and Immigration Canada office prior to July 1, 2011. This temporary moratorium will remain in place until otherwise indicated in a future Ministerial Instruction.

Let us finish with a brief warning: according to CIC sources, 80% of the applications returned by CIO Sydney over the last 12 months have not been received after the cap was reached, but were incomplete due to elementary mistakes blamed on applicants’ negligence, but also on their lack of information or understanding of the rules.  Professional assistance is the only solid guarantee of a complete and well prepared application.

 

A NEW MAJOR REFORM OF THE FEDERAL SELECTION SYSTEM FOR SKILLED WORKERS

In February 2011 Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has published on their website proposed changes to the current Federal Skilled Worker Programs. While CIC states that the current system is working well, these changes are designed to make improvements on the current structure.

Specifically, CIC is proposing changes to the selection system. These changes will not alter the selection criteria established in 2002 but would affect the number of points assigned to the criteria and the way they are assessed.

The following criteria are subject to change under these proposals:

Requiring a minimum level of language proficiency.  The current selection system only awards a maximum of 16 points (out of the 67-point pass mark) for high proficiency in the first official language. It is also possible for an applicant to be selected with little to no language proficiency if he or she scores well on other criteria.  CIC intends to increase the maximum points awarded for proficiency in the first official language from 16 to 20, and to establish minimum language requirements, depending on the immigrant’s occupational skill level. For example, doctors would have a different (much higher) requirement from carpenters.

Placing greater emphasis on younger workers.  The selection system currently awards the maximum of 10 points to applicants up to age 49. CIC will consult on the proposed changes to award a maximum of 12 points until age 35, with diminishing points awarded until age 49. No age points would be awarded after age 50.

Making the program more accessible to skilled tradespeople.  The proposal is to reduce the number of years of education required to claim points for a trade or other non-university credential. This change would help improve access for skilled tradespeople, technicians and apprentices who have valid post-secondary qualifications but not the required number of years of study.

Redirecting points from work experience to other factors. CIC is proposing to reduce the total number of points that could be awarded for work experience from 21 to 15. The proposed change would also increase the years of experience required to achieve full points under this criterion. This change would better reflect the relative value Canadian employers place on foreign work experience, and ensure that applicants have more experience to earn full points.

Reducing the potential for fraudulent job offers.  The proposed changes would establish clearer criteria for assessing the genuineness of a job offer as grounds for an “arranged employment” that would secure 15 points for the applicant; the proposal is to require employers to sign a document attesting to their intention to hire the immigrant and might even include restrictions for employers who don’t comply with this intention.

In-person consultation sessions will take place with key stakeholders in five cities across the country beginning February 17. These sessions are not open to the general public or the media. Other organizations or interested individuals who wish to provide input can submit their feedback online until March 17.  A summary of the results of this process will be published on the CICr website in spring/summer 2011.

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