SOON: COMING INTO FORCE OF EXPRESS ENTRY

HOT NEWS:

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has announced on December 1, 2014 that new Ministerial Instructions Respecting the Express Entry System are to come into force on January 1, 2015.

According to these instructions, the determination as to whether a foreign national who is included in the express entry pool of candidates occupies the rank required in order to be issued an invitation to apply (ITA) will be made using the total number of points assigned to  him/her based on the information provided in their “expression of interest” and using the Comprehensive Ranking System that consists of the following components:

(a) core human capital factors;

(b) accompanying spouse or common-law partner factors;

(c) skill transferability factors; and

(d) factors relating to a provincial nomination or a qualifying offer of arranged employment.

The core human capital factors are the following:

(1) age;

(2) level of education;

(3) official language proficiency; and

(4) Canadian work experience.

The skill transferability factors are the following:

(1) level of education (again);

(2) foreign work experience; and

(3) Canadian certificate of qualification in a trade occupation.

The total number of points that may be assigned under the Comprehensive Ranking System is 1200 points, allocated as follows:

(a) for a foreign national who has no accompanying spouse or common-law partner

(i) a maximum of 500 points for the core human capital factors,

(ii) a maximum of 100 points for skill transferability factors, and

(iii) a maximum of 600 points for either a provincial nomination or a qualifying offer of arranged employment; and

(b) for a foreign national who has an accompanying spouse or common-law partner

(i) a maximum of 460 points for the core human capital factors,

(ii) a maximum of 40 points for accompanying spouse or common-law partner factors,

(iii) a maximum of 100 points for skill transferability factors, and

(iv) a maximum of 600 points for either a provincial nomination or a qualifying offer of arranged employment.

Candidates who do not benefit of  such a job offer must register with the Job Bank of the Department of Employment and Social Development not later than 30 days after the day on which they submit their expression of interest, which can only be made using the Internet.  If a foreign national is unable to submit an expression of interest by means of the electronic system because of a physical or mental disability, it may be submitted by another means made available by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration for that purpose that would enable the foreign national to submit the expression of interest, including a paper form.

The allocation of points is designed in such a way as to allow for combinations between various core human capital factors and skill transferability factors.  Thus, the Ministerial Instructions indicate the number of points a candidate deserves for a combination of level of education (skill transferability factors) and official language proficiency (core human capital factor), then for a combination of level of education and Canadian work experience, for a combination of foreign work experience and official language proficiency, for a combination of Canadian work experience and foreign work experience, and so on.

It deserves to be noted that the new Ministerial Instructions no longer require a minimum mandatory level of language skills.  As regards the number of points necessary for a candidate to be issued an Invitation to Apply, it apparently will fluctuate from a draw to another based on criteria to be established by CIC depending on the demand of the Canadian labour market and the number of candidates available in the pool.  So, the sooner you enter the pool, the higher your chances to get an ITA.

Share

FOR A BETTER WAY OF PROVIDING SERVICE: A TIMELY AND PROFESSIONAL PREPARATION OF YOUR “EXPRESS ENTRY” PROFILE

FOR A BETTER WAY OF PROVIDING SERVICE: A TIMELY AND PROFESSIONAL PREPARATION OF YOUR “EXPRESS ENTRY” PROFILE

January 1, 2015 is rapidly approaching and, with it, the coming into force of a completely different way of processing applications under four of the current selection programs for economic immigrants: FSW (Federal Skilled Workers), FST (Federal Skilled Trades), CEC (Canadian Experience Class) and PNP (Provincial Nominee Programs). What follows concerns in particular the FSW program, still the most popular among the candidates, but contains the general principles for the whole selection process that will change the face of the Canadian immigration for years to come.

The main elements of the new system can be found directly in the CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) website by clicking here. We present you below with  some hot news shared by CIC representatives present at the CAPIC National Conference on 7 and 8 November 2014.

1) Starting with January 1, 2015 any candidate will be able to enter his/her personal information in a CIC database from which a so-called “Express Entry Profile” will be created for them. With this operation one has not achieved anything yet. It follows a waiting period  at the end of which he/she will receive or not  an invitation to submit the application itself (ITA: Invitation to Apply), depending on:
a) How skillful the candidate was to enter information into the database so as to arouse the interest of CIC;  of tremendous importance will be the optimal choice of the intended occupation and of the destination in Canada (in tune with the dynamics of the local labor market).
b) How many are her/his competitors at the time when  CIC proceeds to the selection, because there will be annual quotas of cases to be accepted and specific quotas for each draw (see below).
c) Whether or not the candidate benefits  of a job offer validated  by  ESDC (Employment and Social Development Canada); CIC is however aware that only a small fraction of the candidates will be able to secure such offers, so the selection will be mainly operated based on conditions “a”  and “b” above. Nonetheless, candidates are encouraged to register with Job Bank, the official site of ESDC  in the hope that they will stirr the interest of a potential employer.
2) Before issuing an ITA, CIC will conduct a preliminary selection of those enrolled, after which it  will create a “pool”  of potential candidates that will include those who, based on their own statements, appear to meet the requirements of age, education, professional experience and languages skills to be announced. In order to be become a member of the “pool”, a candidate must also prove that he/she has already satisfied two important conditions: it has successfully passed a language test and has obtained an educational credential assessment  (ECA) from a Canadian institution accredited by the CIC. So, before having the slightest idea about what will happen next, the candidate is expected to incur considerable expenses solely in order to participate in pre-selection.
3) Having established the “pool” (that is periodically refreshed based on new entries in the database and updates made by those already in), CIC will proceed to periodic “draws”   (following criteria not disclosed to the public) that nominate those who are retained for further processing. This is not a lottery such as in USA; only those candidates are retained who have been placed at the top of the pyramid, i.e. those whom CIC considers to be most likely to quickly integrate into the labor market and, in general, to establish themselves successfully in Canada. Although the order of entry in the database does not matter (this is actually the most spectacular innovation of the new system: it has abandoned the principle of “first come, first served”), it is obvious that the fewer the number of those enrolled prior to the draw, the greater the chances of being closer to the top.
4) Those selected at each drawing receive invitations to submit the application (ITA) and have a maximum of 60 days at their disposal to do so. If they fail, they are eliminated. Once the application has been filed  (provided it is complete, otherwise the candidate is  eliminated too), CIC promises that immigrant visas will be issued within six months.
5) Those who have not received an ITA within one year will be deleted from the database, but are free to try again next year, and so on …

It therefore follows that any error or omission (hard to avoid given of the complexity of the new system) may, in each of the above steps, be conducive to failure, with the prospect at all attractive for an (obstinate) candidate of  returning each year with the hope that this time it is going to end well. The alternative is clear: seek professional assistance; hire an authorized representative. Before you make up your mind, consider the fundamental mutation that the new procedures have brought into the way the selection operates. Indeed, until now the major candidates’ concern was to make sure that they meet the selection criteria (known to all), that they get the points needed in order to reach the pass-mark, and that their occupation is on the list posted by CIC.  From 1 January 2015 there will be NO list of occupations (the only condition: the occupation must belong to one of the first three levels of NOC-National Occupational Classification), but meeting the selection criteria will not provide any guarantee that the person concerned will receive the actual invitation to submit the application (ITA). The real challenge consists in eliminating the competition and ensuring a position as  near as possible to the top of the pyramid! This, until the moment the candidate receives the ITA; then, he or she must make sure that the actual application is filed within the sixty-day deadline and that it contains no discrepancies whatsoever when assessed against the  candidate’s “Express Entry Profile” created at the very beginning of the process.  Such discrepancies, even minor, will result in thwarting all the efforts made by the candidate until that moment.

Share

APPLYING UNDER THE FEDERAL SKILLED TRADES PROGRAM

APPLYING UNDER THE FEDERAL SKILLED TRADES PROGRAM

The Federal Skilled Trades Program is for people who want to become permanent residents based on being qualified in a skilled trade.

To be eligible, a candidate must:

  • plan to live outside the province of Quebec (the province of Quebec chooses its own skilled workers)
  • meet the required levels in English or French for each language ability (speaking, reading, writing, and listening),
  • have at least two years of full-time work experience (or an equal amount of part-time work experience) in a skilled trade within the five years before he/she applies,
  • meet all job requirements for that skilled trade as set out in the National Occupational Classification (NOC), and
  • have an offer of full-time employment for a total period of at least one year or a certificate of qualification in that skilled trade issued by a provincial or territorial body.

To avoid backlogs and ensure fast processing times, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will accept no more than 5,000 complete federal skilled trade applications for processing as of May 1, 2014. These are the last applications CIC will accept under the current system before Express Entry launches in January 2015.

Within the 5,000 cap, no more than 100 new applications for each job will be considered for processing.

In total, 90 jobs will be eligible to apply under the Federal Skilled Trades program this year. The specific codes from the 2011 version of the NOC are provided below as the applicants must include these in their application forms.

The caps apply whether or not people have a qualifying offer of employment or a certificate of qualification from a provincial or territorial apprenticeship authority.

Applications will be processed in the order CIC receives them.

  • 6321 Chefs
  • 6322 Cooks
  • 6331 Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers – retail and wholesale
  • 6332 Bakers
  • 7201 Contractors and supervisors, machining, metal forming, shaping and erecting trades and related occupations
  • 7202 Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications occupations
  • 7203 Contractors and supervisors, pipefitting trades
  • 7204 Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades
  • 7205 Contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers
  • 7231 Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors
  • 7232 Tool and die makers
  • 7233 Sheet metal workers
  • 7234 Boilermakers
  • 7235 Structural metal and plate work fabricators and fitters
  • 7236 Ironworkers
  • 7237 Welders and related machine operators
  • 7241 Electricians (except industrial and power system)
  • 7242 Industrial electricians
  • 7243 Power system electricians
  • 7244 Electrical power line and cable workers
  • 7245 Telecommunications line and cable workers
  • 7246 Telecommunications installation and repair workers
  • 7247 Cable television service and maintenance technicians
  • 7251 Plumbers
  • 7252 Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers
  • 7253 Gas fitters
  • 7271 Carpenters
  • 7272 Cabinetmakers
  • 7281 Bricklayers
  • 7282 Concrete finishers
  • 7283 Tilesetters
  • 7284 Plasterers, drywall installers and finishers and lathers
  • 7291 Roofers and shinglers
  • 7292 Glaziers
  • 7293 Insulators
  • 7294 Painters and decorators (except interior decorators)
  • 7295 Floor covering installers
  • 7301 Contractors and supervisors, mechanic trades
  • 7302 Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews
  • 7303 Supervisors, printing and related occupations
  • 7304 Supervisors, railway transport operations
  • 7305 Supervisors, motor transport and other ground transit operators
  • 7311 Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics
  • 7312 Heavy-duty equipment mechanics
  • 7313 Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics
  • 7314 Railway carmen/women
  • 7315 Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors
  • 7316 Machine fitters
  • 7318 Elevator constructors and mechanics
  • 7321 Automotive service technicians, truck and bus mechanics and mechanical repairers
  • 7322 Motor vehicle body repairers
  • 7331 Oil and solid fuel heating mechanics
  • 7332 Appliance servicers and repairers
  • 7333 Electrical mechanics
  • 7334 Motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle and other related mechanics
  • 7335 Other small engine and small equipment repairers
  • 7361 Railway and yard locomotive engineers
  • 7362 Railway conductors and brakemen/women
  • 7371 Crane operators
  • 7372 Drillers and blasters – surface, mining, quarrying and construction
  • 7373 Water well drillers
  • 7381 Printing press operators
  • 7384 Other trades and related occupations, n.e.c.
  • 8211 Supervisors, logging and forestry
  • 8221 Supervisors, mining and quarrying
  • 8222 Contractors and supervisors, oil and gas drilling services
  • 8231 Underground production and development miners
  • 8232 Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers
  • 8241 Logging machinery operators
  • 8252 Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • 8255 Contractors and supervisors, landscaping, grounds maintenance and horticulture services
  • 8261 Fishing masters and officers
  • 8262 Fishermen/women
  • 9211 Supervisors, mineral and metal processing
  • 9212 Supervisors, petroleum, gas and chemical processing and utilities
  • 9213 Supervisors, food, beverage and associated products processing
  • 9214 Supervisors, plastic and rubber products manufacturing
  • 9215 Supervisors, forest products processing
  • 9217 Supervisors, textile, fabric, fur and leather products processing and manufacturing
  • 9221 Supervisors, motor vehicle assembling
  • 9222 Supervisors, electronics manufacturing
  • 9223 Supervisors, electrical products manufacturing
  • 9224 Supervisors, furniture and fixtures manufacturing
  • 9226 Supervisors, other mechanical and metal products manufacturing
  • 9227 Supervisors, other products manufacturing and assembly
  • 9231 Central control and process operators, mineral and metal processing
  • 9232 Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators
  • 9235 Pulping, papermaking and coating control operators
  • 9241 Power engineers and power systems operators
  • 9243 Water and waste treatment plant operators
Share

NEW CAPS FOR FEDERAL SKILLED WORKER AND FEDERAL SKILLED TRADES PROGRAMS, AND CANADIAN EXPERIENCE CLASS

 NEW CAPS FOR FEDERAL SKILLED WORKER AND FEDERAL SKILLED TRADES PROGRAMS, AND CANADIAN EXPERIENCE CLASS

On Wednesday, April 23, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced new occupations and caps for the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Program . Additional important information has been announced for the Federal Skilled Trades (FST) Program and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) Program. This is the last chance for candidates to file applications under the said programs. They will be all replaced as of January 1, 2015 by the new “Express Entry” program.

The new changes go into effect for all three programs on May 1, 2014 and will only operate for the next eight months.

Federal Skilled Worker

Effective May 1, 2014, the FSW will be accepting an overall total of 25,000 new applications. Applicants must have at least one year of work experience in one of the 50 eligible occupations occupations. A maximum of 1,000 applications will be accepted per eligible occupation. The FSW program is more open to applicants than it has been in the past few years. The cap has increased more than five times over, from just 5,000 last year; the number of eligible occupations has more than doubled, from just 24 last year to 50 as of May 1. This means that skilled workers who were not eligible for the program in previous years because of their professional experience may now be eligible to apply. Also, most of the candidates who were eligible under the old list but failed to file their applications prior to the cap being reached, are now in a position to re-apply immediately after May 1, 2014.

The eligible occupations are as follows:

  1. Senior managers – financial, communications and other business services (NOC 0013)
  2. Senior managers – trade, broadcasting and other services, n.e.c. (0015)
  3. Financial managers (0111)
  4. Human resources managers (0112)
  5. Purchasing managers (0113)
  6. Insurance, real estate and financial brokerage managers (0121)
  7. Managers in health care (0311)
  8. Construction managers (0711)
  9. Home building and renovation managers (0712)
  10. Managers in natural resources production and fishing (0811)
  11. Manufacturing managers (0911)
  12. Financial auditors and accountants (1111)
  13. Financial and investment analysts (1112)
  14. Securities agents, investment dealers and brokers (1113)
  15. Other financial officers (1114)
  16. Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations (1123)
  17. Supervisors, finance and insurance office workers (1212)
  18. Property administrators (1224)
  19. Geoscientists and oceanographers (2113)
  20. Civil engineers (2131)
  21. Mechanical engineers (2132)
  22. Electrical and electronics engineers (2133)
  23. Petroleum engineers (2145)
  24. Information systems analysts and consultants (2171)
  25. Database analysts and data administrators (2172)
  26. Software engineers and designers (2173)
  27. Computer programmers and interactive media developers (2174)
  28. Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians (2232)
  29. Construction estimators (2234)
  30. Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians (2241)
  31. Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics (2243)
  32. Inspectors in public and environmental health and occupational health and safety (2263)
  33. Computer network technicians (2281)
  34. Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors (3011)
  35. Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (3012)
  36. Specialist physicians (3111)
  37. General practitioners and family physicians (3112)
  38. Dietitians and nutritionists (3132)
  39. Audiologists and speech-language pathologists (3141)
  40. Physiotherapists (3142)
  41. Occupational therapists (3143)
  42. Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists (3214)
  43. Medical radiation technologists (3215)
  44. Medical sonographers (3216)
  45. Licensed practical nurses (3233)
  46. Paramedical occupations (3234)
  47. University professors and lecturers (4011)
  48. Psychologists (4151)
  49. Early childhood educators and assistants (4214)
  50. Translators, terminologists and interpreters (5125)

Applicants under the FSW program will be assessed according to the same criteria as in 2013. Applicants are assessed on a grid that takes into account factors such as education, language skills, work experience, age, and adaptability to Canada. All applicants must meet minimum language requirements in either English or French (i.e. CLB level 7); failing to do so, the respective candidate is not eligible, no matter how many points he/she deserves for the remaining factors.

In addition to skilled workers, the FSW program includes streams for PhD holders and individuals who have received eligible job offers from Canadian employers. A maximum of 500 PhD applicants will be accepted under the upcoming program. Applicants who hold valid job offers are not subject to any intake caps.

Federal Skilled Trades

The FST program is for applicants with experience in a skilled trade. As of May 1, the FST program will be accepting a maximum of 5,000 applications for review. All NOC B level trades (a total of 90 different occupations ) will be eligible for this program.

A maximum of 100 applications will be accepted under any single occupation. The 90 eligible occupations fall into the following general categories:

  • Major Group 72: Industrial, electrical and construction trades;
  • Major Group 73: Maintenance and equipment operation trades;
  • Major Group 82: Supervisors and technical occupations in national resources, agriculture and related production;
  • Major Group 92: Processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators;
  • Minor Group 632: chefs and cooks;
  • Minor Group 633: butchers and bakers

Canadian Experience Class

The CEC program was created for individuals who have already gained skilled work experience in Canada. As of May 1, the program will accept a maximum of 8,000 new applications. Any skilled occupation is eligible, however for NOC B level occupations a maximum of 100 applications will be accepted per occupation.

The following six occupations are still not eligible to apply under the CEC:

  • Administrative officers (NOC 1221)
  • Administrative assistants (1241)
  • Accounting technicians/bookkeepers (1311)
  • Cooks (6322)
  • Food service supervisors (6311)
  • Retail sales supervisors (6211)

The new Ministerial Instructions will also re-confirm the existing pause of applications to the federal Immigrant Investor and Entrepreneur Programs.

Share

Unauthorized Immigration consultants and their impact on the integrity of the Immigration System

Unauthorized Immigration consultants and their impact on the integrity of the Immigration System

 March is Fraud Prevention Month and this year Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has partnered with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada (FLSC) to promote awareness of authorized immigration representatives and what services they can provide.

Unscrupulous and unauthorized representatives weaken Canada’s immigration system, cost taxpayers money, and slow down the processing of valid applications. Under Canadian law, only authorized immigration representatives can charge a fee to help someone apply for a visa to come to Canada. If a newcomer uses an unauthorized representative, their application may be refused and they could risk becoming victims of fraud.

Such behavior is also very damaging to the profession of regulated immigration consultants on multiple levels. On one level, unauthorized consultants, also known as ‘ghosts,’ are breaching the criminal code by practicing without a license. Despite the fact that they do not possess the necessary training, they provide services for a fee to individuals that seek advice on their immigration applications.   This in turn, affects the image of immigration consultants overall. When individuals encounter unqualified consultants that charge a fee for their services without being able to provide the adequate services, their opinion of all consultants alike, will be inadvertently affected by their personal experience. But most important of all, is the trust that is destroyed by such cases, trust that is lost from the immigration consultants’ profession, and that could be prevented from happening by impeding such cases from occurring.

This is why we encourage members of the public to report such individuals to CBSA or to file a complaint with ICCRC.

The Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants (CAPIC), an organization comprising the most active and best prepared authorized practitioners, has also joined the Government of Canada and the ICCRC in warning the public about the destructive effects the use of unauthorized representatives has on both the fate of the applicants and the integrity of the Canadian immigration system.

Share

NEW REGULATIONS FOR SPONSORS OF PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS

NEW REGULATIONS FOR SPONSORS OF PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS

Amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), primarily pertaining to the sponsorship of parents and grandparents, received Governor in Council approval on December 12, 2013 and came into force on January 1, 2014.

Let us remind our readers that on November 5, 2011, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) issued a set of Ministerial Instructions (MI4), which introduced a temporary pause on new sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents for up to 24 months. This temporary pause was allegedly implemented as part of a broader strategy to address the large backlog and wait times in the parent and grandparent immigrant category.

Subsequently, on June 15, 2013, Ministerial Instructions (MI9) were issued to manage the processing of new applications to sponsor parents and grandparents as members of the family class. These MIs extended the temporary pause on the acceptance of new applications for the sponsorship of parents and grandparents until January 1, 2014, and established that, beginning on January 2, 2014, when the program reopens, a maximum of 5,000 new complete applications for the sponsorship of parents and grandparents will be accepted for processing each year.

The redesigned program also introduces more rigorous financial requirements for sponsors of parents and grandparents: the new regulations increase the financial responsibility placed on sponsors of parents and grandparents as well as the duration of the sponsorship undertaking; both the Minimum Necessary Income (MNI) and the period over which income is assessed have increased for sponsors of parents and grandparents.  Under the amended regulations, to be eligible, prospective sponsors of parents and grandparents must meet the following specific requirements:

  • They must demonstrate that for the three consecutive taxation years preceding the date of their application, their income, including the income of the co-signer, if applicable, is equal to or greater than the annual MNI plus 30% for each of the three years;
  • They must submit a Notice of Assessment (NOA) or an equivalent document (Option C print out) issued by the CRA to substantiate the amount of their income and their co-signer’s income, if applicable, for each of the three consecutive years preceding the date of their application (for example, in January 2014, applicants must submit the NOA or Option C print out for 2012, 2011 and 2010 taxation years). No other proof of income will be accepted;
  • The calculation of the sponsor’s total income will include the income of the co-signer, if applicable, and will be based on the amount recorded on the NOA or other document issued by the CRA (Option C print out) to the sponsor and to the co-signer, if applicable, less any amounts earned from the following sources:
    1. any provincial allowance received by the sponsor for a program of instruction or training;
    2. any social assistance received by the sponsor from a province;
    3. any financial assistance received by the sponsor from the Government of Canada under a resettlement assistance program;
    4. any amounts paid to the sponsor under the Employment Insurance Act, other than special benefits;
    5. any monthly guaranteed income supplement paid to the sponsor under the Old Age Security Act; and
    6. any Canada child tax benefit paid to the sponsor under the Income Tax Act.
  • The duration of the undertaking for the principal applicant and all accompanying dependents included on the application to sponsor a parent or grandparent is 20 years.

In addition, the new rules provide officers with the authority to request updated evidence of income from all sponsors who submit a sponsorship application for a member of the family class if more than 12 months have elapsed since the receipt of the sponsorship application (which is very likely to happen to the majority of the said applications).

Finally, it is important to be noted that, since there will be an annual cap on the acceptance of new sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents, CIC will only receive fees that are paid by certified cheque to the Receiver General for Canada or by credit card (valid for at least nine months). Fees that are paid in any other manner (for example, online payments, money orders), will not be accepted and the application will be returned to the sponsor, which will most certainly result in him/her failing to get hold of the cap.

Share

November 8, 2013 — CIC announces drastic changes to the Canadian Experience Class: general and special caps, list of excluded occupations.

November 8, 2013 — CIC announces drastic changes to the Canadian Experience Class: general and special caps, list of excluded occupations.

Invoking the need for a better management of the intake in order to shorten the processing times, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has introduced an annual cap on the number of new CEC applications. CIC will only accept a maximum of 12,000 CEC applications from November 9, 2013, to October 31, 2014.

CIC also stated that certain occupations in the program are overrepresented. Consequently, the following six occupations will no longer be eligible for the CEC program starting November 9, 2013:

  • cooks (NOC code 6322);
  • food service supervisors (NOC 6311);
  • administrative officers (NOC 1221);
  • administrative assistants (NOC 1241);
  • accounting technicians and bookkeepers (NOC 1311); and
  • retail sales supervisors (NOC 6211).

In addition, CIC will establish sub-caps of 200 applications each for National Occupational Classification (NOC) B occupations. These are mostly technical and administrative jobs or those in the skilled trades (the latter forming actually the vast majority of foreign workers with propensity to apply under CEC). On the other hand, NOC 0 and A (managerial and professional) occupations will not be sub-capped, but they will be subject to the overall cap of 12,000 applications.

Finally, CIC will maintain the same language criteria for applicants but will verify them upfront as of November 9, 2013. The current language requirements are Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 for NOC 0 and A occupations, and CLB 5 for NOC B occupations.

The immigration professional community has reacted with consternation to this announcement, knowing that the current inventory increase has a temporary character, being actually a bubble generated by the CICs own decision to reduce the minimum period of employment for qualifying foreign workers from two years to only one.  It is our educated guess that the number of CEC applications may well have dropped on its own next year as FSW (Federal Skilled Workers) and FST (Federal Skilled Trades) programs are open and the EOI (Expression of Interest) selection system gets started.   In any case, the alleged beneficial reduction of current inventory does not justify the terrible consequences of this rash surprise decision.  CIC have given no consideration at all to individuals who are in the now ineligible NOC occupations, who have started the process, paid their fees to lawyers and consultants, and who now see their dreams crushed.   In addition, the new restrictions will badly hurt the people who have embarked over the last few years on a journey that includes education and work in Canada so they could eventually qualify for permanent residence.   Now, they are seeing their plans ripped apart with a disturbing lack of consideration.

Share

QUEBEC IMMIGRATION: HOW TO FILE AN APPLICATION WITH POOR FRENCH SKILLS AND YET BE SUCCESSFUL

QUEBEC IMMIGRATION: HOW TO FILE AN APPLICATION WITH POOR FRENCH SKILLS AND YET BE SUCCESSFUL

 On 9 September 2013, the Quebec Ministry of Immigration (MICC) has introduced new rules concerning the so called “francisation”  in the context of the regulatory changes brought about on  August 1st  2013 for the skilled workers.

“Francisation” is defined as an administrative tool that allows an exception to grant special treatment to the candidate whose profile is interesting for Quebec, but who does not meet the selection criteria, specifically because of poor knowledge of French. To confirm that he/she has reached the required level, the applicant (and the spouse, as the case may be) will have to submit to the MICC the results of a French language test within a certain deadline.

What is important to remember is that the immigration officer can now refer the applicant for  “francisation” even at the  stage of preliminary examination, as opposed to the previous procedure, when such a decision could only be taken after a selection interview. Still, the previous procedure continues to apply to candidates who have filed their application before August 1, 2013 and for which the preliminary examination has started, but the final decision has not yet been taken.

For candidates who have applied for immigration before August 1, 2013 for whom the preliminary examination has not yet started and who therefore are subject to the new selection grid, the rules are as follows:
• The single applicant must obtain a minimum score of 39 points for all factors of the grid, except for the “adaptability”.
• If the applicant is married and both members of the couple are referred for “francization”, the principal applicant must accordingly reach a minimum score of 43 points.
• If only the married principal applicant is referred for this operation, a minimum score of 47 points is required for all factors of the grid, except for the “adaptability”.
• In all cases, when counting the expected improvement of his/her French skills, the candidate must be able to obtain sufficient additional points so as to reach the pass mark for preliminary examination, i.e. 49 points for the single candidate and 57 points for the married one.
• At the time of the preliminary examination, the “francisation” is possible only if the principal applicant has already reached an advanced beginner to intermediate level 4-6 on the Quebec Scale (or A2 to B1 according to the European standards).
• No “francisation” can be used ​​if the candidate has already demonstrated a B2 level in French.
• The expected increase must not exceed three levels of proficiency.
• A deadline of maximum 18 months is established for the candidates to elevate their skills in French to the required to level.  With the required improvement in French, they must be able to obtain sufficient additional points to reach the pass mark for the preliminary examination, namely 49 points for a single and 57 points for a married applicant.

Similar rules have been established for candidates who have applied for immigration after August 1, 2013, except that they must already have a low-intermediate level (B1, i.e. skill level 5 or 6 on the Quebec Scale) at the time of the preliminary examination; also, they only have 12 months in order to improve their language skills.

To confirm that he/she has reached the required level of competence, one  must submit to the MICC the results of a new test within the allowed time.
To sum up, the “francisation” is a very important solution for those who wish to avoid having their applications returned because the 20,000 applications cap had been reached before they were able to demonstrate the B2 level in French. However, to merely take that risk without consulting an authorized (by MICC) immigration practitioner, may result in a refusal for the simple reason that the immigration officer might not considered the candidate to be among “those whose socio-professional profile is interesting for Quebec”.  Let us not forget that we are dealing with an “exceptional administrative measure” and that the criteria the immigration officer is using in order to decide whether to use it or not are extremely sophisticated and complex.

 

Share

New rules concerning the applications filed under the Quebec “Skilled Workers” class.

New rules concerning the applications filed under the Quebec “Skilled Workers” class.

Since August 1, 2013, new rules have been adopted regarding procedures for the intake and processing of certain applications for a “Certificat de sélection du Québec” (CSQ) submitted by permanent workers, investors, businesspeople and self-employed workers. These new rules are in effect from August 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014.  What follows only concerns the skilled workers; for information regarding business applicants, click here.

Maximum number of applications

The MICC (Ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés culturelles) will receive a maximum of 20,000 new applications for a Certificat de séléction du Québec under the Program for skilled workers, beyond which the applications received will be returned.

This maximum number of applications does not apply to you if:

WARNING: The 20K cap will be counted taking into account not only the applications filed on or after August the 1st 2013, but also those filed prior to this date, for which the MICC has not yet started the actual processing (i.e. they haven’t reached the stage of “preliminary examination”).  This retroactive application of immigration rules is a “first” when it comes to the Quebec procedures, and will affect perhaps hundreds if not thousands of applications filed over the last few months.

Order of priority for processing applications

Effective August 1, 2013, applications will be processed in the following order:

  • applications from candidates submitted under the Programme de l’expérience québécoise (Québec experience program);
  • applications from candidates who submit a valid employment offer;
  • applications from candidates who obtain points under the factor Area of training;
  • any other application submitted by permanent workers.

Language knowledge

If you submit an application under the Program for skilled workers, be informed that:

  • the weighting in the selection grid for knowledge of French has changed. The level required to obtain points for the factor Language knowledge has been increased;
  • the advanced intermediate level has become the minimum threshold from which points are attributed for knowledge of oral and written French;
  • two points can be attributed to the principal applicant for knowledge of written French.

If you submit an application under the Programme de l’expérience québécoise (Québec experience program), be informed that:

  • the level of knowledge required for oral French has been increased:
    • If you choose de demonstrate your level of knowledge of French by means of a standardized test, the level required is now advanced intermediate.
    • If you choose to demonstrate your level of knowledge of French by means of your schooling, you must have completed a minimum of three years of secondary or post-secondary studies in French.

Note that henceforth, for foreign students who have graduated in Québec, the application for a Certificat de sélection du Québec must be submitted in the 36 months after obtaining the diploma.

All applications will be processed according to the new rules in effect as of August 1, 2013, with the exception of those for which processing began prior to that date.

Areas of training

The 2013 List of areas of training is aimed at addressing the Québec job market outlook for immigrants.   It deserves to be noted that, for the first time, graduates from educational institutions outside of Quebec (very few of them indeed) will be able to collect 16 points for the “area of training” factor.

All applications will be processed according to the new rules in effect as of August 1, 2013, with the exception of those for which processing began prior to that date.

Share

Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Effective July 31, 2013, employers applying to hire temporary foreign workers (TFWs) must pay a processing fee of $275 for each position requested to cover the cost of a Labour Market Opinion (LMO).  Applications concerning seasonal agricultural workers are exempt.

The same day, amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations have come into force which introduce subsection a new language assessment factor. As a result of this change, English and French are the only languages that can be identified as a job requirement, both in LMO requests and in advertisements by employers applying to hire TFWs, unless employers can demonstrate that another language is essential for the job.  Employers advertising a job for a position that legitimately requires a language other than English or French must clearly demonstrate, in writing, that the language requested is consistent with the regular activities of the job (e.g. a translation company hiring a translator to work in a language other than English or French, a tour company catering to foreign tourists only in a non-official language).

Advertising period

Employers must advertise available positions in Canada for at least four weeks (instead of two) before applying for an LMO. This requirement applies to all advertising methods.  In addition to advertising on the national Job Bank website or the equivalent provincial/territorial websites, employers must prove that they have used at least two other recruitment methods that are consistent with the advertising practices for the occupation.

  1. If hiring for a higher-skilled occupation—one of the methods must be national in scope;
  2. If hiring for a lower-skilled occupation—employers must demonstrate that they made efforts to target under-represented groups in the labour force.

Employers must also continue to actively seek qualified Canadians to fill the advertised positions until an LMO has been issued.

Finally, the new LMO application form includes additional questions that must be answered by the employer. These questions were added to help ensure that the TFWP is not used to facilitate the outsourcing of Canadian jobs.

There is no transition period.  The new rules were published on 31 July 2013 and apply to all applications that reach the Service Canada on or after that day.

 

Share