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 NOCNational 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.


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