New Federal Skilled Worker Selection System Effective in May 2013


Canadian Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney announced that the redesigned selection system for the Federal Skilled Worker Program will come into effect as of May 3, 2012 and the existing suspension on the FSWP applications will be lifted. FWCanada, a Canadian immigration law firm, suggests that the renewed point system will be introduced placing higher emphasis on language proficiency and youth in order to ensure a smoother integration process for foreign nationals.

The new point system is designed to reward foreign nationals with high language proficiency and youth. Applicants would be required to undergo a language test to prove their familiarity and ease in one of the official languages, English or French. CIC would require the applicant’s official IELTS or TEF score which will prove their language proficiency.

“There is a higher emphasis on language proficiency because it is expected to ease the integration process” explains Marisa Feil, supervising attorney at FWCanada. “Citizenship and Immigration Canada wants to avoid underemployment which entails highly skilled foreign nationals working in odd jobs that are often below their expertise level” says Feil.

The Canadian government wants to avoid underemployment, or in some cases even unemployment by creating language standards that are expected to help curb this unwarranted trend that is believed to unfold because of lagging language ability.

Additionally, there is greater emphasis on youth, as young foreign nationals are believed to be better positioned to maneuver through the ever-changing Canadian labour market and would be able to contribute to the Canadian economy longer.  Furthermore, young applicants are more likely to have Canadian born children, or at least young children that will go to school in Canada and become fully integrated.

 As part of the renewed system, CIC also introduced a list of organizations that will assess foreign credentials to determine their equivalency to Canadian education standards. This will allow foreign nationals the choice of continuing their education if they deem necessary.

Despite this program being highly anticipated, there is some criticism to the great emphasis on language proficiency. Some are fearful that the new language standards are set too high, preventing some highly skilled foreign nationals from obtaining status in Canada. While others are fearful that the new language standards could potentially undermine Canada’s ability to attract immigrants from diverse countries as these new standards highly encourage English and French speaking immigrants.

In efforts to avoid the notorious backlog and often exaggerated processing times that seem to be synonymous with the FSW program in the past; CIC implemented a strict quota on the number of applicants. As the process is becoming harder and more complex, it is critical to ensure a smooth application process. Incoherent applications will be returned and those applicants may not have time to resubmit. FWCanada can help assemble a complete application for the FSW program and have it ready for submission by May 4, 2013. 

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