As the world rang in 2013, we reflected upon the many memorable moments of the year. From the exciting Summer Olympic Games to apocalyptic false alarms, 2012 was not without excitement; and the world of Canadian immigration was no exception. FWCanada, one of Canada’s premier immigration law firms, tracked all the headlining-grabbing Canadian immigration developments as they unfolded. The following summarizes the key changes in Canadian immigration policy in 2012.
Federal Skilled Trades Class
In an attempt to provide swift relief to labour shortages in thriving economic regions, such as oil-rich Alberta, Citizenship and Immigration Canada introduced the Federal Skilled Trades Class. This immigration category facilitates work permits for licenced skilled tradespeople, such as electricians, welders, heavy-duty equipment mechanics and pipefitters. The program opened on January 3rd, 2012 and will issue a maximum of 3000 visas to eligible applicants.
To determine your eligibility, simply fill out an online assessment form. FWCanada will respond to your interest in less than 24 hours.
Immigration Fraud and Conditional Permanent Residency
As part of Minister Kenney’s overarching aim of cracking down on immigration fraud, Citizenship and Immigration Canada introduced amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. To prevent abuse of the spousal sponsorship via “marriages of convenience”, the government has introduced a conditional period for spouses, common-law or conjugal partners in a relationship of two years or less with their sponsor and who have no children with their sponsor at the time they submit their sponsorship application. Nonetheless, Minister Kenney has assured the critics of this proposal that victims of abuse or neglect will not be subject to such measures.
As the popularity of online dating sites increases, Canadians seeking a long-distance marriage become more vulnerable to immigration fraud. Canada has decreased the criteria for immigration officials to deny requests for sponsorships of spouses. To find out more about the Canadian government’s effort to reduce immigration fraud, read the press release by FWCanada.
Federal Skilled Worker Program
Perhaps most controversially, Immigration Minister Kenney announced that a significant portion of backlogged applications from the very popular Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program would be nullified. Applicants were to receive refunds for their application cost and encouraged to re-apply. Unsurprisingly, Kenney’s announcement was not well received by the thousands of hopeful applicants who had spent time and money, and in some cases, hired lawyers, to complete these applications. Protests erupted around the world with legal action resulting in an upcoming court case to be heard in Federal Court. In late 2012, Minister Kenney announced that the program would reopen, albeit with new criteria, May 4, 2013. Proficiency in one (or both) of Canada’s official languages, along with Canadian-equivalent work experience, will be awarded higher points under the new system.
Changes to the FSW program generated much confusion over the eligibility of potential applicants. Check out FWCanada’s visual presentation on revisions of the FSW program.
Bridging Work Permit
Citizenship and Immigration Canada introduced a new bridging Work Permit for workers who were seeking a Canadian permanent residence status while their Temporary Work Permits would expire soon. In the past, if an applicant’s Eligibility was given to applicants under the Federal Skilled Worker program (FSWP), Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), or the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). Minister Kenney believed the new Work Permit would significantly improve efficiency of the immigration system and would help Canada to attract the best workers from around the world.
Check out FWCanada’s news article for details.
Expression of Interest System
Citizenship and Immigration Canada is in the planning stages of implementing an online system, the Expression of Interest System, whereby employers browse through profiles of would-be immigrants, select desirable candidates, and invite them to apply for Canadian permanent residence. To enter the program, applicants submit an online form outlining their language proficiency, work experience, education credentials as well as other related competencies. This system will allow employers to play a larger role in the process of immigration. Similar to the models used in Australia and New Zealand, Expression of Interest System is meant to streamline the Canadian immigration system and to avoid the backlog created by the previous version of the Federal Skilled Worker Program.
FWCanada encourages potential immigrants to look into various immigration options into Canada.
Canadian Experience Class
Foreign workers looking to apply for Canadian permanent residency had much to celebrate as Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) adjusted the criteria for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) in the New Year. As of January 2nd, 2013, CIC reduced the amount of Canadian work experience required to apply for residency, from the original 24 months to 12 months. CIC also intends to create a new record of acceptance through the CEC—up to 10,000 permanent residents in 2013. This is excellent news for skilled worker applicants and international students in the country.
“The CEC has become Canada’s fastest growing economic immigration program and is part of our plan to attract the best and brightest from the world,” concluded Minister Kenney. Find out more about the CEC via FWCanada.
It has been a month into 2013, we expect this year to provide even more exciting changes to the Canadian immigration system. Stay up to date with Canadian immigration news on FWCanada’s news page, and re-pin all of your favourite Canada-related images on our Pinterest page.