Dear Miss Powell,
I recently acquired a PhD and I am desirous of getting a permanent resident card to live and work in Canada. I was told that there is a freeze on applications being accepted under the skilled-worker programme. Is this true? How else can I qualify to move back to Canada?
Effective July 1, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) placed a temporary pause on the acceptance of new applications under the Federal Skilled Worker Programme (FSWP), and this will remain in effect until a future ministerial announcement. Normally, PhD students would fall into this category; however, CIC made it clear that PhD students were exempted from this 'pause', provided that they are eligible.
A person who is eligible under the PhD stream may still submit an application, provided that the cap has not been reached. Eligibility is determined by providing proof that you are currently enrolled in a PhD programme, and have been for at least two years, or that you have completed a PhD programme from a recognised tertiary institution in Canada no more than 12 months prior to submitting an application. So if you received your PhD in November 2011, you need to submit your application before November 2012.
Another important factor is that you must not be bonded or have received a scholarship which requires you to return to your home country upon completion of your PhD.
You may submit your application to the Centralised Intake Office (CIO) in Sydney, Nova Scotia. The key thing to remember is that they accept only 1,000 applications on an annual basis. This cap will be reset in November 2012.
You may also submit an application under the FSWP if you have received a job offer from a reputable company. Your application should be submitted under the arranged employment category as this category is not subject to the cap.
Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds
You should note that if as a result of the new rules your application was returned, or you do not qualify, CIC may reconsider your application only if you submit an application on the basis of humanitarian and compassionate grounds. This is a special request, and you will need to show why your application should be considered under this category, provide supporting documentation, and pay the required fee to have your application considered.
If you have doubts whether you qualify, contact an immigration lawyer, provide details of your case, and request assistance with your particular legal concern.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with main office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are immigration, real estate, commercial, personal injury, family and administration of estates. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Immigration.