Dear Miss Powell:
I heard that Canada has changed the requirements for professionals who want to move to Canada. Why have they made this change and what are the changes that we can expect? How does this affect the point system?
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced that as of July 1, 2012 they have put a temporary pause on accepting applications under the Federal Skilled Worker programme. This does not affect persons qualifying under the PhD programme and those who have arranged employment in Canada. CIC has chosen to put a pause on these applications to ensure that they are able to adequately manage the files that they have already received and to re-evaluate their point system to "ensure that immigration works for Canada's economy and that there are greater opportunities to be realised by immigrants ... " (Jason Kenny, minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism).
In the August 2012 Gazette, CIC stated that the changes will be made to the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC). They will also create a new category called the Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC) to facilitate immigration of certain skilled trade persons to Canada.
Some of the changes under the proposed new regulation affect the points awarded to individuals based on foreign work experience, education, language, age. CIC describes it as a rebalancing of the point system, to pay attention to the needs of the Canadian economy and to facilitate the integration of immigrants into the Canadian society.
CIC noted that Canadian employers pay little attention to work experience gained abroad so the economic success of immigrants has not been consistent with their previous projections. Consequently, under the new system, the maximum points that will be given under this category will be reduced to 15.
Younger immigrants are viewed more favourably under the new system. That is, those between 18-35 can get up to a maximum of 12 points, while applicants 47 years and older will not receive points under these criteria. Under the old system, applicants between 21 and 49 years were given the maximum points.
Assessment of foreign credentials will be done by professional bodies that are qualified to assess foreign credentials prior to application. Professionals such as lawyers, doctors, accountants, engineers and other regulated professionals will need to submit proof of their qualifications to the designated professional body, for that governing body to evaluate whether the individuals' foreign credential is the equivalent to the Canadian requirements to practise in that field.
To find out more about how the new changes affect your personal eligibility and the steps to have your qualifications recognised in Canada, contact an immigration lawyer for an assessment of your qualifications and to assist you with your application.
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 in immigration, commercial, real estate, personal injury, family and administration of estates. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, subject line: Immigration, or tel: 613.695.8777