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Visa Categories Skilled Workers and Professionals

The Federal Skilled Worker program (FSWP) will re-open and start accepting applications as of May 4th, 2013. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) have made changes to the selection grid. To date, no occupation list has been announced.

It is important to note that these changes will not apply to people who have applied to the FSWP prior to May 4, 2013 with a qualifying arranged job offer or under the Ph.D. stream.

The FSWP selects immigrants based on their ability to succeed economically in Canada. It measures applicants using a selection grid worth up to 100 points. The current pass mark remains unchanged at 67 but the point breakdown has changed. As before, each applicant is awarded points for official language ability, age, education, work experience, employment already arranged in Canada, and adaptability (such as previous work experience or education acquired in Canada).

How has the new Federal Skilled Worker selection grid changed?

LANGUAGE: Requiring a minimum level of language proficiency (28 points max.)
CIC is establishing minimum language requirements and is significantly increasing the maximum points awarded for the applicant’s proficiency in English or French. Language ability is now the most important factor on the grid, representing a total of up to 28 points in recognition of its critical importance in ensuring successful outcomes. Applicants will have to demonstrate that they meet the minimum language threshold, which is level 7 of the Canadian Language Benchmark assessment system. Original language test results will need to be provided.

AGE: More emphasis on younger workers (12 points max.)
The revised selection grid benefits younger immigrants by awarding a maximum of 12 points up to age 35, with diminishing points awarded from 35 to age 46. There will be no points given after age 46 (although applicants aged 46 + will still be eligible if they meet the pass mark of 67 without claiming any points for age)

EDUCATION: New Educational Credential Assessment (25 points max.)
Education points will be awarded based on the value of the educational credentials in Canada.

The new regulations require a mandatory assessment of foreign educational credentials to determine their equivalency to a completed educational credential in Canada. CIC will not accept those that are not equivalent to a completed Canadian educational credential. CIC will designate credential assessment organizations and regulatory bodies to conduct the assessments as part of the immigration selection process. These agencies will be announced in early 2013.

WORK EXPERIENCE: Redirecting points to other factors (15 points max.)
CIC is reducing the total number of points for work experience from 21 to 15, and increasing the years of experience (six years) required to get full points.

ARRANGED EMPLOYMENT: Streamlining the process and reducing the potential for fraudulent job offers (10 points max.)
An applicant can get points for Arranged Employment if their Canadian employer is issued with a Labour Market Opinion (LMO), which is issued by Human Resources Development Canada. This will verify that there is a need in the Canadian labour market for this type of worker and that the employer has tried to hire a Canadian or permanent resident first.

ADAPTABILITY: Changes to reflect factors that help promote integration (10 points max.)
Points for previous work experience in Canada will be increased for the principal applicant. Points for previous study in Canada will remain the same. The points factor for a spouse’s education will be replaced by points for a spouse’s language proficiency. Original language test results will be required for the spouse. The points for previous spousal study and/or work in Canada, and having relatives in Canada will remain unchanged.

For a full assessment of your eligibility, please click here.


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