Oh Canada

Revised Federal Skilled Worker Program unfolded

Hit the ground running … and with dignity

For most of the people living in Pakistan, migration to a developed and prosperous country is a fascination For Study in Canada, indeed, seems an alluring destination to all such aspirants.

Canada is the second largest country in the world after Russia. However, its population is only about one-fifth of Russia’s.Nearly 90 per cent of Canadians live within 200km of the border with the United States, which means that Canada contains vast expanses of wilderness to the north.

Immigration has helped to make Canada one of the world’s richest nations. Many recent newcomers hail from Asia. Canada’s indigenous peoples make up less than two per cent of the population.

Canada has one of the best and most respected education systems in the world. Every year, thousands of students from other countries pursue their educational goals in Study in Canada. With new ways to gain valuable Canadian work experience during and after your studies, the advantages of studying in Canada are great. There are also permanent immigration options for international students who have graduated from post-secondary programs in Canada.

If you wish to take academic, professional or vocational training at a university, college or other education institution Study in Canada, you will need a study permit before you enter Canada.

Choose a Canadian school, college or university

Before applying for a study permit, one must be accepted at a Canadian educational institution. In Canada, each province or territory manages its own education system. Different provinces and territories have different options and services for students.

Once you have chosen a place to study, you will need to apply for admission. If the school admits you as a student, it will send you a letter of acceptance. You need this letter in order to apply for a study permit.

It is possible to work in Canada while you are here as a student, and there are opportunities for jobs on and off campus.

Regulatory changes to Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

Last month, the Canadian Government made regulatory changes to its Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), which would allow Canada to better select skilled workers who can “hit the ground running” upon arrival.

The changes are likely to come into effect when they re-start accepting new applications under this program in early 2013.

“The Federal Skilled Worker Program is Canada’s largest economic immigration program,” says Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.

The proposed new point grid reflects the Government’s intention to gear the immigration system toward younger workers with strong language skills in English or French who already have a job lined up in Canada. Driving the change is the concern that the ratio of working-age Canadians to retirees is shifting dramatically, but some Canadians will argue that older immigrants can still be very productive.

Amongst the proposed changes to the FSWP are:

  • Making language the most important selection factor by establishing new minimum official language thresholds and increasing points for language. The new rules will give significantly more points to applicants who have strong language skills in either English or French, but points for speaking both official languages will be cut in half from eight to four;
  • Increasing the emphasis on younger immigrants, who are more likely to acquire valuable Canadian experience and remain in the workforce longer; Under the new rules, workers aged 47 and over would receive no points for age compared with 12 for those between 18 and 35. The available age points will decrease by one for each year above 35;
  • Increasing points for Canadian work experience and reducing points for foreign work experience;
  • Simplifying the arranged employment process to prevent fraud and abuse yet enable employers to staff positions quickly;
  • Awarding points for spousal language ability and Canadian experience.
  • Introducing the Educational Credential Assessment – a mandatory requirement that FSWP applicants have their education abroad assessed against Canadian education standards by designated organizations. CIC will then award points according to how an applicant’s foreign educational credential compares to a completed educational credential in Canada. It does not necessarily guarantee that they would become licensed to practice in a regulated occupation. “This is an important step we are taking to address the problem of immigrants arriving and not being able to work in their field,” stated Minister Kenney. “This new requirement will help potential newcomers make informed choices about immigration and Canadian career paths.”

In addition to changing the Federal Skilled Worker Class, the new regulations will introduce a new Federal Skilled Trades Class and update the Canadian Experience Class. Over all, the changes aim to help employers bring in the workers they need and make it easier for temporary workers to apply for citizenship while in Canada.

A three-pronged approach is proposed to better select skilled workers who meet Canada’s current and evolving economic needs. It includes amendments to the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC), the creation of a new Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC) and improvements to the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

Under the proposed changes, skilled workers wishing to immigrate to Canada could apply under one of three separate classes, depending on their work experience and whether this work experience was acquired for Study in Canada.

TABLE

The new FSTC would be open to skilled tradespersons with experience in the following NOC B occupational areas as follows:

Industrial, electrical and construction trades; maintenance and equipment operation trades; supervisors and technical occupations in natural resources, agriculture and related production; processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators; as well as chefs and cooks, and bakers and butchers.

Applicants to the proposed program would be required to meet four minimum requirements:

  1. A qualifying offer of employment from up to two employers in Canada of at least one year duration or a Certificate of Qualification from a provincial or territorial Apprenticeship Authority;
  2. Language proficiency, as evidenced by a test from a designated language testing organization that demonstrates the applicant’s abilities in the requisite skill areas meet the threshold set by the Minister in all four language abilities (speaking, reading, writing, oral comprehension);
  3. Twenty-four months of work experience. Study in Canada (after qualification/certification in the country where the work was performed, where applicable) in the same skilled trade in the last five years; and
  4. Qualifications that satisfy employment requirements as described by the NOC, except for certification and licensing requirements, which are difficult to obtain outside Canada.

The requirement to have a job offer for one year is in recognition of the project-based and seasonal nature of many trade occupations. Allowing up to two employers to commit to employing the applicant for at least one year of continuous full-time employment is intended to allow flexibility for the employers, while ensuring that the applicant is gainfully employed for the first year after arrival. This work experience could assist the applicant in meeting certification requirements, if required, and would provide him/her with important Canadian work experience which is the key to economic success.

Precisely, points shall be awarded up to a maximum of 12 in relation to a skilled worker’s age, as of the date of their application, as follows:

  • (a) 12 points for a skilled worker 18 years of age and older but less than 36 years of age;
  • (b) 11 points for a skilled worker 36 years of age;
  • (c) 10 points for a skilled worker 37 years of age;
  • (d) 9 points for a skilled worker 38 years of age;
  • (e) 8 points for a skilled worker 39 years of age;
  • (f) 7 points for a skilled worker 40 years of age;
  • (g) 6 points for a skilled worker 41 years of age;
  • (h) 5 points for a skilled worker 42 years of age;
  • (i) 4 points for a skilled worker 43 years of age;
  • (j) 3 points for a skilled worker 44 years of age;
  • (k) 2 points for a skilled worker 45 years of age;
  • (l) 1 point for a skilled worker 46 years of age; and
  • (m) 0 points for a skilled worker under 18 years of age or 47 years of age or older.

At a glance

Six Selection Factors

Selection Factors                                                       Points

Education                                                                    Maximum 25 points
Proficiency in English and/or French                         Maximum 24 points
Experience                                                                  Maximum 21 points
Age                                                                             Maximum 10 points
Arranged employment in Canada                               Maximum 10 points
Adaptability                                                                Maximum 10 points
Total                                                                           Maximum 100 points
Pass mark                                                                  67 points

Now that the Minister of Immigration has signalled his intention to change the selection criteria for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, it is a good idea to plan ahead if you want to apply for Study in Canada.

The guide advises that would-be applicants take steps now to prepare to apply rather than waiting until the new occupation list is released, as it could be too late by then. It cites past openings of the Federal Skilled Worker Program in Study in Canada to new applications which saw the quotas for some listed occupations fill up over night.

The specific steps suggested are:

  1. You and your spouse doing an English or French language test, (IELTS) as the new FSW assessment rules will award points for language proficiency for both the principal applicant and the spouse, rather than only the principal applicant as is the case now.
  2. Prepare a resume, and ensure the experience listed matches the description of duties and responsibilities in the NOC (National Occupation Classification) for the occupation you are applying under. Also look through the NOC to see if you qualify for other occupations.
  3. Prepare your “education documents, transcripts and course descriptions” as the new FSW program will require that you to get an assessment of the foreign credential’s equivalent value in Canada.
  4. Prepare “biographical documents and proof of funds”.
  5. If you have a spouse or common-law partner, make sure they make the same preparations in case your spouse’s occupation is on the list.
  6. If you need further assistance, consult with a qualified professional.

Additional steps to consider:

  • Improve your English and/or French language skills. Language will play a bigger role under the new FSW assessment rules.
  • Look for a job in Canada: temporary foreign workers in skilled occupations will only require one year of full-time Canadian work experience to qualify for the Canadian Experience Class under coming Study in Canada changes, rather than 24 months of work experience required now. The new Federal Skilled Worker Program will also award more points for Canadian work experience than foreign work experience.
  • If you have a long time horizon for immigrating for Study in Canada and are willing to enter a new line of work to do so, consider starting a career in a skilled trade, like welder, heavy duty equipment mechanic and millwright, as they are in high demand in Canada and will offer a new route to immigration through a newly created Federal Skilled Trades Program.

FACTFILE

  • Full name: Canada
  • Population: 34.3 million (UN, 2011)
  • Capital: Ottawa
  • Largest city: Toronto
  • Area: 9.9 million sq km (3.8 million sq miles)
  • Major languages: English, French (both official)
  • Major religion: Christianity
  • Life expectancy: 79 years (men), 83 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 Canadian dollar = 100 cents
  • Main exports: Machinery and equipment, automotive products, metals and plastics, forestry products, agricultural and fishing products, energy products
  • Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by a Governor-General
  • Head of Government Prime minister: Stephen Harper
  • People: Canada is a multicultural country with people from all over the world who have now made Canada their home. Ethnic Groups (wholly or partly): North American Origin 40%, British Origin 33%, French Origin 16%, Other European 29%, Aboriginal peoples 4%, South, East & South-East Asian 9%, Other (mostly Caribbean, Arab, African, Latin/Central/South American and West Asian) 6%. The total comes to more than 100% because many Canadians (approximately 38%) have a mixed background.
  • Languages: Canada has two official languages, English (59%) and French (23%). 17% of the population have another language as their ‘mother tongue’.
  • Religion(s): Roman Catholic 43%; Protestant 23% (including United Church 9%, Anglican 6%, Baptist 2%, Lutheran 2%), other Christian 4%, Muslim 1% other and unspecified 11%, none 16%.
  • Currency: Canadian Dollar (known as the “Loonie” – a native bird). 1 Dollar is made up of 100 cents.
  • Major political parties: The main political parties at federal (i.e. national) level are: Conservative Party, Liberal Party, Bloc Quebecois (in Quebec Province only) and New Democratic Party (NDP). The Liberals and NDP are also represented at provincial level. There are also some notable provincial parties, e.g. the Progressive Conservative Party, the Parti Quebecois in Quebec, the Saskatchewan Party and the Yukon Party.
  • Government: Canada is a constitutional monarchy and a federal state with a democratic system of government based on the Westminster model.
  • Foreign Minister: The Honourable John Baird (May 2011)
  • Membership of international groupings/organisations: Member of the Commonwealth; North America Free Trade Association (NAFTA); North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO); Organisation of American States (OAS); G8; G20; World Trade Organisation (WTO); La Francophonie.
  • GDP growth:  2.1% (April 2012)
  • Inflation:  2.9% (2011)
  • Exports – commodities: Automobiles and parts, machinery and equipment, high-technology products, oil, natural gas, metals, and forest and farm products.
  • Imports:  US$493 billion (2011)
  • Imports – commodities: machinery, electric machinery and equipment, industry goods, motor vehicles and parts, minerals fuels and oils, plastics.

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