Immigration Department: 1 Year Canadian Experience Class Launching Jan 2013

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney tweeted more details in recent days about coming changes to the Canadian Experience Class and Federal Skilled Worker programs

The length of time that a temporary foreign worker needs to have worked full-time in the Canada to qualify for permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) immigration program will be reduced from 24 months to 12 months in January 2013, according to a tweet by Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

The long expected change in the CEC program’s work experience requirement is intended to increase the share of immigrants that come through the program, as Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) considers immigrants with Canadian work experience as more likely to be successful in integrating into Canada’s labour market than those who are admitted under more traditional routes like the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program.

The announcement on the date of the CEC program rule change was made in a response to a tweet directed to Kenney, who is quite active on the micro-blogging site, on November 5th:

@KaushikJay The new 1 year threshold for high-skilled temporary foreign workers to qualify for CDN Experience Class will start January, 2013

In a series of tweets on November 4th, Kenney also described when and in what form the revamped FSW program will be launched.

He posted that the final details for the relaunched program would be released in the “1st half of 2013″ and that there would only be “a very limited number of new applications” accepted in 2013, to help CIC “asses [sic] the new grid & educational evaluation”.

He also posted that CIC’s goal was to launch the new Expression of Interest model for the FSW program “around late 2014 / early 2015″.

CIC placed a moratorium on accepting new applications through the FSW program in July 2012, to give it time to deal with the program’s pending application backlog and to design new selection rules and assessment procedures that it says will make the program more economically beneficial for Canada and its application review process faster.

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Immigration Minister Calls on Regulators to Reduce Barriers for Canada’s Immigrants

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is seeking the cooperation of Canada's self-regulatory organizations in making it easier for new Canadians to get licensed to work in their field in Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney attended the annual conference for Canada’s self-regulatory organizations (SROs) today and asked for their cooperation in helping recent immigrants to Canada become licensed in their field.

The Canadian Regulators Conference, held in Ottawa on November 8th and 9th, is organized by the Canadian Network of National Associations of Regulators (CNNAR), an association made up of some of Canada’s largest SROs, including the Canadian Nurses Association, the Ontario College of Teachers, and the Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada.

CNNAR’s annual conferences are intended to foster information sharing on strategies and best practices among regulatory organizations, and are likely seen by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) as an ideal platform to promote its message of the need to increase regulatory recognition of foreign credentials and licensing of foreign-trained professionals.

Canada’s SROs have been under some criticism recently for occupational regulations that have hampered the labour market integration of Canada’s immigrants.

A report from the Canadian Labour Market and Skills Researcher Network (CLSRN) this month estimates that licensure barriers that prevent immigrants from working in their field of study cost the Canadian economy $2-5.9 billion a year in lost productivity and tax revenue.

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A New Microloan Program For Immigrants Launched in Manitoba

HRSDC Minister Diane Finley at a press conference announcing the microloan pilot (HRSDCanada)

A new Manitoba pilot, launched on Friday, will offer low interest loans of up to $10,000 to recent immigrants who are enrolled in training and career development programs. Recipients will be given five years to repay the microloans, and can use the money for living expenses, educational fees, fees related to licensing, and tools, equipment and work clothes.

The Manitoba government is contributing $250,000, while Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), through its foreign credential recognition loans pilot, is providing $1.2 million for the initiative. The two year pilot, called Recognition Counts! Micro Loans for Skilled Immigrants, will be administered by Supporting Employment and Economic Development (SEED) Winnipeg, a non-profit agency with a mission to increase economic development in low-income communities.

The goal of the program is to help immigrants get the qualifications and licensing necessary to work in their vocation in Canada. One of the first program enrollees is Dr. Esam Beshay, a dentist from Egypt who will use the loan to complete the process for getting a license to practice dentistry in Canada.

The microloan program is similar to the Immigrant Access Fund, a program funded jointly by the provincial government of Saskatchewan and HRSDC’s foreign credential recognition loans pilot to provide microloans to recent immigrants for education and training programs.

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Details of Revised Federal Skilled Worker Program Released

Skilled tradespersons in eligible vocations like construction work will be able to apply for Canadian permanent residence under the new Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) (Paul Keheler)

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) unveiled information on Friday about the new Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) that will be launched in the new year.

The revised program will have more demanding language requirements, more selective credential assessment, and will give preference to Canadian work experience over foreign work experience, among other changes.

CIC placed a temporary freeze on the acceptance of new applications for the FSWP on July 1st to give the immigration department time to instate change that it said were needed to address shortcomings in the program.

The following are the major changes to the FSWP that were announced in Friday’s release:

  • Increasing the maximum points awarded for proficiency in an official language, from 16 to 24 points
  • Awarding a maximum of 12 points to applicants aged 19 to 35, and decreasing the points awarded until age 46
  • Reducing the maximum number of points awarded for foreign work experience from 21 to 15
  • Eliminating points awarded for spousal education and awarding points for spousal language proficiency instead
  • Awarding a maximum of 10 points for Canadian work experience
  • Awarding points for foreign education credentials based on an assessment of the foreign credential’s equivalent value in Canada as assessed by an organization that is designated to provide credential assessment and authentication

New Federal Skilled Trades Worker Program

In addition to the changes to the FSWP, CIC also announced the details of a new Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) that will be open to tradespersons skilled in eligible trade occupations.

The requirements announced for the FSTP are:

  • An offer of employment of a duration of least one year from up to two Canadian employers or a Certificate of Qualification from a provincial or territorial Apprenticeship Authority.
  • Proficiency in an official language
  • At least two years of work experience in an eligible skilled trade in the last five years
  • Required qualifications in the skill trade as described by the National Occupational Classification (NOC)

Changes to the Canadian Experience Class

As forecasted by CIC earlier in the year, the Canadian work experience required to qualify for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program will be reduced from 24 months to 12 months, to allow temporary foreign workers in Canada to more quickly qualify for Canadian permanent residence status.

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Canadian Government to Provide Microloans to Immigrants in Saskatchewan

In an effort to help newly arrived immigrants update their education credentials to Canadian standards, the Canadian government, in partnership with the provincial government of Saskatchewan, will be offering microloans to new immigrants who live in Saskatchewan for education and training programs, through the ‘Immigrant Access Fund’.

Saskatchewan will be the first province to launch a government lending initiative supported by the Canadian government’s foreign credential recognition loans pilot.

The goal of the federal program is to help immigrants overcome obstacles they face in getting the Canadian credentials that would allow them to qualify for jobs in their field of study. It is hoped the program will help immigrants better integrate into the Canadian economy.

A microloan is a small loan that does not require the recipient to have credit history or collateral.

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