Federal Skilled Worker Program Re-opens

April 4, 2013 – The Federal Skilled Worker Program will reopen May 4, 2013, with several fundamental changes to its criteria, since being paused July 1, 2012.

Although Federal Skilled Worker applications are currently being accepted in the Ph.D. stream and from those with a qualifying arranged job offer, applications under the program’s ‘points grid’ have not been accepted since the 10,000 cap in applications was reached between July 12011, and June 30, 2012. During this time, applications were accepted in 29 different occupations listed from the National Occupation Classification list.

Federal Skilled Worker applications were measured on a ‘points grid’, 67 out of 100 being a pass. English or French proficiency, age, education, work experience, arranged employment (if applicable), and adaptability (including factors such as a spouse’s education, previous employment or study in Canada, or relatives who live in Canada) were all weighed in separate categories.

These same categories will apply on May 4, 2013. Although not all the specifics have been announced yet, the points system will break down as follows with the major changes noted:

  • Language – 28 point maximum. Applicants will have to prove a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark of level 7. This is now the most heavily weighed factor.
  • Age – 12 point maximum. Younger workers will receive more points than before, with the maximum award for applicants 35 and under. Each year older than 35 will lose a point, with no points awarded for those 47 and over (although these applicants are still eligible for the program).
  • Education – 25 point maximum. Credential assessment organizations and regulatory bodies designated by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration will assess the applicant’s educational credentials for equivalence to Canadian educational credentials.
  • Work experience – 15 point maximum. There will be fewer points awarded for work experience than from the previous grid, and more years of work experience will be required to receive the maximum points.
  • Arranged employment – 10 point maximum. Employers will have to get a Labour Market Opinion from Human Resources Development Canada, proving the need for the worker, and their attempt to hire either a citizen or permanent resident from within the Canadian labour market first, in order to gain points in this category. However, an arranged offer of employment is not mandatory when applying under the points grid.
  • Adaptability – 10 point maximum. There will be more points awarded for the primary applicant’s Canadian work experience. Whereas a spouse’s education awarded points in the previous grid, now a spouse’s language proficiency will award points instead.

Out of 100 points, 67 will still be a passing grade.

Written by Richard McKergow, a Paralegal licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada and guest author on this site.

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