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Friday, 1 March 2013

Changes to the Federal Skilled Worker Program


March 1, 2013 – With new criteria for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) set to take effect in May, many prospective immigrants may already be preparing to apply.
However, future FSWP applicants should be aware that CIC expects to announce three important elements of the FSWP in April that will have an impact on the application process, including:
  • a cap on the number of applications that will be accepted in the first year;
  • a new list of priority occupations; and
  • the organizations that will be designated to conduct educational assessments.
Applicants who prepare their application before this information is announced do so at their own risk. Applications that do not meet the criteria that will be announced in April will not be processed.
On December 19, 2012, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced significant changes to the FSWP. In addition, the Minister announced that the new FSWP would be opened up for applications on May 4, 2013. A pause on applications, except for those from certain PhD students and those supported by a qualifying job offer, has been in place sinceJuly 1, 2012.

Changes to the Federal Skilled Worker Program


March 1, 2013 – With new criteria for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) set to take effect in May, many prospective immigrants may already be preparing to apply.
However, future FSWP applicants should be aware that CIC expects to announce three important elements of the FSWP in April that will have an impact on the application process, including:
  • a cap on the number of applications that will be accepted in the first year;
  • a new list of priority occupations; and
  • the organizations that will be designated to conduct educational assessments.
Applicants who prepare their application before this information is announced do so at their own risk. Applications that do not meet the criteria that will be announced in April will not be processed.
On December 19, 2012, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced significant changes to the FSWP. In addition, the Minister announced that the new FSWP would be opened up for applications on May 4, 2013. A pause on applications, except for those from certain PhD students and those supported by a qualifying job offer, has been in place sinceJuly 1, 2012.

Changes to the Federal Skilled Worker Program


March 1, 2013 – With new criteria for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) set to take effect in May, many prospective immigrants may already be preparing to apply.
However, future FSWP applicants should be aware that CIC expects to announce three important elements of the FSWP in April that will have an impact on the application process, including:
  • a cap on the number of applications that will be accepted in the first year;
  • a new list of priority occupations; and
  • the organizations that will be designated to conduct educational assessments.
Applicants who prepare their application before this information is announced do so at their own risk. Applications that do not meet the criteria that will be announced in April will not be processed.
On December 19, 2012, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced significant changes to the FSWP. In addition, the Minister announced that the new FSWP would be opened up for applications on May 4, 2013. A pause on applications, except for those from certain PhD students and those supported by a qualifying job offer, has been in place sinceJuly 1, 2012.

Canada Welcomes Record Number of Immigrants through Canadian Experience Class


Retaining the Best and Brightest from Around the World

Ottawa, February 28, 2013 — Canada’s fastest-growing immigration stream welcomed a record 9,353 newcomers in 2012, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.
The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) makes Canada more competitive in attracting and retaining the best and brightest individuals with the skills we need. These are people who have already demonstrated their ability to integrate into the Canadian labour market and society,” said Minister Kenney. “The CEC allows these skilled and educated individuals to bring their skills and talents, contribute to our economy and help renew our workforce so that Canada remains competitive on the world stage.
This is 34 percent more than the 2012 target of 7,000. Admissions in the CEC, which targets skilled immigrants, are up 55.2 percent from 2011.
Introduced in 2008, CEC is an immigration option for international student graduates and skilled foreign workers with professional, managerial and skilled work experience in Canada. Unlike other programs, CEC allows an applicant’s experience in Canada to be considered a key selection factor when immigrating to Canada.
Recently, Citizenship and Immigration Canada streamlined the CEC work experience requirement to make the program faster and more flexible for applicants. As of January 2, 2013, applicants require 12 months of full-time Canadian work experience and now have more time, up to 36 months, to earn it.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Canada welcomes record number of international students in 2012


First time in Canadian history over 100,000 international students welcomed

Ottawa, February 26, 2013 — Canada welcomed a record number of international students in 2012, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today. Last year was the first time in Canadian history that Canada has welcomed over 100,000 international students, an increase of 60% from 2004.
Attracting and retaining the best and brightest immigrants from around the world is part of the government’s commitment to grow Canada’s economy and ensure long-term prosperity,” said Minister Kenney. “The steady growth in numbers confirms that Canada remains a destination of choice for international students because of the remarkable educational opportunities that exist in our world class institutions.
According to a 2011 report by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) entitled International Education: A Key Driver of Canada’s Future Prosperity, international students contribute more than $8 billion every year to the Canadian economy. In addition to significant economic benefits, international students also enrich Canadian society with their ideas and different perspectives.
Canada’s universities are pleased to see increasing numbers of international students attracted by our reputation for excellence in education,” said Paul Davidson, President of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “In addition to making a significant contribution to our economy, international students bring new perspectives and cultures to our campuses, enriching the learning experience of all students.
International students are also a future source of skilled labour, as they may be eligible upon graduation for permanent residency through immigration programs, such as the Canadian Experience Class which the Government introduced in 2008. International students are well-prepared to immigrate to Canada as they have obtained Canadian credentials, are proficient in at least one of our official languages and often have relevant Canadian work experience.
Canadian colleges and institutes, with a focus on applied higher education and unparalleled placement rates, are magnets for international students,” said Association of Canadian Community Colleges President and CEO, James Knight. “Canadian college credentials are a passport to employment success not only in the students' country of origin, but also in Canada where their skills are in high demand.
Recently proposed changes to the International Student Program would streamline work permit access to international students attending designated institutions, and provide certain study permit holders with the authority to work part-time off-campus.
The proposed changes would also better protect international students as provinces and territories designate the institutions qualified to receive them and Citizenship and Immigration Canada eliminates abuse of the program by ensuring program participants are genuine students. These changes would safeguard the world-class reputation of Canada’s post-secondary education system, as it strives to become ever more competitive in the global search for talent.
Canada competes globally for the best and brightest minds, so we are continually working to make studying in Canada an attractive choice,” added Minister Kenney. “Through our proposed improvements to the International Student Program, we will further improve Canada’s already strong reputation.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Expression of Interest – Transforming Canada’s economic immigration programs


A major next step in building a fast and flexible immigration system will be the creation of a pool of skilled workers ready to begin employment in Canada, a commitment made in Economic Action Plan 2012.
Inspired by an approach developed by New Zealand – and now also being used in Australia – an Expression of Interest application system is the model the Government of Canada plans to use to create this pool of skilled workers.
Under an Expression of Interest system – or EOI – prospective immigrants fill in an online form indicating their “interest” in coming to a host country as permanent residents. The form can include information that relates to, for example, language proficiency, work experience and assessed education credentials.
Assigned a points score and ranked, these expressions of interest would then be entered into a pool from which candidates that best match a country’s national and regional skills needs can be drawn and invited to submit an immigration application, subject to priority processing.
In effect, the EOI form submitted by a prospective immigrant is not an application itself but only a first stage in the assessment of a potential candidate. Not all candidates who file an expression of interest are invited to apply for a permanent resident visa.
Consultations with provinces, territories and stakeholders on the development of an EOI system for Canada are underway. Of interest to CIC is the potential for a larger role for employers in the immigration program, leveraged through EOI.
As part of ongoing consultations, CIC has held roundtables with employers in a number of cities to discuss how such a system could help meet employer needs. A report on these recent discussions will be available on the consultations section of the CIC website soon.
With the elimination of the Federal Skilled Worker backlog, CIC anticipates being able to move to an EOI system that will: avoid the build-up of inventories and improve processing times; and make the immigration system more responsive to labour market needs and increase the likelihood of skilled immigrants’ success.

Monday, 25 February 2013

The new Start-Up Visa Program: An Innovative Approach to Economic Immigration


Canada seeks innovative entrepreneurs who have the potential to build dynamic companies that can compete on a global scale. The Start-Up Visa Program will link immigrant entrepreneurs with experienced private sector organizations that have expertise in working with start-ups. 
The pilot will run for up to five years. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) expects that due to the narrow focus of the Program, initially, the number of applications will be limited. However, the focus of the Start-Up Visa will be on the quality of the applicants and on establishing a track record of success, so that the Program can be expanded quickly to fill what we hope will be a growing demand. If the Program proves successful during the five-year trial period, CIC may formally introduce it as a new economic class in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

Benefits of the Program 

  • The Start-up Visa Program will enable immigrant entrepreneurs to launch innovative companies that will create jobs in Canada, and eventually, compete globally.
  • The Program will provide entrepreneurs with valuable assistance in navigating the Canadian business environment which can sometimes prove challenging for newcomers.
  • The Program will provide private sector firms with access to a broader range of entrepreneurs, including the best and the brightest minds from around the world.

Program Partners

  • Initially, Canada’s Venture Capital & Private Equity Association and the National Angel Capital Organization will be active partners in the Program.
  • CIC continues to work with the Canadian Association of Business Incubation to include the organization in the Program as soon as feasible.
  • These umbrella organizations—through agreements with CIC—will recommend which of their members should be designated as eligible to participate in the Start-Up Visa Program, establish expert peer review panels to assist CIC officers in case determinations and provide assurance that industry standards of due diligence were followed.
  • The process of designating which Canadian angel investor groups and venture capital funds will be eligible to participate in the Start-Up Visa will begin early this year.
  • The process of designating which Canadian business incubators will be eligible to participate in the Start-Up Visa will begin at a later date.  

Applications

  • Foreign entrepreneurs will require the support of a Canadian angel investor group, venture capital fund or a business incubator before they can apply to the Start-Up Visa Program.  
  • Foreign entrepreneurs will also have to meet certain criteria regarding language proficiency and educational qualifications. The full set of criteria will be published in the spring of 2013.
  • The Program will open for applications on April 1, 2013.

Consultations

  • CIC collaborated with industry associations representing organizations that work with entrepreneurs, such as Canadian business incubators, angel investor groups and venture capital funds. CIC also consulted with the provinces and territories throughout the Program development process.

Economic Action Plan 2012

  • Economic Action Plan 2012 highlighted Canada’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurs, innovators and world class research. It also announced the government’s intention to build a fast and flexible economic immigration system with a primary focus on meeting the new and emerging needs of the Canadian economy. The Start-Up Visa Program is an important part of this plan.

The Federal Entrepreneur Program

  • Launched in the 1970s, it became apparent in recent years that the Federal Entrepreneur Program no longer functioned effectively.
  • The Program’s criteria rested on basic factors, such as minimum net worth and business experience and granted permanent resident status conditionally upon the creation of a minimum of one job in three years—hardly a great demand. As such, the Program did not require the investors to invest in innovative enterprises but enabled them to limit investment to smaller, safer ones—the antithesis of entrepreneurship.  
  • On July 1, 2011, CIC implemented a temporary moratorium on new applications to the Federal Entrepreneur Program to limit the growth of the backlog while the Program is under review. There are no plans to lift the moratorium.