ARCHIVED — Vol. 146, No. 26 — December 19, 2012

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Registration

SOR/2012-274 December 7, 2012

IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION ACT

Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations

P.C. 2012-1643 December 6, 2012

His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, pursuant to subsection 5(1) and section 14 (see footnote a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (see footnote b), makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

REGULATIONS AMENDING THE IMMIGRATION AND
REFUGEE PROTECTION REGULATIONS

AMENDMENTS

1. (1) The definition “National Occupational Classification” in section 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (see footnote 1) is replaced by the following:

  • National Occupational Classification
    « Classification nationale des professions »
  • National Occupational Classification” means the National Occupational Classification developed by the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development and Statistics Canada, as amended from time to time.

(2) Section 2 of the Regulations is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order:

  • Canadian Language Benchmarks
    « Canadian Language Benchmarks »
  • Canadian Language Benchmarks” means, for the English language, the Canadian Language Benchmarks: English as a Second Language for Adults developed by the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks, as amended from time to time.
  • Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens
    « Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens »
  • Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens” means, for the French language, the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens : français langue seconde pour adultes developed by the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks, as amended from time to time.

2. Paragraph 70(2)(b) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

  • (b) the economic class, consisting of the federal skilled worker class, the transitional federal skilled worker class, the Quebec skilled worker class, the provincial nominee class, the Canadian experience class, federal skilled trades class, the investor class, the entrepreneur class, the self-employed persons class, the transitional federal investor class, the transitional federal entrepreneur class and the transitional federal self-employed persons class; and

3. (1) The portion of section 73 of the Regulations before the definitions is replaced by the following:

73. (1) The following definitions apply in this Division.

(2) The definition “educational credential” in subsection 73(1) of the Regulations is repealed.

(3) Subsection 73(1) of the Regulations is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order:

  • “Canadian educational credential”
    « diplôme canadien »
  • “Canadian educational credential” means any diploma, certificate or credential, issued on the completion of a Canadian program of study or training at an educational or training institution that is recognized by the provincial authorities responsible for registering, accrediting, supervising and regulating such institutions.
  • “equivalency assessment”
    « attestation d’équivalence »
  • “equivalency assessment” means a determination, issued by an organization or institution designated under subsection 75(4), that a foreign diploma, certificate or credential is equivalent to a Canadian educational credential and an assessment, by the organization or institution, of the authenticity of the foreign diploma, certificate or credential.
  • “full-time work”
    « travail à temps plein »
  • “full-time work” means at least 30 hours of work over a period of one week.
  • “language skill area”
    « habileté langagière »
  • “language skill area” means speaking, oral comprehension, reading or writing.

(4) Section 73 of the Regulations is amended by adding the following after subsection (1):

Definition “work”

(2) Despite the definition “work” in section 2, for the purposes of this Division, “work” means an activity for which wages are paid or commission is earned.

4. The Regulations are amended by adding the following after section 73:

General

Criteria

74. (1) For the purposes of paragraphs 75(2)(d), 79(3)(a), 87.1(2)(d) and (e) and 87.2(3)(a), the Minister shall fix, by class prescribed by these Regulations or by occupation, and make available to the public, minimum language proficiency thresholds on the basis of

  • (a) the number of applications in all classes under this Part that are being processed;

  • (b) the number of immigrants who are projected to become permanent residents according to the report to Parliament referred to in section 94 of the Act; and

  • (c) the potential, taking into account the applicants’ linguistic profiles and economic and other relevant factors, for the establishment in Canada of applicants under the federal skilled worker class, the Canadian experience class and the federal skilled trades class.

Minimum language proficiency thresholds

(2) The minimum language proficiency thresholds fixed by the Minister shall be established in reference to the benchmarks described in the Canadian Language Benchmarks and the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens.

Designation for evaluating language proficiency

(3) The Minister may designate, for any period specified by the Minister, any organization or institution to be responsible for evaluating language proficiency if the organization or institution has expertise in evaluating language proficiency and if the organization or institution has provided a correlation of its evaluation results to the benchmarks set out in the Canadian Language Benchmarks and the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens.

Public notice

(4) The Minister shall make available to the public a list of the designated organizations or institutions.

Definition “service agreement”

(5) For the purpose of subsection (6), “service agreement” means an agreement concluded between the Government of Canada and an organization or institution for the purpose of having the organization or institution supply the service of evaluating the language proficiency of foreign nationals.

Revocation of designation

(6) The Minister may revoke a designation if

  • (a) the organization or institution no longer meets the criteria set out in subsection (3);

  • (b) the organization or institution submitted false, misleading or inaccurate information or has contravened any provision of federal or provincial legislation relevant to the service provided by the organization or institution; or

  • (c) either the Government of Canada or the organization or institution has terminated the service agreement.

Conclusive evidence

(7) The results of an evaluation by a designated organization or institution are conclusive evidence of the language proficiency of an applicant under the federal skilled worker class, the Canadian experience class or the federal skilled trades class, as the case may be.

5. (1) Paragraphs 75(2)(a) and (b) of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

  • (a) within the 10 years before the date on which their application for a permanent resident visa is made, they have accumulated, over a continuous period, at least one year of full-time work experience, or the equivalent in part-time work, in the occupation identified by the foreign national in their application as their primary occupation, other than a restricted occupation, that is listed in Skill Type 0 Management Occupations or Skill Level A or B of the National Occupational Classification matrix;

  • (b) during that period of employment they performed the actions described in the lead statement for the occupation as set out in the occupational descriptions of the National Occupational Classification;

(2) Subsection 75(2) of the Regulations is amended by striking out “and” at the end of paragraph (b) and by adding the following after paragraph (c):

  • (d) they have submitted the results of an evaluation — by an organization or institution designated under subsection 74(3) and which must be less than two years old on the date on which their application is made — of their proficiency in either English or French indicating that they have met or exceeded the applicable language proficiency threshold fixed by the Minister under subsection 74(1) for each of the four language skill areas; and

  • (e) they have submitted one of the following:
    • (i) their Canadian educational credential, or

    • (ii) their foreign diploma, certificate or credential and the equivalency assessment, which assessment must be less than five years old on the date on which their application is made.

(3) Section 75 of the Regulations is amended by adding the following after subsection (2):

If professional body designated

(2.1) If a professional body has been designated under subsection (4) in respect of the occupation identified by the foreign national in their application as their primary occupation, the foreign diploma, certificate or credential submitted by the foreign national must be relevant to that occupation and the equivalency assessment — which must be less than five years old on the date on which their application is made and must be issued by the designated professional body — must establish that the foreign diploma, certificate or credential is equivalent to the Canadian educational credential required to practise that occupation in at least one of the provinces in which the equivalency assessments issued by this professional body are recognized.

(4) Section 75 of the Regulations is amended by adding the following after subsection (3):

Designation for equivalency assessment

(4) For the purposes of paragraph (2)(e) and subsection (2.1), the Minister may designate, for a period specified by the Minister, any organization or institution to be responsible for issuing equivalency assessments

  • (a) if the organization or institution has the recognized expertise to assess the authenticity of foreign diplomas, certificates and credentials and their equivalency to Canadian educational credentials; and

  • (b) if, in the case of a professional body, their equivalency assessments are recognized by at least two provincial professional bodies that regulate an occupation listed in the National Occupational Classification matrix at Skill Level A or B for which licensing by a provincial regulatory body is required.

Public notice

(5) The Minister shall make available to the public a list of the designated organizations or institutions.

Definition “service agreement”

(6) For the purpose of subsection (7), “service agreement” means an agreement concluded between the Government of Canada and an organization or institution for the purpose of having the organization or institution supply the service of assessing the authenticity of foreign diplomas, certificates and credentials and their equivalency to Canadian educational credentials.

Revocation of designation

(7) The Minister may revoke a designation if

  • (a) the organization or institution no longer meets the criteria set out in subsection (4);

  • (b) the organization or institution submitted false, misleading or inaccurate information or has contravened any provision of federal or provincial legislation relevant to the service provided by the organization or institution; or

  • (c) either the Government of Canada or the organization or institution has terminated the service agreement.

Conclusive evidence

(8) For the purposes of paragraph (2)(e), subsection (2.1) and section 78, an equivalency assessment is conclusive evidence that the foreign diplomas, certificates or credentials are equivalent to Canadian educational credentials.

6. Subparagraphs 76(1)(b)(i) and (ii) of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

  • (i) have in the form of transferable and available funds, unencumbered by debts or other obligations, an amount equal to one half of the minimum necessary income applicable in respect of the group of persons consisting of the skilled worker and their family members, or
  • (ii) be awarded points under paragraph 82(2)(a), (b) or (d) for arranged employment, as defined in subsection 82(1), in Canada.

7. Sections 77 to 79 of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

Conformity — applicable times

77. For the purposes of Part 5, the requirements and criteria set out in sections 75 and 76 must be met on the date on which an application for a permanent resident visa is made and on the date on which it is issued.

Selection Grid

Education (25 points)

78. (1) Points shall be awarded, to a maximum of 25, for a skilled worker’s Canadian educational credential or equivalency assessment submitted in support of an application, as follows:

  • (a) 5 points for a secondary school credential;

  • (b) 15 points for a one-year post-secondary program credential;

  • (c) 19 points for a two-year post-secondary program credential;

  • (d) 21 points for a post-secondary program credential of three years or longer;

  • (e) 22 points for two or more post-secondary program credentials, one of which must be a credential issued on completion of a post-secondary program of three years or longer;

  • (f) 23 points for a university-level credential at the master’s level or at the level of an entry-to-practice professional degree for an occupation listed in the National Occupational Classification matrix at Skill Level A for which licensing by a provincial regulatory body is required; and

  • (g) 25 points for a university-level credential at the doctoral level.

More than one educational credential

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), points

  • (a) except as set out in paragraph (1)(e), shall not be awarded cumulatively on the basis of more than one educational credential; and

  • (b) shall be awarded on the basis of the Canadian educational credentials or equivalency assessments submitted in support of an application for a permanent resident visa that result in the highest number of points.

Official languages

79. (1) A skilled worker must identify in their application for a permanent resident visa which language — English or French — is to be considered their first official language in Canada. They must have their proficiency in that language evaluated by an organization or institution designated under subsection 74(3).

Proficiency in second language

(2) If the skilled worker wishes to claim points for proficiency in their second official language they must, with the application for a permanent resident visa, submit the results of an evaluation — which must be less than two years old on the date on which their application is made — of their proficiency by an organization or institution designated under subsection 74(3).

Proficiency in English and French (28 points)

(3) Points for proficiency in the official languages of Canada shall be awarded up to a maximum of 24 points for the skilled worker’s first official language and a maximum of 4 points for the applicant’s second official language based on benchmarks set out in Canadian Language Benchmarks and the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens, as follows:

  • (a) for the four language skill areas in the skilled worker’s first official language,
    • (i) 4 points per language skill area if the skilled worker’s proficiency meets the threshold fixed by the Minister under subsection 74(1) for that language skill area,

    • (ii) 5 points per language skill area if the skilled worker’s proficiency exceeds the threshold fixed by the Minister under subsection 74(1) for that language skill area by one benchmark level, and

    • (iii) 6 points per language skill area if the skilled worker’s proficiency exceeds the threshold fixed by the Minister under subsection 74(1) for that language skill area by at least two benchmark levels; and
  • (b) for the four language skill areas in the skilled worker’s second official language, 4 points if the skilled worker’s proficiency in that language meets or exceeds benchmark level 5 in each of the four language skill areas.

8. Subsections 79(3) and (4) of the Regulations are repealed.

9. (1) Subsection 80(1) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

Experience (15 points)

80. (1) Points shall be awarded, up to a maximum of 15 points, to a skilled worker for full-time work experience, or the equivalent in part-time work, within the 10 years before the date on which their application is made, as follows:

  • (a) 9 points for one year of work experience;

  • (b) 11 points for two to three years of work experience;

  • (c) 13 points for four to five years of work experience; and

  • (d) 15 points for six or more years of work experience.

(2) Subsection 80(7) of the Regulations is repealed.

10. Section 81 of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

Age (12 points)

81. Points shall be awarded, up to a maximum of 12, for a skilled worker’s age on the date on which their application is made, as follows:

  • (a) 12 points for a skilled worker 18 years of age or 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.

11. (1) Subsection 82(1) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

Definition “arranged employment”

82. (1) In this section, “arranged employment” means an offer of employment, in an occupation listed in Skill Type 0 Management Occupations or Skill Level A or B of the National Occupational Classification matrix, that is made by an employer other than an embassy, high commission or consulate in Canada or an employer that appears on the list referred to in subsection 203(6), for full-time work in Canada that is non-seasonal and indeterminate.

(2) The portion of subsection 82(2) of the Regulations before subparagraph ( d )(ii) is replaced by the following:

Arranged employment (10 points)

(2) Ten points shall be awarded to a skilled worker for arranged employment if they are able to perform and are likely to accept and carry out the employment and

  • (a) the skilled worker is in Canada and holds a work permit that is valid on the date on which their application for a permanent resident visa is made and, on the date on which it is issued, holds a valid work permit or is authorized to work in Canada under section 186, and
    • (i) the work permit was issued based on a positive determination by an officer under subsection 203(1) with respect to the skilled worker’s employment in an occupation listed in Skill Type 0 Management Occupations or Skill Level A or B of the National Occupational Classification matrix,

    • (ii) the skilled worker is working for an employer specified on the work permit, and

    • (iii) the employer has made an offer of arranged employment to the skilled worker subject to the permanent resident visa being issued to the skilled worker;
  • (b) the skilled worker is in Canada and
    • (i) holds a work permit referred to in paragraph 204(a) or (c) that is valid on the date on which their application for a permanent resident visa is made and, on the date on which it is issued, holds a valid work permit or is authorized to work in Canada under section 186, and

    • (ii) the circumstances referred to in subparagraphs (a)(ii) and (iii) apply;
  • (c) the skilled worker does not hold a valid work permit and is not authorized to work in Canada under section 186 on the date on which their application for a permanent resident visa is made and
    • (i) an employer has made an offer of arranged employment to the skilled worker, and

    • (ii) an officer has approved the offer of employment based on an opinion — provided to the officer by the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development, on the same basis as an opinion provided for the issuance of a work permit, at the request of the employer or an officer — that the requirements set out in subsection 203(1) with respect to the offer have been met; or
  • (d) the skilled worker holds a valid work permit or is authorized to work in Canada under section 186 on the date on which their application for a permanent resident visa is made and on the date on which it is issued, and
    • (i) the circumstances referred to in subparagraphs (a)(ii) and (iii) and paragraph (b) do not apply, and

12. (1) Paragraphs 83(1)(a) to (c) of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

  • (a) for the skilled worker’s accompanying spouse or common-law partner, other than a permanent resident residing in Canada or a Canadian citizen, the language proficiency in either official language of at least benchmark level 4 for each of the four language skill areas, as set out in the Canadian Language Benchmarks and the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens, as demonstrated by the results of an evaluation by an organization or institution designated under subsection 74(3), 5 points;

  • (b) for a period of full-time study in Canada by the skilled worker of at least two academic years in a program of at least two years in duration whether or not they obtained an educational credential for completing the program and during which period they remained in good academic standing as defined by the institution, 5 points;

  • (b.1) for a period of full-time study in Canada by the skilled worker’s accompanying spouse or common-law partner, other than a permanent resident residing in Canada or a Canadian citizen, of at least two academic years in a program of at least two years in duration whether or not the accompanying spouse or common-law partner obtained an educational credential for completing the program, and during which period the accompanying spouse or common-law partner remained in good academic standing as defined by the institution, 5 points;

  • (c) for any previous period of full-time work under a work permit or authorized under section 186 of at least one year in Canada by the skilled worker in an occupation that is listed in Skill Type 0 Management Occupations or Skill Level A or B of the National Occupational Classification matrix, 10 points;

  • (c.1) for any previous period of full-time work under a work permit or authorized under section 186 of at least one year in Canada by the skilled worker’s accompanying spouse or common-law partner, other than a permanent resident residing in Canada or a Canadian citizen, 5 points;

(2) Subsections 83(2) to (4) of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

Full-time study

(2) For the purposes of paragraphs (1)(b) and (b.1), full-time study means at least 15 hours of instruction per week during the academic year, authorized under a study permit or under section 188, at a secondary or post-secondary institution in Canada that is recognized by the provincial authorities responsible for registering, accrediting, supervising and regulating such institutions, including any period of training in the workplace that forms part of the course of instruction.

(3) The portion of paragraph 83(5)(a) of the Regulations before subparagraph (i) is replaced by the following:

  • (a) the skilled worker or the skilled worker’s accompanying spouse or accompanying common-law partner is related by blood, marriage, common-law partnership or adoption to a person who is 18 years or older, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident living in Canada and who is

(4) Subsection 83(5) of the Regulations is amended by striking out “or” at the end of paragraph (a) and by repealing paragraph (b).

13. (1) Subsection 87.1(1) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

Class

87.1 (1) For the purposes of subsection 12(2) of the Act, the Canadian experience class is prescribed as a class of persons who may become permanent residents on the basis of their ability to become economically established in Canada, their experience in Canada, and their intention to reside in a province other than the Province of Quebec.

(2) Paragraphs 87.1(2)(a) and (b) of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

  • (a) they have acquired in Canada, within the three years before the date on which their application for permanent residence is made, at least one year of full-time work experience, or the equivalent in part-time work experience, in one or more occupations that are listed in Skill Type 0 Management Occupations or Skill Level A or B of the National Occupational Classification matrix, exclusive of restricted occupations; and

  • (b) during that period of employment they performed the actions described in the lead statement for the occupation as set out in the occupational descriptions of the National Occupational Classification;

  • (c) during that period of employment they performed a substantial number of the main duties of the occupation as set out in the occupational descriptions of the National Occupational Classification, including all of the essential duties;

  • (d) they have had their proficiency in the English or French language evaluated by an organization or institution designated under subsection 74(3) and have met the applicable threshold fixed by the Minister under subsection 74(1) for each of the four language skill areas; and

  • (e) in the case where they have acquired the work experience referred to in paragraph (a) in more than one occupation, they meet the threshold for proficiency in the English or French language, fixed by the Minister under subsection 74(1), for the occupation in which they have acquired the greater amount of work experience in the three years referred to in paragraph (a).

(3) Paragraph 87.1(3)(a) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

  • (a) any period of employment during which the foreign national was engaged in full-time study shall not be included in calculating a period of work experience;

(4) Subsection 87.1(3) of the Regulations is amended by adding “and” at the end of paragraph ( b ) and by repealing paragraphs (d) to (g).

(5) Subsections 87.1(4) and (5) of the Regulations are repealed.

14. The Regulations are amended by adding the following after section 87.1:

Federal Skilled Trades Class

Definition “skilled trade occupation”

87.2 (1) In this section, “skilled trade occupation” means an occupation, unless the occupation has been designated a restricted occupation by the Minister, in the following categories listed in Skill Level B of the National Occupational Classification matrix:

  • (a) Major Group 72, industrial, electrical and construction trades;

  • (b) Major Group 73, maintenance and equipment operation trades;

  • (c) Major Group 82, supervisors and technical occupations in natural resources, agriculture and related production;

  • (d) Major Group 92, processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators;

  • (e) Minor Group 632, chefs and cooks; and

  • (f) Minor Group 633, butchers and bakers.

Class

(2) For the purposes of subsection 12(2) of the Act, the federal skilled trades class is prescribed as a class of persons who are skilled trades workers and who may become permanent residents on the basis of their ability to become economically established in Canada in a skilled trade occupation and their intention to reside in a province other than the Province of Quebec.

Member of class

(3) A foreign national is a member of the federal skilled trades class if

  • (a) following an evaluation by an organization or institution designated under subsection 74(3), they meet the threshold fixed by the Minister under subsection 74(1) for proficiency in either English or French for each of the four language skill areas;

  • (b) they have, during the five years before the date on which their permanent resident visa application is made, acquired at least two years of full-time work experience, or the equivalent in part-time work, in the skilled trade occupation specified in the application after becoming qualified to independently practice the occupation, and during that period of employment has performed
    • (i) the actions described in the lead statement for the occupation as set out in the occupational descriptions of the National Occupational Classification, and
    • (ii) a substantial number of the main duties listed in the description of the occupation set out in the National Occupational Classification, including all of the essential duties;
  • (c) they have met the relevant employment requirements of the skilled trade occupation specified in the application as set out in the National Occupational Classification, except for the requirement to obtain a certificate of qualification issued by a competent provincial authority; and

  • (d) they meet at least one of the following requirements:
    • (i) they hold a certificate of qualification issued by a competent provincial authority in the skilled trade occupation specified in the application,

    • (ii) they are in Canada and hold a work permit that is valid on the date on which their application is made and, on the date on which the visa is issued, hold a valid work permit or are authorized to work in Canada under section 186, and
      • (A) the work permit was issued based on a positive determination by an officer under subsection 203(1) with respect to their employment in a skilled trade occupation,

      • (B) they are working for any employer specified on the work permit, and

      • (C) they hold an offer of employment — for continuous full-time work for a total of at least one year in the skilled trade occupation that is specified in the application and is in the same minor group set out in the National Occupational Classification as the occupation specified on their work permit — that is made by up to two employers, other than an embassy, high commission or consulate in Canada or an employer whose name appears on the list referred to in subsection 203(6), who are specified on the work permit, subject to the visa being issued to the foreign national,
    • (iii) they are in Canada and hold a work permit referred to in paragraph 204(a) or (c) — that is valid on the date on which their application is received — and, on the date on which the visa is issued, hold a valid work permit or are authorized to work in Canada under section 186, and the circumstances referred to in clauses (ii)(B) and (C) apply,

    • (iv) they do not hold a valid work permit or are not authorized to work in Canada under section 186 on the date on which their application is made and
      • (A) up to two employers, other than an embassy, high commission or consulate in Canada or an employer whose name appears on the list referred to in subsection 203(6), have made an offer of employment in the skilled trade occupation specified in the application for continuous full-time work for a total of at least one year to them subject to the visa being issued to them, and

      • (B) an officer has approved the offer for full-time work — based on an opinion provided to the officer by the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development, on the same basis as an opinion provided for the issuance of a work permit, at the request of up to two employers or an officer — that the requirements set out in subsection 203(1) with respect to the offer have been met, and
    • (v) they either hold a valid work permit or are authorized to work in Canada under sec tion 186 on the date on which their application for a permanent resident visa is made and on the date on which it is issued, and
      • (A) the circumstances referred to in clauses (ii)(B) and (C) and subparagraph (iii) do not apply, and

      • (B) the circumstances referred to in clauses (iv)(A) and (B) apply.

Substitution of officer’s evaluation

(4) If the requirements referred to in subsection (3), whether or not they are met, are not sufficient indicators of whether the foreign national will become economically established in Canada, an officer may substitute their evaluation for the requirements. This decision requires the concurrence of another officer.

Requirement for funds

(5) With the exception of the foreign nationals referred to in subparagraphs (3)(d)(ii), (iii) and (v), the foreign national must have, in the form of transferable and available funds, unencumbered by debts or other obligations, an amount equal to one half of the minimum necessary income applicable in respect of the group of persons consisting of the skilled trades worker and their family members.

15. Section 88 of the Regulations is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order:

  • “language skill area”
    « habileté langagièree »
  • “language skill area” means speaking, oral comprehension, reading or writing.

16. Paragraphs 102(1)(a) to (c) of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

  • (a) age, in accordance with section 102.1;

  • (b) education, in accordance with section 102.2;

  • (c) proficiency in the official languages of Canada, in accordance with section 102.3;

17. The Regulations are amended by adding the following after section 102:

Age (10 points)

102.1 Points shall be awarded, up to a maximum of 10, for a foreign national’s age on the date on which their application is made, as follows:

  • (a) 10 points for a foreign national 21 years of age or older but less than 50 years of age;

  • (b) 8 points for a foreign national 20 or 50 years of age;

  • (c) 6 points for a foreign national 19 or 51 years of age;

  • (d) 4 points for a foreign national 18 or 52 years of age;

  • (e) 2 points for a foreign national 17 or 53 years of age; and

  • (f) 0 points, for a foreign national under 17 years of age or 54 years of age or older.

Definitions

102.2 (1) The following definitions apply in this section.

  • “full-time”
    « temps plein »
  • “full-time” means, in relation to a program of study leading to an educational credential, at least 15 hours of instruction per week during the academic year, including any period of training in the workplace that forms part of the course of instruction.
  • “full-time equivalent”
    « équivalent temps plein »
  • “full-time equivalent” means, in respect of part-time or accelerated studies, the number of years that would have been required to complete the equivalent of those studies on a full-time basis.

Education (25 points)

(2) Points shall be awarded, to a maximum of 25, for a foreign national’s education as follows:

  • (a) 5 points for a secondary school educational credential;

  • (b) 12 points for a one-year post-secondary educational credential, other than a university educational credential, and a total of at least 12 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies;

  • (c) 15 points for
    • (i) a one-year post-secondary educational credential, other than a university educational credential, and a total of at least 13 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies, or

    • (ii) a one-year university educational credential at the bachelor’s level and a total of at least 13 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies;
  • (d) 20 points for
    • (i) a two-year post-secondary educational credential, other than a university educational credential, and a total of at least 14 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies, or

    • (ii) a two-year university educational credential at the bachelor’s level and a total of at least 14 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies;
  • (e) 22 points for
    • (i) a three-year post-secondary educational credential, other than a university educational credential, and a total of at least 15 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies, or

    • (ii) two or more university educational credentials at the bachelor’s level and a total of at least 15 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies; and
  • (f) 25 points for a university educational credential at the master’s or doctoral level and a total of at least 17 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies.

More than one educational credential

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2), points

  • (a) shall not be awarded cumulatively on the basis of more than one educational credential; and

  • (b) shall be awarded
    • (i) for the purposes of paragraphs (2)(a) to (d), subparagraph (2)(e)(i) and paragraph (2)(f), on the basis of the educational credential that results in the highest number of points, and

    • (ii) for the purposes of subparagraph (2)(e)(ii), on the basis of the combined educational credentials referred to in that paragraph.

Special circumstances

(4) For the purposes of subsection (2), if a foreign national has an educational credential referred to in any of paragraphs (2)(b) to (f), but not the total number of years of full-time or full-time equivalent studies required, the foreign national shall be awarded the same number of points as the number of years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies set out in the paragraph.

Official languages

102.3 (1) A foreign national must specify in their application for a permanent resident visa which language — English or French — is to be considered their first official language in Canada. They must have their proficiency in that language evaluated by an organization or institution designated under subsection (4).

Proficiency in second language

(2) If the foreign national wishes to claim points for proficiency in their second official language they must, with the application for a permanent resident visa, submit the results of an evaluation — which must be less than two years old on the date on which their application is made — of their proficiency by an organization or institution designated under subsection (4).

Proficiency in English and French (24 points)

(3) Points for proficiency in the official languages of Canada shall be awarded up to a maximum of 24 points based on the benchmarks referred to in the Canadian Language Benchmarks and the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens, as follows:

  • (a) for high proficiency
    • (i) in the first official language, 4 points for each language skill area if the foreign national’s proficiency corresponds to a benchmark of 8 or higher, and

    • (ii) in the second official language, 2 points for each language skill area if the foreign national’s proficiency corresponds to a benchmark of 8 or higher;
  • (b) for moderate proficiency
    • (i) in the first official language, 2 points for each language skill area if the foreign national’s proficiency corresponds to a benchmark of 6 or 7, and

    • (ii) in the second official language, 2 points for each language skill area if the foreign national’s proficiency corresponds to a benchmark of 6 or 7;
  • (c) for basic proficiency in either official language, 1 point for each language skill area, up to a maximum of 2 points, if the foreign national’s proficiency corresponds to a benchmark of 4 or 5; and

  • (d) for no proficiency in either official language, 0 points if the foreign national’s proficiency corresponds to a benchmark of 3 or lower.

Designation for evaluating language proficiency

(4) The Minister may designate, for any period specified by the Minister, any organization or institution to be responsible for evaluating language proficiency if the organization or institution has expertise in evaluating language proficiency and if the organization or institution has provided a correlation of its evaluation results to the benchmarks set out in the Canadian Language Benchmarks and the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens.

Public notice

(5) The Minister shall make available to the public a list of the designated organizations or institutions.

Definition “service agreement”

(6) For the purposes of subsection (7), “service agreement” means an agreement concluded between the Government of Canada and an organization or institution for the purpose of having the organization or institution supply the service of evaluating the language proficiency of foreign nationals.

Revocation of designation

(7) The Minister may revoke a designation if

  • (a) the organization or institution no longer meets the criteria set out in subsection (4);

  • (b) the organization or institution submitted false, misleading or inaccurate information or has contravened any provision of federal or provincial legislation relevant to the service provided by the organization or institution; or

  • (c) either the government of Canada or the organization or institution has terminated the service agreement.

Conclusive evidence

(8) The results of an evaluation of a foreign national’s language proficiency by a designated organization or institution and the correlation of those results with the benchmarks under subsection (4) are conclusive evidence of the foreign national’s proficiency in the official languages of Canada for the purposes of subsection (1).

TRANSITIONAL PROVISION

18. (1) A permanent resident visa application for the Canadian experience class that is made before the day on which section 13 comes into force will be processed in accordance with Part 6 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations as that Part read immediately before the coming into force of section 13.

(2) A permanent resident visa application for the federal skilled worker class that is made before the day on which sections 9 to 12 come into force will be processed in accordance with Part 6 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations as that Part read immediately before the coming into force of sections 9 to 12.

COMING INTO FORCE

19. (1) Subject to subsection (2), these Regulations come into force on January 2, 2013.

(2) Subsection 5(1) to (3) and sections 6 and 7 and 9 to 12 come into force on May 4, 2013.

REGULATORY IMPACT
ANALYSIS STATEMENT


(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)

Executive summary

Issue: The Economic Action Plan 2012 announced the Government of Canada’s intention to build a fast and flexible economic immigration selection system with a primary focus on meeting Canada’s labour market needs. These needs are evolving, marked by an ageing workforce and an economy that has a growing requirement for highly skilled professionals, paired with emerging shortages in certain skilled trades. Limited access to the type of talent required by Canada’s labour market inhibits economic growth. Federal economic immigration programs seek to supplement domestic labour supply by selecting highly skilled applicants with work experience in managerial, professional, technical or trade occupations. However, the previous economic immigration selection criteria did not adequately respond to Canada’s evolving labour market needs, given that some skilled workers admitted through the programs continue to have difficulty finding jobs in their field, and some employers also face challenges in finding the workers with the skills and qualifications they need.

Description: A three-pronged approach is being introduced 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).

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) establish the selection criteria for the FSWC and prescribe the weight given to each selection factor. Primarily, the regulatory amendments to the FSWC will rebalance the points among the criteria to place greater importance on factors that are most strongly associated with successful economic outcomes, such as language abilities, Canadian work experience, and the ability to contribute to the Canadian labour market for a longer period before retirement. Applicants will be required to submit either their Canadian educational credentials or an assessment of the Canadian equivalency of foreign educational credentials, issued by a designated organization. Points will be awarded based on the equivalent completed Canadian educational credential. Permanent job offers under the Arranged Employment factor, with some exceptions, will be subject to a labour market assessment, similar to that required for applicants under the Temporary Foreign Worker Class (TFWC). This will further solidify program integrity and assess the impact of the prospective skilled worker on the Canadian labour market, while streamlining the process for prospective employers.

This regulatory package also creates a separate new class for skilled tradespersons. Its pass/fail selection model is based on four selection criteria reflective of the education and training pathways in these occupations and it is more indicative of a skilled tradesperson’s ability to work in Canada. The program requires an offer of employment in Canada or a certificate of qualification from a provincial or territorial authority in a skilled trade; demonstrated proficiency in an official language; work experience in that skilled trade; and that the Canadian employment requirements for that occupation, as described in the National Occupational Classification system, (see footnote 2) are met.

Measures are also taken in the CEC to ease the transition to permanent residence of skilled temporary workers who have demonstrated an ability to economically integrate in Canada, by revising regulations to reduce the required number of months of Canadian work experience for qualification in the program.

Through these regulatory amendments, skilled workers can apply under one of these three federal classes, primarily depending on their type of work experience and whether it was acquired in Canada. Those in managerial, professional or technical occupations can apply under the improved FSWC. Although applicants in the skilled trades can also apply under the FSWC, the criteria in the FSTC will be better adapted to suit skilled tradespersons, should they have an offer of employment in Canada or a certificate of qualification from a Canadian provincial or territorial authority and meet the other criteria. Skilled workers already employed in Canada could benefit from enhancements to the CEC.

Cost-benefit statement: The cost-benefit analysis (CBA) estimates that the overall cost associated with these amendments will be $8.3 million. The estimated overall benefit is $146.2 million, resulting in a net benefit of $138 million over 10 years or an average of $13.8 million per year. In addition to the monetized impacts, there are qualitative benefits and costs. Key qualitative benefits include the improved overall profile of federal skilled workers resulting from modified assessment criteria to better meet Canada’s economic needs (i.e. minimum language proficiency, better assessment of foreign educational credentials, revised age points to attract younger applicants and enhanced adaptability factors). Taken together, these changes will result in the selection of skilled workers who are a better fit to the Canadian labour market. Other qualitative benefits will include the increased entry of skilled tradespersons into the labour market, benefits to employers who will gain from quicker access to the skilled talent they need, and the facilitation of the transition of temporary residents who have demonstrated an ability to integrate into the Canadian labour market and wish to apply for permanent residence under the CEC. Qualitative costs will include costs to provincial and territorial apprenticeship bodies of certifying skilled tradespersons in designated trades, should provinces and territories choose to increase their capacity to conduct more assessments.

Business and consumer impacts: This proposal is intended to benefit employers and applicants. By adapting the language, education, age and skill profile of skilled workers, newcomers selected under the FSWC and the FSTC will find employment that more closely matches their qualifications more quickly than they were able to under the previous framework. Employers are expected to benefit by experiencing less time to access and train the skilled foreign workers they require. Administrative measures to enhance the program integrity of the Arranged Employment factor will mitigate the potential for fraud while assisting legitimate employers. These measures will seek to reduce the paper burden on employers and streamline the process for both employers and skilled workers with regard to offers of arranged employment.

Background

As one of the main avenues for permanent economic immigration to Canada, the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC) responds to national and structural labour market needs by selecting immigrants based on their potential to become economically established in Canada. Each applicant’s essential and transferable skills are measured on a selection grid worth up to 100 points, and currently a minimum of 67 points is required to pass. Points are awarded for the candidate’s proficiency in one or both official languages, education, work experience, age, whether they have an indeterminate job offer in Canada (arranged employment), and their overall adaptability (such as previous work and study in Canada, an accompanying spouse / common-law partner’s education and the presence of relatives in Canada).

In 2011, approximately 37% of Canada’s economic immigrants were admitted through the FSWC (20 549 principal applicants plus 36 728 of their dependents). Of those, approximately 1 000 were skilled tradespersons, representing 1.9% of all permanent residents selected through this program. In addition, the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the in-Canada immigration program begun in 2008, admitted 4% of Canada’s economic immigrants (3 973 principal applicants and 2 049 dependents), of whom 7.6% (458 permanent residents) were skilled tradespersons.

In the Economic Action Plan 2012 (Budget 2012), the Government of Canada announced its intention to build a fast and flexible economic immigration system with a primary focus on meeting Canada’s labour market needs. Specifically, the Plan stated the following:

To ensure that immigrants are ready to work, the assessment of educational credentials will be strengthened and the federal skilled worker point system will be reformed to reflect the importance of younger immigrants with Canadian work experience and better language skills.

The Government will provide further incentives to retain educated and experienced talent through the Canadian Experience Class and introduce a new stream to facilitate the entry of skilled tradespersons.

The points system was a Canadian innovation in the late 1960s. It was a method designed to reduce subjectivity in the selection of independent immigrants and select individuals with the education and skill level needed to propel the Canadian economy forward at a time of international industrial competition. The criteria were adapted in 2002, through the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), to focus on the longer-term potential of human capital and factors associated with lifetime productivity and adaptability, such as education, language skills, and work experience. Several countries have since adapted the points-based selection model to their own circumstances, including Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, and Singapore.

Issue

Since the development of the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) selection model, Canadian labour market needs have continued to evolve, marked by an ageing workforce and a growing demand for highly skilled professionals in the knowledge economy (e.g. specialized healthcare providers, information and communications technologies workers, and aerospace and other engineers). Employers in construction and natural resource sectors are also calling for workers to fill shortages in certain skilled trades.

Labour supply and demand projections forecast that two thirds of all new jobs created over the next decade are expected to be highly skilled occupations requiring postsecondary education, at university or college, or in skilled trades. However, research indicates that despite having higher levels of education than the general Canadian population, new immigrants continue to be subject to higher levels of unemployment and lower wages than Canadian-born workers. (see footnote 3) The top three barriers highly educated immigrants face in obtaining Canadian employment commensurate with their skills and education are the lack of official language skills, the non-transferability of their foreign credentials and a lack of Canadian work experience. (see footnote 4), (see footnote 5) In terms of economic outcomes, studies have shown that highly skilled immigrants have better labour market attachment and ultimately higher earnings. They are also more resilient during economic downturns.

Federal economic immigration programs seek to supplement domestic labour supply by selecting highly skilled applicants with work experience in managerial, professional, technical or trades occupations. In 2010, CIC evaluated the FSWC program. The program evaluation determined that it is producing positive results overall, but also suggested areas for improvement. The evaluation indicated that 22% of FSWs surveyed felt that their current job did not meet their expectations. The reasons for this, which are consistent with academic research on the difficulties faced by highly educated immigrants, include language barriers, the job not being in their intended occupation, and/or foreign education and experience not being recognized by Canadian employers, or in the case of regulated occupations, by provincially-mandated regulatory authorities. The evaluation recommended placing greater emphasis on full fluency in one of the official languages.

The evaluation also noted concerns regarding the integrity in the Arranged Employment (AE) factor, namely the use of fraudulent job offers to compensate for insufficient points in other areas. Subsequent quality assurance exercises conducted in visa offices abroad indicated trends in fraudulent job offers to make applicants eligible for priority processing under ministerial instructions (MI). (see footnote 6) The due diligence required to assess the validity of job offers is time consuming and can lead to lengthy wait times for applicants and the employers wishing to hire them.

The human capital model used in the FSWC suggests that better-educated workers can more readily adjust to an increasingly dynamic and competitive knowledge economy. However, although needed in the labour market, skilled tradespersons generally have more difficulty than applicants with advanced post-secondary academic credentials in obtaining sufficient points to pass the selection grid. In 2011, only a small proportion selected through the FSWC and the CEC — approximately 1 000, or 1.9%, of FSWs selected annually and 458, or 7.6%, of CECs — were tradespersons. With continuing and forecast shortages in certain skilled trades, (see footnote 7) many stakeholders are calling upon immigration to be part of the solution for trade workforce renewal.

Studies show that skilled workers with Canadian experience do better economically than those without. (see footnote 8), (see footnote 9) Although the CEC has been praised for its two-step immigration process which allows students and temporary workers to make the transition to permanent residence after acquiring Canadian work experience, the number of those doing so is still relatively small. The usual duration of temporary work permits previously created a situation where most Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) lost their status in Canada at the point where they would otherwise become eligible for the CEC. Canada risks losing qualified new immigrants if it does not take additional measures to facilitate the retention of these highly skilled workers. Program changes are required to respond to Canada’s evolving economic needs.

Objectives

The main objectives of this regulatory package are

  • (1) to improve the economic outcomes of principal applicants accepted in the FSWC, by selecting candidates who will be able to integrate more rapidly and successfully into the Canadian economy, and by increasing the integrity and labour market responsiveness of the Arranged Employment factor;
  • (2) to meet Canada’s skilled labour needs by reducing barriers to the immigration of skilled tradespersons; and
  • (3) to make permanent residence more accessible to skilled workers who have demonstrated an ability to integrate into the Canadian labour market.

Overall, the Regulations are intended to contribute to improving the Canadian economy and strengthening Canada’s position in the global competition for talent through the selection of highly qualified foreign national skilled workers.

Description

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has developed a three-pronged approach through amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) to improve economic immigration outcomes:

  • (a) Update the FSWC by rebalancing the points among existing criteria, introducing mandatory language thresholds, requiring an educational credential assessment at the time of application if the educational credential submitted is from a foreign jurisdiction, streamlining the arranged employment process, and reducing the potential for fraudulent job offers under the Arranged Employment factor;

  • (b) Introduce a separate new Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC) to facilitate the immigration of certain highly skilled tradespersons in Canada, in response to labour market needs; and

  • (c) Reduce the CEC work experience requirement to ease the transition to permanent residence of temporary skilled foreign workers who have demonstrated an ability to integrate into the Canadian labour market.

Under these changes, skilled workers wishing to immigrate to Canada will be able to apply under one of three separate classes, depending on their work experience and whether it was acquired in Canada. Those in managerial, professional, or technical occupations can apply under the improved FSWC by specifying the primary occupation under which they would like to be assessed, while those in the skilled trades will benefit from criteria more reflective of the education and training pathways in these occupations through the FSTC. In addition, TFWs already in Canada in skilled occupations, and their employers, will benefit from a faster transition to permanent residence via the CEC. These amendments are based on recent research, program evaluation results, consultation with stakeholders, feedback received through the regulatory process, and best practices in other countries, such as Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. (see footnote 10)

These changes will affect prospective permanent resident applicants in professional, managerial, technical and trades occupations. As was previously the case, to be eligible for the FSWC and CEC, applicants must have work experience in one or more occupations listed in the National Occupation Classifications (NOC) matrix at Skill Type 0 (management occupations), Skill Level A (professional occupations), or Skill Level B (technical occupations and skilled trades). To qualify for the FSTC, only applicants with work experience in certain skilled trade occupations listed at Skill Level B are eligible. Lower-skilled occupations requiring only secondary school and/or occupation-specific training (NOC Skill Level C), and those requiring only on-the-job training (NOC Skill Level D), are not eligible.

(a) Revised FSWC points system for managers/professionals/ technicians

Specific features of the regulatory changes to the points system include the following.

  • Requiring applicants to meet the minimum work experience requirement in their primary occupation. The minimum requirement to have one year of full-time continuous paid work experience (or the equivalent in continuous part time paid work) has been clarified by adding that the experience must have been obtained in a single occupation. Applicants are required to identify their primary occupation, which will be used to determine whether they meet the minimum program requirements that are set out in the Regulations.

  • Requiring a minimum level of language proficiency. CIC recognizes the importance of language to socio-economic integration and is therefore (1) requiring minimum language abilities in order to qualify for the program; and (2) significantly increasing the maximum points awarded for fluency in one official language from 16 points to 24 points. Under these Regulations, the Minister will fix the language threshold according to criteria set out in the Regulations. The Regulations also provide that the Minister will communicate that threshold publicly. Initially, it is anticipated that the threshold will be set at Canadian Language Benchmark 7 (CLB 7) or Niveau de compétence linguistique canadien 7 (NCLC 7) for all four abilities (speaking, oral comprehension, reading and writing). This threshold corresponds to having “adequate intermediate proficiency.” The CLB and NCLC are recognized as the official Canadian standards for describing, measuring and recognizing the language proficiency of adult immigrants and prospective immigrants in both English and French. Language assessments must have been issued no more than two years prior to when the application is received by CIC.

The number of points for the second official language is reduced from 8 points to 4 points, for abilities at level CLB 5 and above, in response to research and feedback from stakeholders, noting the lack of evidence that this factor contributes to positive economic outcomes for the majority of applicants. Bilingualism continues to be rewarded in the selection system, in recognition of the IRPA’s objectives related to official language minority communities and respecting the bilingual character of Canada. With these changes, language proficiency becomes the most important factor on the grid, representing a total of 28 points, an increase from 24 points, in recognition of its critical importance in ensuring positive economic outcomes.

  • Placing a greater emphasis on younger workers. Younger immigrants generally integrate more rapidly into the labour market, and they usually spend a greater number of years contributing to Canada’s economy. By contrast, immigrants aged 45 or older experience unemployment rates almost double those aged 25 to 34 years. (see footnote 11) The revised selection grid favours younger immigrants by awarding a maximum of 12 points for applicants aged 18 to 35, compared to applicants aged 21 to 49 who receive maximum points for age under the previous grid, with diminishing points awarded until age 46. With these changes, no age points are awarded after age 46; however, workers aged 47 or older continue to be eligible for the program.

  • Redirecting points from work experience. Foreign work experience is largely discounted by Canadian employers when the immigrant first enters the Canadian labour market, and it is a weak predictor of economic success. (see footnote 12) CIC is reducing the total number of points for all work experience, regardless of where it is obtained, from 21 to 15, and will increase the years of experience required to achieve full points, from four years to six. (see footnote 13) These changes will reflect the relative value Canadian employers place on foreign work experience, and redirect points to language and age factors, which are better indicators of success in the Canadian labour market.

  • Requiring a foreign educational credential assessment and changing education points. Previously, education points were based on having a credential and the number of years required to obtain it. Under the revised regulations, two types of organizations are eligible to be designated to authenticate and assess the Canadian equivalency of foreign educational credentials: (1) organizations with expertise in authentication and assessment of foreign educational credentials; and (2) professional bodies whose assessments of foreign educational credentials are recognized by at least two provincial/territorial regulatory bodies. Both types of organizations can be designated to provide educational credential assessments and authentication for FSWC purposes, herein referred to as an educational credential assessment report (ECA Report), subject to the organizations meeting CIC requirements through a Call for Service Proposals process. Designated organizations will work on a case-by-case basis to authenticate diplomas, certificates, or credentials obtained in foreign jurisdictions and determine their equivalent value in Canada. This measure allows CIC to benefit from a better assessment of the value of a foreign educational credential in Canada. Applicants whose credentials are not equivalent to any Canadian programs of study as well as those who do not have a credential equivalent to a completed Canadian credential are not eligible for the FSWC. Points will be awarded according to how an applicant’s foreign educational credential equates to a completed educational credential in Canada.

In the case of applicants who have listed a regulated profession as their primary occupation in their application, and where a professional body has been designated to conduct foreign educational credential assessments for FSWC purposes, the applicant must submit an ECA Report from that professional body concluding that their foreign educational credential is equivalent to the Canadian educational credential required to practice that occupation in at least one province/ territory where that professional body is recognized.

Should the ECA Report indicate that an applicant’s foreign educational credential is not equivalent to the Canadian educational credential required to practice the primary occupation, the applicant will not be eligible to apply in the FSWC under that regulated occupation. Educational credential assessments will need to have been issued by a designated organization no more than five years prior to when the application is received by CIC. Educational credential assessments issued prior to the designation of the organization by the Minister of CIC will not be considered for immigration purposes.

  • Streamlining the arranged employment process and reducing the potential for fraudulent job offers. The evaluation of the FSWC showed that people who immigrate with a valid job offer do very well in Canada, earning 79% more in wages in the first three years after arrival than people without arranged employment. However, it also demonstrated that a more rigorous assessment of the employer and job offer is needed to curb fraud. Stakeholders also called on CIC to improve overall processing times of applications with arranged employment, both at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and CIC.

The specific objectives of this particular amendment are (1) to increase the integrity of the arranged employment factor by enhancing the genuineness assessment and labour market impact through the addition of measures such as the requirement that employers demonstrate that they have tried to first recruit and train Canadians for an available position; and (2) to improve labour market responsiveness by providing a faster and more streamlined process for employers and applicants.

With these changes, employers are required to apply for a labour market opinion (LMO) to HRSDC, whether it is in support of a temporary work permit application and/or a permanent residence application. Eliminating the arranged employment opinion (AEO) and replacing it with the LMO reduces the burden on employers in the event the worker seeks to apply for permanent residence concurrently with a temporary work permit application. Using all rather than some of the LMO assessment factors already used for the Temporary Foreign Worker Class (TFWC) enables a consistent and streamlined process for applicants and employers. These factors include the labour market impact of the entry of the foreign workers as it relates for example to wages, working conditions, recruitment efforts, labour shortages, and the genuineness of the job offer and the employer. The LMO reduces the potential for fraudulent job offers, thus contributing to improved program integrity, and ensures that the job offer meets broader Canadian labour market objectives. Returning employers with good program compliance records may be eligible for accelerated LMO processing. FSWC applicants with a positive or neutral LMO from HRSDC can be awarded up to 15 points on the selection grid. Some exceptions to the requirement for an LMO will apply with respect to labour mobility provisions under international agreements such as NAFTA and GATS. In these instances, employers will need to demonstrate to CIC that they are making a qualifying job offer (e.g. genuine, full-time, non-seasonal, and indeterminate) for the applicant to be awarded the points.

For programming consistency and integrity, CIC and HRSDC are extending the TFWC’s “substantially the same” (see footnote 14) compliance-related assessment of wages, working conditions and occupations, along with extending the TFWC list of ineligible employers to also include non-compliant employers in the FSWC and the FSTC.

  • Changing the adaptability factors. Changes to the adaptability criteria emphasize factors that are shown to have positive impacts on an immigrant’s economic and social integration. As employers value workers with Canadian work experience, the maximum number of points (10) is awarded if the principal applicant (PA) has qualifying previous work experience in Canada. The points for their previous study in Canada remain the same (5).

Furthermore, the 2010 evaluation noted concerns about points for spousal education since the economic outcomes of most applicants who received points for spousal education were the same as those who did not receive them. Visa officers also observed that many spouses / common-law partners had never worked in their field. Consultation feedback encouraged replacing the spousal education adaptability factor with spousal basic language proficiency to improve the likelihood of a family’s successful integration and to reduce spousal vulnerability. Given the overall importance of language proficiency for successful establishment, CIC has proceeded with this change.

To be awarded points for their previous study in Canada, the applicant or accompanying spouse needs to have obtained, studying full time in a program of at least a two-year duration, the necessary credits to successfully complete two years of study. For the purposes of adaptability, secondary school will be accepted as an eligible program of study.

The evaluation also noted that having a relative in Canada did not improve economic outcomes for skilled workers. However, in an effort to recognize other benefits that can be associated with having an adult relative in Canada, CIC has introduced minimum age criteria to increase the likelihood that the relative will be able to play a role in facilitating the economic and social integration of the applicant.

Adaptability points will not be awarded for spouses who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents living in Canada, as this is not the right venue for applicants who, for reasons of program integrity, should be assessed as members of the Family Class.

  • Settlement funds. Applicants already working in Canada or authorized to work in Canada have demonstrated their ability to enter the Canadian labour market and financially support themselves. Previously all applicants with qualifying offers of arranged employment in Canada were exempt from providing proof of settlement funds, whether they were working in Canada or not. These Regulations amend the exemption so that it no longer applies to recipients of arranged employment who are not working or authorized to work in Canada. All other applicants are required to provide proof of settlement funds.

The following table outlines the new FSWC points system.

Previous Points System Grid

New Points System Grid

First Official Language:
Maximum 16 points

No official language ability required

First Official Language:
Maximum 24 points

New Mandatory Minimum

Basic

Approx. CLB/NCLC 4 or 5

Threshold in all abilities Initially expected to be set at CLB/NCLC 7

1 pt per ability to max. of 2

4 pts per ability

Understands the main points and important details of a conversation and can write routine business correspondence; able to participate in small group discussions and express opinions and reservations about a topic.

Moderate

Approx. CLB/NCLC 6 or 7

Threshold + 1 CLB/NCLC level

2 pts per ability

5 pts per ability

 

CLB/NCLC 8

Understands technical conversations
and reading material in their line of
work; asks questions, analyzes and
compares information in order to
make decisions.

High

CLB/NCLC 8 +

Threshold + 2 or more CLB/NCLC levels

4 pts per ability

6 pts per ability

 

CLB/NCLC 9

Participates in business meetings and debates; understands a broad range of general and abstract topics; writes formal and informal notes and summary documents.

Second Official Language:
Maximum 8 points

8

Second Official Language:
Maximum 4 points

4

 

CLB/NCLC 5 in all abilities

Age:
Maximum 10 points

 

Age:
Maximum 12 points

21 to 49 yrs

10

18 to 35 yrs

12

20 or 50 yrs

8

36 yrs

11

19 or 51 yrs

6

37 yrs

10

18 or 52 yrs

4

Less one point per year

17 or 53 yrs

2

46 yrs

1

<17 or >53 yrs

0

47 and over

0

Work Experience:
Maximum 21 points

 

Work Experience:
Maximum 15 points

1 yr

15

1 yr

9

2 yrs

17

2–3 yrs

11

3 yrs

19

4–5 yrs

13

4+ yrs

21

6+ yrs

15

Education:
Maximum 25 points

Education:
Maximum 25 points

Points will be awarded based on an assessment of educational credentials
by a designated organization, indicating the foreign educational credential’s equivalent in Canada
.

Master’s or Doctoral level
(+17 yrs)

Two or more credentials at the bachelor’s level OR 3-year post-secondary credential (+15 yrs)

Bachelor’s (2 years or more) OR 2-year post-secondary credential (+14 yrs)

Bachelor’s (1 year) OR 1-year post-secondary credential
(+13 yrs)

One-year post-secondary credential (+12 yrs)

Secondary school

Secondary school not completed


25



22



20



15


12

5

0

Doctoral level

Master’s level or professional degree

Two or more post-secondary credentials, one of which is a three-year or longer post-secondary credential

Three-year or longer post-secondary credential

Two-year post-secondary credential

One-year post-secondary credential

Secondary school

25


23




22


21


19


15

5

Arranged Employment:
10 points

Arranged Employment:
10 points

In order to receive points for arranged employment, applicants will need to
have an LMO from HRSDC, plus an indeterminate job offer. In some cases, applicants will be LMO exempt and will only require the indeterminate job offer. New measures, including introducing a labour market assessment and genuineness elements in the regulations, are expected to increase program integrity, improve labour market responsiveness, and streamline processing for employers.

Adaptability:
Maximum 10 points

Adaptability:
Maximum 10 points

Spousal/partner education

Previous study in Canada PA or spouse/partner

Previous work in Canada PA or spouse/partner

Relative in Canada

Arranged employment

5


5


5

5

5

PA Previous work in Canada
(min. 1 yr at NOC 0, A, B)

Or a combination of…

Previous study in Canada — PA

Previous study in Canada — accompanying spouse/partner

Previous work in Canada — accompanying spouse/partner

Arranged employment

Revised  :

Rel. in Canada (18 years or over)

Added  :

Accompanying spouse/partner’s official language (CLB/NCLC 4)

Eliminated  :

Accompanying spouse/ Partner education


10

 

5


5


5

5

 

5

 


5

 


3 to 5

Pass mark

67

Pass mark

67

Annual levels set by CIC and approved by Parliament specify a limit on the number of immigrants admitted to Canada each year under the FSWC. CIC does not anticipate that the more stringent criteria will impede the ability to meet the annual targets.

(b) New dedicated skilled trades class

The new FSTC is open to skilled tradespersons with experience in the following NOC B occupational areas: 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 class are 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 (see footnote 15) or a Certificate of Qualification from a Canadian 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 (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. Requiring a permanent job offer, as with the FSWC, may be unrealistic for these sectors. 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 can assist the applicant in meeting certification requirements, if required, and will provide him/her with important Canadian work experience, which is key to economic success.

Apprenticeship training and trade certification is a provincial/ territorial jurisdiction; each province/territory is responsible for designating trades in their jurisdiction and for setting the certification requirements. The Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program (see footnote 16) covers approximately 80% of registered apprentices in Canada. Where provinces/territories participate in the Red Seal trades, common interprovincial standards and examinations exist. However, there are many trades where common standards do not exist. Furthermore, provincial and territorial authorities vary on which skilled trades require certification (compulsory trades) and which do not (voluntary trades).

A Certificate of Qualification by a Canadian province/territory apprenticeship authority is the best way to ensure the applicant’s ability to perform the work, and to ensure that the applicant is authorized to work in his/her intended province or territory of residence. It is also a likely predictor of employability, interprovincial labour mobility and long-term labour market integration. However, because of the difficulty of meeting some of the Canadian requirements (which may include Canadian work experience) prior to arrival in Canada, applicants can alternatively provide a qualifying job offer.

To qualify for this program, a qualifying job offer is especially suitable for the voluntary (unregulated) trades, where provincial or territorial certification and licensing are not required. The employment offer is considered to be recognition by an employer of the applicant’s ability to perform the work.

Employers can also offer jobs to skilled tradespersons in the compulsory trades, and employers and employees will have the responsibility of observing the regulations in their province or territory. In compulsory trades, tradespersons must either have the appropriate certification or be registered as apprentices. Therefore, employers must support candidates in obtaining the required Certificate of Qualification in their province/territory, or register them as apprentices during a qualification assessment period until they are certified.

As with the FSWC, given the importance of language as a determinant of successful economic establishment and to ensure that health and safety standards are upheld, applicants need to meet a language threshold determined by the Minister for each of the four language abilities (speaking, reading, writing, oral comprehension). As with the FSWC, the Regulations require the Minister to communicate that threshold publicly. Initially, the threshold is anticipated to be set at least at CLB/NCLC 4 for all four abilities (speaking, oral comprehension, reading and writing).

The applicant’s likelihood to economically establish in a skilled trade will be further verified by requiring them to have at least 24 months of recent work experience in the same skilled trade occupation as their job offer and/or the provincial/territorial certificate of qualification. The work experience must have been obtained after qualification/certification in the country where the work was performed, where applicable. For this purpose, the applicant must have performed a substantial number of the main duties listed in the description of the occupation set out in the NOC, which means that they have performed the essential duties of the occupation. Furthermore, the applicant is required to demonstrate that they meet the employment requirements for that skilled trade as described by NOC, except for certification and licensing requirements as they are difficult to obtain outside Canada.

As with the FSWC, the Regulations also enable officers to substitute their evaluation if they determine that the applicant’s ability to meet or not the minimum requirements of the class is not a sufficient indicator of whether the skilled worker may become economically established in Canada. An officer must get concurrence from a second officer when substitution of evaluation is used. Skilled tradespersons who are not currently working in Canada are required to demonstrate they have the necessary funds for settlement.

(c) Modification to the Canadian Experience Class

These Regulations also simplify the CEC to facilitate the transition to permanent resident status of temporary foreign skilled workers who have demonstrated that they can be employed in Canada, and to better align the CEC with other economic immigration programs that require less work experience (e.g. provincial nominee programs). (see footnote 17)

The Canadian work experience requirement has been reduced from 24 months to 12 in the preceding 36 months, to allow faster transition for those who have already proven their employability in Canada’s labour market. Accumulating 12 months of authorized work within the preceding 36 is more flexible for applicants working in Canada under short-term agreements. Only applicants with NOC 0, A or B work experience will continue to qualify for the CEC.

The previous CEC regulations allowed applicants to compensate for a lower level in one language ability with a higher level in another, resulting in a process that was complicated and confusing for both applicants and visa officers. In researching the introduction of language thresholds to the FSWC, CIC’s panel of language experts and designated third-party language testing agencies strongly recommended applying the threshold across all four abilities (reading, writing, oral comprehension and speaking). Accordingly, a minimum language threshold is required in each of the four abilities for applicants to the CEC. As with the FSWC, the Regulations grant the Minister the authority to set the language threshold. Initially, it is anticipated that the threshold will be set at CLB/NCLC 7, which corresponds to having “adequate intermediate proficiency” in speaking, oral comprehension, reading and writing for NOC 0 and A applicants and CLB/NCLC 5, or “initial intermediate” proficiency in each ability for NOC B applicants.

All applications in the FSWC and CEC will be processed in accordance with the regulations in effect at the time of application.

Regulatory and non-regulatory options considered

The IRPA gives the Governor in Council the power to adopt regulations prescribing selection criteria and their weight for economic immigration. The amendments to the IRPR are necessary to design the economic immigration programs to meet Canada’s changing economic needs.

Various options for the regulatory changes to the FSWC were considered along a continuum, first starting with changes to the language, age and work experience factors. As a result of evidence garnered from the program evaluation, and feedback received through consultations, more comprehensive changes to all of the selection factors in the FSWC were developed to better assess applicants according to Canada’s economic needs. Options were incremental, each pushing further in terms of degree of change and becoming more stringent.

The minimal option for changes to the FSWC would have added minimum language requirements, differentiated by skill level (reading, writing, oral comprehension and speaking) without changing the point structure of the selection grid. Language competency was considered one of the most critical areas requiring change, as supported by evidence.

Adding modest changes to points for language, age, and work experience will help refine the grid to put weight where it counts in the labour market, and select applicants that are younger and have strong language proficiency. A rectification to the system of counting both years of education and having foreign educational credentials was proposed at consultations as a means of helping technicians and skilled tradespersons to qualify for the FSWC. Although the intent was supported by stakeholders, CIC was urged to make more profound changes to the education factor.

More aggressive point changes were considered; they would have reduced work experience points by half, thereby giving even more weight to age and language.

The introduction of mandatory foreign education credential assessment was determined to be the most effective way for awarding education points rather than using years of study as a proxy for an international credential’s value in Canada. Where a professional body is the organization assessing the foreign educational credential, this option has added benefits for the applicant since a positive assessment means the applicant will also have met one of the requirements for eventual licensure in their intended regulated occupation.

Finally, the inclusion of the FSTC will provide a selection mechanism better suited to skilled tradespersons, as well as mitigate the barriers they will likely face in the new FSWC points grid.

The option retained included all of the above variables; therefore, the regulatory amendments will

  1. Update the FSWC selection grid to
    • (i) rebalance the points among existing criteria,

    • (ii) introduce mandatory language thresholds,

    • (iii) require an educational credential assessment by a designated organization, in order to allot points based on a foreign educational credential’s value in Canada and to better screen out fraudulent or “low-value” credentials, and

    • (iv) streamline the arranged employment process and reduce the potential for fraudulent job offers under the arranged employment factor;
  2. Introduce a new FSTC to mitigate barriers to the entry of skilled tradespersons to Canada, in response to labour market needs; and
  3. Ease the transition to permanent residence of TFWs who are economically established in Canada by reducing the CEC work experience requirement for the TFW stream.

By making changes to the FSWC and creating the FSTC, these options include measures to better select skilled workers who have the skills and abilities demonstrated to more quickly integrate into the labour market once they arrive in Canada. Changes to the CEC mean that those who are working in Canada will be able to stay more easily, which will benefit both applicants and employers. As a whole, this regulatory package will assist in creating a better fit between skilled workers selected for permanent residence and the needs of the labour market.

The changes that are considered incremental to the baseline and for which impacts are measured are

  • The impact of modifications to the points grid on the average profile of a skilled worker. These changes include a minimum language threshold, education credentials that are assessed to provide a Canadian equivalent prior to selection, and new processes for those with arranged employment.
  • The introduction of a new federal skilled trades class for workers with NOC B experience in the following occupational areas: 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 the occupations of chefs, cooks, bakers and butchers. The program will have four minimum requirements that must be met:
    1. An offer of employment for at least one year or a certificate of qualification from a provincial or territorial authority;
    2. Language proficiency, as evidenced by a test from a designated language testing agency to meet a threshold as set by the Minister in all four language abilities;
    3. Twenty-four months of skilled work experience (after qualification/certification) in the same qualifying skilled trades occupation in the last five years; and
    4. Qualification — satisfy employment requirements as described by the NOC aside from licensing/certification requirements which cannot be met outside of Canada.
  • The ability for some to apply under the CEC after one year rather than two years of work experience in Canada at NOC 0, A or B.

Benefits and costs

The table below provides an overview of the cost-benefit analysis study results. The analysis period is 10 years, starting in 2013 and ending in 2022. All costs and benefits are forecast over that period and are expressed in constant dollars. All costs and benefits in net present values (NPV) were calculated using a discount rate of 7%.

Based on the analysis of incremental impacts of these regulatory proposals, the total estimated cost is approximately $8.3 million (NPV) and the total monetized benefits is $146.2 million (NPV), resulting in a net benefit of $138 million over the analysis period, or an average of $13.8 million per year. In addition to the monetized impacts, there are qualitative benefits, which include

  • improved economic outcomes for FSWC principal applicants with corollary benefits to the Canadian economy as a result of changes to the selection grid, which will increase the value of the average skilled worker’s skills to the labour market;
  • increased number of skilled tradespersons entering the labour market, resulting in an economic benefit to employers who will be able to better access the type of skilled labour they need;
  • improved integrity in the arranged employment factor, which is expected to reduce fraudulent job offers by introducing a labour market assessment; and
  • retention of established temporary foreign skilled workers by modifying the Canadian Experience Class to ease the transition to permanent residence for qualified temporary residents with skilled Canadian work experience who have a demonstrated ability to economically establish themselves in Canada.

Qualitative costs may include a possible impact on provincial and territorial apprenticeship authorities, which may face a potential increase in the number of skilled tradespersons arriving in Canada, as potential applicants already working temporarily in Canada and newcomers with arranged employment seek provincial/territorial certification in designated trades. Possible impacts can include impacts on applicants, should wait times for certification lengthen, and a potential cost to provinces and territories, should this impact occur and they respond with increased investments in the certification process.

Cost-benefit statement

Costs, benefits and distribution

Base Year 2013

Year Five 2017

Final Year 2022

Total

Annual Average

A. Quantified impacts in millions of present value $ (in 2011 dollars)

Benefits

Stakeholders

Language instruction for newcomers to Canada (LINC) savings

CIC

0.0

3.8

2.7

27.6

2.7

Processing benefit due to third party educational credential assessment

CIC

0.0

0.7

0.5

5.0

0.5

Processing benefit resulting from the reduced time it takes to process an LMO vs. an AEO

HRSDC

0.3

0.2

0.2

2.3

0.2

Quicker entry into labour market of principal applicants with arranged employment resulting in an economic benefit to employers who will be able to better access the type of skilled labour they need, and improved economic outcomes for applicants who will generate earnings more quickly

New Canadians and employers

0.0

3.0

2.1

21.6

2.2

Increased revenue to educational credential assessment agencies and national profession-specific organizations

Canadian businesses

11.9

9.1

6.5

89.6

9.0

Total benefits

12.2

16.8

12.0

146.2

14.6

Costs

Stakeholders

         

Transition costs

CIC

0.3

0.02

0.0

0.4

0.04

Increased processing costs of CEC applications

CIC

0.0

0.0

0.0

1.8

0.2

Transition costs

HRSDC

0.03

0.0

0.0

0.03

0.0

Compliance costs to medium and large business

Business

0.4

0.3

0.2

3.1

0.3

Compliance costs to small business

Small business

0.4

0.3

0.2

3.0

0.3

Total costs

 

1.1

0.6

0.4

8.3

0.8

Net benefits (NPV)

138.0

13.8

B. Qualitative impacts

Benefits

Description of cost or benefit

Improved economic outcomes as a result of a better match between immigration and labour market needs

The introduction of a minimum language threshold, the increased number of points for official language ability and Canadian work experience, and the requirement of an education credential assessment will contribute to an increased proportion of successful applicants securing employment in their professional field with wages commensurate with their skills, tightening their links to the labour market and resulting in a benefit for FSWs, Canadian employers and the Canadian economy. In addition, the modification to the CEC and the introduction of a skilled trades program will help to respond to employer and labour market needs, including the shortage of skilled tradespersons in certain occupations.

Improved program integrity

A labour market assessment under the arranged employment selection criterion will reduce potentially fraudulent job offers and demonstrate that the skilled worker will not have a negative impact on the labour market.

Facilitating skilled tradespersons’ entry into the labour market

The selection process for skilled tradespersons to apply for PR under the FSTC will be based on a simplified, pass-fail model, rather than the points system used for the managerial/professional/technical stream which, given its focus on academic credentials, poses a barrier to successful applications from skilled tradespersons. Increased labour market entry will result in an economic benefit to employers who will be able to better access the type of skilled labour they need, and improved economic outcomes for applicants who will generate earnings more quickly.

Costs

Provincial and territorial apprenticeship authorities

An increase in the number of skilled tradespersons arriving in Canada may impose costs for provincial and territorial apprenticeship authorities, as potential applicants already working temporarily in Canada and newcomers with arranged employment seek provincial/territorial certification in designated trades. Possible impacts can include impacts on applicants, should wait times for certification lengthen, and a potential cost to provinces and territories, should this impact occur and they respond with increased investments in the certification process.

The full cost-benefit analysis is available to the public on request.

Business and consumer impacts

The Canadian economy and Canadian employers will benefit from the selection of immigrants who are better able to economically establish themselves quickly and successfully. The changes will lift the administrative burden for businesses seeking to hire skilled workers on a temporary basis while their permanent residence application is being processed, because they will not need to reapply for an opinion from HRSDC in support of the application for permanent residence. However, in order to hire a foreign national, some employers will need to demonstrate that they have advertised nationally for the position that they wish to fill. In addition, HRSDC will have to determine the likely impact on the Canadian labour market and issue a positive or a negative opinion, which will screen out workers who will have a negative impact.

The requirement to have foreign educational credentials assessed prior to application will also benefit designated assessment agencies, as these not-for-profit agencies will see the demand for their services increase.

Distributional impacts

Once implemented, the amendments are expected to result in a net benefit of $138 million, of which a benefit of $90 million is due to increased revenue to Canadian businesses.

With respect to gender considerations, the proportion of female FSW principal applicants has been rising. The FSWC evaluation determined that there has been an increased number of female applicants for the post-IRPA period of the evaluation (30% compared to 23% from pre-IRPA).

A gender-based analysis (GBA) of the changes was conducted to assess the potential effects on women applying under the FSWC. The amendments to the selection criteria will reduce the relative weight of work experience on the grid. As women are generally responsible for family care-giving responsibilities, this decrease will help lessen the impact family responsibilities may have on their ability to earn points for work experience.

The FSTC requires two years of full-time work experience (or the equivalent in part-time work experience) within five years, and this requirement could have a negative gender-based impact given that requiring the experience to be recent might negatively impact those who have had to leave the workforce for family care responsibilities. However, effects on female tradespersons are lessened by the fact that the full-time work experience in the FSTC does not need to have been continuous and it can also have been gained through part-time employment. Given that work experience is a critical factor for assessing the ability of applicants in the skilled trades to become economically established, and that work experience that is recent is often the most relevant to employers, this policy option is considered to be a crucial element of the FSTC, despite its potential negative impact. Since the average profile of a skilled tradesperson in Canada is overwhelmingly male (80%), there is a potential gender imbalance in the profile of applicants to this class. As part of ongoing GBA activities, CIC strives to identify and address unintended barriers to female applicants.

“One-for-One” Rule

Administrative burden or relief is defined as the costs or savings for Canadian businesses to collect, store and exchange information with the Government as a result of regulatory change. In the FSWC regulatory amendments, both administrative burden and relief have been identified for employers wishing to make a permanent job offer to support an FSW’s application for permanent residency. As explained below, employers are impacted differently with respect to administrative burden, depending on the circumstances of the foreign national whom the employer wishes to employ. After a review of all of the different circumstances for which employers have administrative requirements, the analysis presents an overall relief of administrative burden resulting from the Regulations.

Below is a review of each circumstance for which administrative burden or relief may apply to employers impacted by the regulatory amendments.

Circumstance

Current Require-
ment for Employer

Proposed Require-
ment for Employer

Administra-
tive Burden or Relief

Explanation

Annualized Average

1

Temporary foreign worker who is working in Canada for an employer. The employer already has an existing Labour Market Opinion (LMO), and the same employer chooses to provide a permanent job offer in the same occupation to support the worker’s application for permanent residency.

Job offer assessed by CIC

Job offer assessed by CIC

Neutral

No change in requirement.

N/A

2

Temporary foreign worker who is working in Canada for an employer. The employer already has an existing Labour Market Opinion (LMO), and the same employer chooses to provide a permanent job offer but in a different occupation to support the worker’s application for permanent residency.

HRSDC Arranged Employment Opinion (AEO)

Job offer assessed by CIC

Relief

Preparing an AEO application and the supporting documentation required to HRSDC is more burdensome than simply preparing a job offer for CIC that demonstrates the genuineness of the employment being offered, Administrative tasks saved include time to read AEO form, complete the AEO form (5-page form) and attaching up to 10 pieces of documentation.

$11,188

3

Temporary foreign worker who is working in Canada for an employer. A different employer chooses to provide a permanent job offer to support the worker’s application for permanent residency.

HRSDC Arranged employment Opinion (AEO)

HRSDC LMO + job offer

Relief

Preparing an AEO application and the supporting 10 pieces of documentation required to support that application to HRSDC is more burdensome than applying for an LMO for a temporary need. Unlike the LMO application, the AEO application requires supporting documents such as tax returns, collective agreements, business registration, workers compensation clearance letters and commercial lease agreements. The LMO application does not require supporting documentation except in cases where HRSDC determines that follow-up information is required. 

$6,393

4

Foreign national who is in Canada working under a work permit with an LMO exemption due to an international agreement such as NAFTA, and chooses to apply for permanent residency with an employer’s job offer to support his/her application.

Job offer assessed by CIC

Job offer assessed by CIC

Neutral

No change in requirement.

N/A

5

Foreign national not in Canada who does not have a work permit but does have a job offer from an employer in Canada to support his/her permanent residency application.

HRSDC Arranged Employment Opinion (AEO)

HRSDC LMO + job offer

Relief

Preparing an AEO application and up to 10 supporting pieces of documentation required to support that application to HRSDC is more burdensome than applying for an LMO. Unlike the LMO application, the AEO application requires supporting documents such as tax returns, collective agreements, business registration, workers compensation clearance letters and commercial lease agreements. The LMO application does not require supporting documentation except in cases where HRSDC determines that follow-up information is required. 

$209,571

6

Foreign national who is in Canada working under the “Canadian interests” provision in R205(a) and R205(c)(ii), and chooses to apply for permanent residency with a job offer to support his/her application.

Job offer assessed by CIC

HRSDC LMO + job offer

Burden

Preparing a job offer is less burdensome than an LMO application to HRSDC, which involves not only preparation of a job offer but also completing a six-page form where details of the job, the employer, wages, hours of work, benefits, collective agreement applicability, and the temporary foreign workers details, etc. need to be described.

$27,856

Net relief

$199,296

The above table illustrates the impact on employers based on the circumstances of the foreign national applying for permanent residency. If the amendments were applied to the cases processed by CIC in 2011, an administrative burden will be applied to 12% of employers, while 40% will enjoy administrative relief. There will be no change in administrative burden for a further 48% of employers. Assuming that each case involved a separate application, the overall net effect is an administrative savings to business.

Small business lens

The changes will reduce the administrative burden for small businesses seeking to hire skilled workers on a temporary basis while their permanent residence application is being processed. However, in order to hire a foreign national, employers will need to demonstrate that they have advertised nationally for the position that they wish to fill. In addition, HRSDC will have had to determine the likely impact on the Canadian labour market.

Small businesses applying for LMOs for NOC B occupations will incur compliance costs, estimated at $3.0 million over 10 years, to advertise the position through specific employment Web sites, national and local newspapers, etc. The costs related to posting advertisements will include the human resources efforts to arrange such activities. HRSDC data suggests that of the AEOs requested for NOC B occupations in 2010, approximately half were from small businesses.

The changes will also streamline administrative processes for small businesses as follows:

  • — allow businesses, with a single application to HRSDC, to hire a foreign national temporarily while their permanent residence application is being processed;
  • — reduce processing times for businesses seeking permanent staff, while introducing a labour market assessment to align the process with broader Government objectives, such as ensuring that job offers correspond to a real need in the Canadian labour market;
  • — reduce the administrative burden on employers wishing to offer a different permanent position to a temporary foreign worker already in their employ, so they will not be required to return to HRSDC for a subsequent opinion; and
  • — introduce into the FSWC and the FSTC factors already used in the TFWC, including the LMO process and genuineness assessment.

Consultation

Following the FSW program evaluation, CIC met with a broad range of stakeholders in February and March 2011, on the changes to the FSW selection grid. Meetings held in-person in five cities across Canada were attended by approximately 100 representatives from various sectors, including employers, unions, educational institutions, professional and business organizations, regulatory bodies, municipalities, immigrant services organizations, sector councils and ethno-cultural organizations.

From February 17 to March 25, 2011, CIC also held an online consultation with stakeholders and the general public to seek views on the proposed changes to the FSWC. The general public was informed about the consultation through CIC’s Web site, a promotional news release, and the Consulting with Canadians Web site.

Feedback received through the consultation process indicated general support for redistributing points among the selection criteria to require proficiency in English or French, placing greater emphasis on younger immigrants — who will adapt more easily and will generally contribute longer to the labour market — giving a weight to foreign work experience that reflects its low value when entering the labour market, and instituting measures to curb fraud in the arranged employment factor. More specifically, the consultations yielded the following key findings:

  • Language: Stakeholders and the public were broadly supportive of minimum language thresholds by occupational classification and increased weighting for language. There was general agreement that language skills are important to ensure success both in and out of the workplace, for principal applicants and their spouses.
  • Age: Stakeholders and the public were generally supportive of redistributing points for age to benefit younger immigrants who will be active members of the workforce for a longer timeframe. The proposal of 35 as the peak age to earn age points was met with mixed reactions, as were the sharp drop-offs in points for applicants 40 years and over. Those in support of changes noted that younger applicants will bring a greater economic benefit to Canada over the long term, and will have a higher potential to adapt, learn the language and integrate. Others noted that older applicants will have more work experience, and therefore can be more likely to succeed in finding work.
  • Education: A reduction in the number of years of education required to claim points for applicants with technical and trade educational credentials was met with strong support, particularly among stakeholders. Comments received noted the benefits for applicants and the labour market, indicating that the changes were a positive step toward attracting talented applicants with a different set of qualifications than the existing points model rewards. Many stakeholders called for making changes to the assessment of education points to reflect the value of a foreign educational credential in Canada and suggested using third-party agencies to assess foreign credentials.
  • Work experience: There was a general acknowledgement among stakeholders and the public that foreign work experience is for the most part discounted by Canadian employers and therefore general agreement with the direction to reduce the point value of foreign work experience. However, comments received also highlighted that experience — foreign or domestic — is an integral factor for the screening of skilled workers and that there are varying degrees of transferability depending upon the occupation. In certain sectors, foreign work experience is very highly valued.
  • Arranged employment: Stakeholders and the general public were supportive of establishing clearer criteria for assessing the genuineness of a job offer and expressed concerns regarding lengthy processing times. Members of the general public identified a need to reduce cases of individuals taking advantage of Canada’s immigration system through fraudulent job offers. Stakeholders welcomed measures to improve the integrity and genuineness provisions, with some reservations expressed as to whether this will impose overly burdensome requirements on genuine employers and increase processing times.
  • Skilled trades: Stakeholders also commented on the fact that CIC needed to do more to facilitate the immigration of skilled tradespersons through criteria that are more specific to jobs in the skilled trades. Many consultation participants noted that the previous criteria were not accessible to foreign skilled tradespersons, contributing to labour shortages for Canadian employers.
  • CEC: At several in-person consultation sessions, stakeholders recommended that Canada needed to improve the bridging between temporary and permanent residence. Several of the participants were unaware of the program’s creation in 2008. CIC is therefore taking measures to make the program even more accessible to skilled workers working in Canada on time-sensitive temporary work permits.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has taken the excellent feedback received through consultations into consideration in preparing the more comprehensive regulatory proposal when stakeholder views and concerns were supported by research or international best practices, and/or helped to achieve the policy objectives.

Prepublication comments

Following prepublication on August 18, 2012, in the Canada Gazette, Part Ⅰ, a total of 39 respondents submitted feedback during the 30-day comment period (excluding case-specific questions, enquiries about the regulatory process such as the cut-off date, and comments or questions that fell outside the scope of these Regulations). The majority of the respondents were members of the general public (27/39, or 69%). Responses were also provided by two professional bodies, two provincial government agencies, two federal government departments, two immigration representatives, two employers, one labour representative and one regional Aboriginal organization. Very few of the organizations that traditionally provide input to CIC made submissions during prepublication of these Regulations.

Most of the respondents provided feedback on or enquired about more than one component of the regulatory package. When distinct comments and questions were itemized, CIC received a total 17 questions and 97 comments from the 39 respondents. Although most of the comments received during prepublication were either positive overall (31/97 or 32%) or neutral (21/97 or 22%), others were generally negative in tone (45/97 or 46%). They are described below, grouped by theme. (see footnote 18) Most of the negative comments pertained to elements that were already recognized in the above sections, and given due consideration by CIC. The evidence and the rationale for proceeding with the proposed changes are still strong, notwithstanding the noted concerns. In summary, no changes were made to the Regulations as a result of the comments.

Federal Skilled Worker Class

Most of the prepublication comments and questions pertained to the FSWC (51 comments of 97 or 53%, and 9 questions of 17 or 53%). The questions requested clarification about the new program requirements. The comments were almost equally divided between negative comments (26/51), and comments that were either neutral in tone (12/51) or positive (13/51).

Of the positive feedback received, several comments (4/13) supported introducing educational credential assessments, and the remainder were evenly distributed (receiving 2 each) among changes to the selection factors related to education, increased points for language, work experience, and general support for all of the changes. One additional comment highlighted the respondent’s support for the redistribution of points allocated for age.

Of the negative feedback, there were an equal number of comments about the new requirement for educational credential assessments (7/26) and changes to the work experience criteria (5/26), combined with the related requirement for a LMO (2/26). The remainder of the negative comments focussed on general concerns with the FSWC changes (4/26), specific criteria of the selection grid (7/26) or the application process (1/26). Of the concerns with the criteria in the selection grid, the comments were closely divided on whether the department should require stricter requirements (3/7), or adopt a more facilitative approach (4/7).

The respondents who commented on the new requirement for educational credential assessments expressed concerns about potential confusion for the applicants who may believe they would get a job or be licensed to practice in a regulated occupation if approved under the FSWC. CIC will reiterate on its Web site and in other communications that meeting the language and educational credential assessment selection requirements for the Federal Skilled Worker Class are separate from licensure requirements to practice in a regulated occupation. As noted previously, where a professional body is the designated organization that assesses foreign educational credentials in a regulated occupation, the applicant will have one of the typical requirements for eventual licensure, but that does not guarantee that licensing will occur. The applicant will have to meet other licensing requirements specific to that regulated profession.

In response to the concerns with the work experience criteria, CIC also wishes to reiterate that work experience points continue to be allocated for both foreign and domestic work experience. It is the value of work experience in the grid overall that has been reduced to place greater emphasis on other factors that are better indicators of success in the Canadian labour market. Canadian work experience does earn the applicant 10 points for adaptability; however, it is one of 7 factors that can be combined to obtain the maximum points (10) for adaptability. Not having Canadian work experience does not mean the maximum number of points for adaptability cannot be obtained.

Regarding the labour market opinion (LMO) concerns that the process can be onerous for employers, there have been recent facilitative changes to the LMO process (e.g. Accelerated Labour Market Opinion) to respond to the needs of eligible employers with a strong track record, for timely LMO processing while enhancing the requirements related to employer compliance. Overall, the benefit of having a labour-market test will help to ensure that the foreign worker would not have a negative effect on the labour market.

Federal Skilled Trades Class

Six of the 97 comments received (6%) and 2 of the 17 questions (12%) received during prepublication related to the new FSTC. The questions requested clarification on the new requirements. Half of the comments pertaining to the FSTC expressed general support for the new program (3/6) and that it is expected to increase the number of skilled tradespersons in the labour market. The remaining were neutral in tone (1/6) or negative (2/6). The latter were (1) concerns over the NOC classifications of skilled trades occupations which are a standard classification system developed by HRSDC and Statistics Canada; and (2) that the work experience requirement may reinforce a gender-bias in the trades because the requirement for two years of work experience in the previous five years may disadvantage women applicants. However, given that work experience is a critical factor for assessing the ability of applicants in the skilled trades to become economically established, and that work experience that is recent is often the most relevant to employers, this policy option is considered to be a crucial element of the FSTC.

Canadian Experience Class

Another 8% of the comments (8/97) pertained to CEC modifications. Of those, over one-third (3/8) were generally positive, and just under two-thirds (5/8) were generally negative in tone. The five negative submissions were from individuals (some of whom identified themselves as permanent residents) who expressed personal concerns finding employment, and that easing the program requirements would increase the number of permanent residents competing for jobs in Canada. The positive feedback favoured the faster processing times associated with the CEC (1/8) and expressed general support for the reduction in the work experience requirement (2/8).

Despite concerns that reducing the requirements for the CEC may increase employment uncertainty for permanent residents, improvements to the CEC aim to help respond to labour market needs. Immigration selection is based on the demonstrated ability to obtain employment in Canada and their language proficiency which together speak to the applicant’s potential to establish themselves economically in Canada.

Language requirements

In addition to the comments on the changes to the above three programs, 17 comments (17 of 97, or 18%) and 1 question (1 of 17, or 6%) received during the prepublication period addressed issues pertaining to language requirements. Seven out of 17 comments (41%) addressed mandatory language testing even though it has been a requirement of the FSWC and the CEC since 2010. The new elements being introduced through these Regulations are the minimum language requirements in the FSWC and FSTC.

Two comments (2/17 or 12%) indicated that introducing language thresholds was a positive development. Five comments (5/17 or 29%) expressed respondents’ concerns with the thresholds and of those, three raised the possibility that the new minimum language thresholds could affect the source country of immigrants selected through these economic immigration programs. There is not currently any substantial evidence to support this concern in the Canadian context over the longer term. However, there is a substantial amount of evidence to support the benefits of language proficiency to facilitate integration into the labour market. CIC will continue to monitor the profile of immigrants selected in the economic immigration programs as a result of the changes to the selection criteria.

There were also three comments (3/17 or 18%) from respondents requesting to lower thresholds and/or adopt a more flexible approach to assessing language proficiency and awarding points for language. Canada has a responsibility to treat all applicants equally and language tests administered by a third-party organization are an objective way to assess language proficiency prior to application, making it a fair and effective way to assess language abilities.

One question was from a respondent who wanted to know what was being done to ensure equitable participation from French-speaking applicants. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act aims to respect the bilingual character of Canada and to support and assist the development of minority official languages in Canada. CIC has played an active role in the recruitment of French-speaking candidates through job fairs (Destination Canada) and targeted recruitment activities.

Regulatory cooperation

As the provinces and territories are solely responsible for regulating the trades and apprenticeship programs in their jurisdictions, CIC met with provincial and territorial representatives in October 2011 and later convened special meetings involving both provincial/territorial immigration departments and Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship officials for focused discussions regarding the FSTC. CIC will continue to meet with provincial and territorial representatives on an ad hoc basis after implementation of the Regulations, to ensure program integrity and identify any areas of concern.

Rationale

The Regulations will lead to a more effective assessment of the large number of FSW applicants and help CIC to better select immigrants with the characteristics that are valued by the Canadian labour market. This should result in a benefit for the Canadian economy and Canadian employers through the selection of immigrants who can, within a shorter period of time, find employment that is commensurate with their skills. More rapid integration into the labour market will provide immediate benefits to the Canadian economy, such as easier access to skilled workers with the abilities required in the labour market, and in turn will reduce the demand for government assistance. The changes align with the Government’s announcement in Economic Action Plan 2012 to build rapid and flexible economic immigration selection systems.

(a) Revised FSWC points system

With respect to language ability, changes to the language thresholds will have a significant impact on prospective applicants with basic and low-intermediate skills in English and French, since FSWs below CLB/NCLC 7 will not be eligible to qualify under the new grid. The minimum language threshold and the increased weight awarded to language on the selection grid are expected to reduce the number of FSWs arriving with lower levels of language proficiency. Language proficiency is highly valued by employers, and it is recognized to be a vehicle for acquiring other skills. The program evaluation noted that the effect of language points on earnings increases gradually with the more points earned, and reaches a peak between 16 to 20 points, which corresponds to having received the maximum points for knowledge of the first official language. Individuals scoring in that range of points have earnings that are 38% to 39% higher than FSWs who received between 0 to 7 points for language. The evaluation also highlighted problems with the previous situation where FSW applicants obtained a sufficient number of points to pass without speaking any English or French provided that they compensate with other factors on the selection grid. This was problematic considering the critical role of language in ensuring positive economic outcomes. (see footnote 19), (see footnote 20)

The diminishing age points are more gradual, aiming to strike a balance between program objectives, which include encouraging the immigration of younger workers, who usually spend more time contributing to the labour market prior to retirement age, and stakeholder concerns at consultations.

Analysis indicates that changes to the grid will impact primarily those applicants between the ages of 39 and 53. Based on the previous application intake, the average federal skilled worker is 34 years old, slightly below the age group that will be affected by the weights placed on age. While changes might not immediately affect the average age of FSWC applicants, given the importance of age as a determinant of economic success, along with Canada’s looming demographic challenges, the changes to the age requirement will help position the FSWC to attract younger immigrants who, research shows, are more flexible and adaptable and contribute to the Canadian economy for a longer period.

Changes to the grid will also reduce the weight of work experience. Research on the lifetime earnings of immigrants using the Longitudinal Immigration Database indicates foreign work experience is strongly discounted within the Canadian labour market. This research found foreign work experience to be associated with only modest wage enhancements for immigrants once they enter the labour market. The enhancement in Canadian labour market earnings from foreign work experience is significantly lower than that associated with equivalent time spent in the Canadian labour market. However, studies also indicate that once an immigrant has successfully integrated into the Canadian labour market, the discount effect on their foreign work experience diminishes. The immigrant’s prior work experience gains recognition in the context of their Canadian experience. In other words, the foreign work experience will be of less value in obtaining a first Canadian job, but will help once the immigrant is employed. (see footnote 21)

The definition of “full-time work” will be amended to reflect a change in usual duration that is consistent with the definition used by HRSDC and Statistics Canada, equalling 30 hours per week, or the equivalent in continuous part-time work. Volunteer work and work done in exchange for other types of compensation (e.g. room/board) will be excluded so as not to encourage volunteering in Canada as a way to qualify for the class.

Difficulties in foreign credential recognition are commonly cited as a barrier to employment. Introducing a requirement for an educational credential assessment prior to application, be it by credential assessment agencies or professional bodies, allows for the allocation of education points in the FSWC selection grid, based on an improved assessment of a foreign educational credential’s quality. The new requirement is also intended to assist CIC in better screening out fraudulent credentials. It also helps manage the expectations of applicants in that it gives them early information on the value of their foreign educational credentials in Canada.

The educational credential assessment report (ECA Report) solely considers the educational credential and is for immigration purposes only. For those applicants intending to work in regulated occupations, an ECA Report for immigration purposes will not replace the regulatory community’s own more in-depth assessment and licensing processes, which are both occupation- and jurisdiction-specific. While an educational credential assessment will assist principal applicants, employers and regulators by providing an equivalency of foreign educational credentials to educational standards in Canada, it will not guarantee employment, nor will it guarantee licensure in a regulated profession.

Replacing the AEO with an LMO is intended to streamline processing, making it quicker and easier for employers to hire foreign skilled workers and supporting their application for permanent residence. By replacing the AEO, we will be introducing the same genuineness and integrity measures that are used for workers arriving on a temporary basis and ensuring program consistency. This measure is intended to make the FSWC more responsive to labour market needs overall by analyzing the impact of the skilled worker on the Canadian labour market to screen out negative impacts and to speed up the process overall.

The changes to the adaptability factor reflect the importance of Canadian work experience in the Canadian labour market, and the overall importance of language to socio-economic integration.

The chosen option of comprehensively changing the FSWC is aligned with the Government of Canada’s stated objective to build a rapid and flexible economic system with a primary focus on meeting Canada’s labour market needs, as articulated in the Economic Action Plan 2012.

(b) New Federal Skilled Trades Class

The higher standards for applicants in managerial, professional and technical occupations and the requirement to undergo an assessment of foreign educational credentials prior to applying under the FSWC have a strong evidence base and are supported by many stakeholders. However, a higher language threshold and foreign educational credential assessments can also act as a barrier to applicants in the skilled trades, as trade credentials are usually not assessed by designated assessment agencies due to a high degree of variation among apprenticeship training programs, which is common in the trades.

Given intensifying competition to attract and retain skilled tradespersons, as well as to mitigate the barriers they will likely face in the new FSWC points grid, a streamlined federal immigration program is therefore created for skilled tradespersons, based on criteria most relevant to these occupations and to ensure that incoming tradespersons are well positioned to work in Canada.

The FSTC is intended to help fill Canada’s growing labour shortages in certain skilled trades by facilitating immigration through selection criteria that better reflect tradespersons’ realities and put more emphasis on practical experience. The criteria have been developed recognizing the variations in provincial and territorial trade certification processes, and the importance of meeting minimum language requirements, given that language proficiency is a determinant factor of immigrant success.

Foreign-trained workers who meet the regulatory requirements and have an arranged employment will still have to meet Canadian provincial/territorial requirements to be eligible for certification in compulsory trades, and will need to meet the provincial/territorial requirements to be eligible to challenge exams for certification (e.g. training hours, specified Canadian work experience in the trade in some cases to ensure familiarity with Canadian occupational and safety codes and practices).

(c) Improved Canadian Experience Class

Improvements to the CEC are required to further respond to labour market needs by making it easier for skilled temporary foreign workers who have demonstrated the potential to successfully establish themselves economically to obtain permanent residence.

Combined, the suite of changes as part of the modernization of the FSWC, the new FSTC, and improvements to the CEC will aim to respond to broader national economic labour shortages and labour market needs by better selecting skilled workers according to criteria that lead to better economic outcomes. With these regulatory amendments, the Government of Canada will capitalize on improvements that are suggested by the FSW program evaluation, confirmed by recent research, and recognized as best practices by other immigrant-receiving countries. Given the evaluation, research, and stakeholder input CIC has received, missing the opportunity to implement improvements will fall short of fulfilling CIC’s statutory mandate to maximize the economic benefits of immigration and deliver on stated objectives of the Government of Canada.

The regulatory package places greater importance on factors that are most strongly associated with successful economic outcomes and aims to achieve the policy objectives of selecting applicants who will be able to economically establish themselves in Canada more quickly, spend a longer period of time contributing to the labour market before retiring and have higher language proficiency. It aims to facilitate the immigration of skilled tradespersons, and enables employers to more easily retain and attract temporary foreign workers who are doing well in the Canadian labour market.

Implementation, enforcement, and service standards

The amendments will come into force in two phases. The first phase will see the regulations pertaining to the FSWC designation of credential assessment organizations, the minimum language threshold requirements, and the new regulations pertaining to the CEC and the FSTC come into force on January 2, 2013. CEC applicants will benefit from the more facilitative criteria under new regulations, and applicants working in the skilled trades will benefit from being able to apply to the new FSTC designed to better meet their qualifications.

In a second phase, the regulations pertaining to the FSWC selection criteria, changes to the arranged employment factor and amended points grid will come into force on May 4, 2013.

The amendments will include a range of implementation requirements, such as amendments to application forms and the CIC Web site, IT systems, training for CIC officials, and the designation of foreign educational credential assessment agencies.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada will adopt a proactive communications approach to ensure that applicants are aware of the new assessment process and the new requirements in each program. CIC’s Web site and other communications materials with potential applicants will clearly articulate

  • the population eligible for these immigration programs;
  • that being selected is not in and of itself a guarantee of finding employment in Canada, or in one’s intended occupation; and
  • that the educational credential assessment by a designated organization, or an offer of employment for the skilled trades, will not exempt the applicant from meeting the licensure and regulatory requirements of their province or territory of residence and employment.

An implementation working group comprised of CIC and HRSDC officials has been established to develop a comprehensive operational plan to ensure that the necessary procedures, system support and communication tools will be in place by the time the Regulations come into force.

Any fraudulent information used in an application to immigration programs can lead to a refusal based on misrepresentation, resulting in serious consequences such as a two-year ban on entering Canada or fines under the IRPA. Employers who have not respected the terms of previously issued LMOs without an appropriate justification or employers who are on a list of ineligible employers will be banned from extending further job offers to foreign nationals for two years.

Under the Treasury Board Secretariat Policy on Evaluation, departments are required to evaluate all departmental direct program spending over five years. The amendments herein will be monitored and evaluated according to regular program evaluation schedules.

Contact

Susan MacPhee
Director
Economic Immigration Policy and Programs
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
365 Laurier Avenue W
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1L1
Telephone: 613-954-4214
Fax: 613-954-0850
Email: Susan.MacPhee@cic.gc.ca

  • Footnote a
    S.C. 2012, c. 17, s. 9
  • Footnote b
    S.C. 2001, c. 27
  • Footnote 1
    SOR/2002-227
  • Footnote 2
    The National Occupation Classification (NOC) is a tool developed by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Statistics Canada to provide standardized language for describing the work performed by Canadians in the labour market and it classifies occupations by skill type and skill level.
  • Footnote 3
    RBC Economics. 2011. Immigrant labour market outcomes in Canada: The benefits of addressing wage and employment gaps. www.rbc.com/economics/market/pdf/immigration.pdf.
  • Footnote 4
    Hiebert, D. 2006. “Skilled Immigration in Canada: Context, Patterns and Outcomes.” In Birrell, Hawthorne and Richardson, Evaluation of the General Skilled Migration Categories. Commonwealth of Australia.
  • Footnote 5
    Shellenberg and Maheux. 2007. “Immigrants’ Perspectives on their First Four Years in Canada: Highlights from Three Waves of the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada.” Canadian Social Trends. (Spec. ed.)
  • Footnote 6
    Ministerial instructions (MIs) manage intake by outlining a set of eligibility criteria for processing and placing caps on new FSW applications processed annually. According to the fourth set of instructions issued in November 2011, skilled workers are eligible for processing if they include a qualifying offer of arranged employment, or have one year of work experience in at least one of 29 priority occupations, or are enrolled in a doctoral program in Canada. The MIs also specify an annual cap on FSW applications processed (10 000 in total) with a maximum of 500 per prioritized occupation. The restriction on new FSW applications through MIs was necessary to sustain progress on processing and backlog reduction goals. (Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration, 2011)
  • Footnote 7
    Canadian Occupational Projection System, Occupational projections in the skilled trades, 2009-2018 (national level), www23.hrsdc.gc.ca/w.2lc.4m.2@-eng.jsp.
  • Footnote 8
    Worswick, C. and D. Green. 2002. “Earnings of Immigrant Men in Canada: The Roles of Labour Market Entry Effects and Returns to Foreign Experience.” Research paper, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, December 2002.
  • Footnote 9
    Alboim, N., R. Finnie and R. Meng. 2005. “The Discounting of Immigrants’ Skills in Canada: Evidence and Policy Recommendations.” IRPP Choices, Vol. 11, No. 2.
  • Footnote 10
    The United States economic immigration stream is characterized as being demand-driven and does not use a points-based system.
  • Footnote 11
    For additional information on the importance of age, see the following: Schaafsma and Sweetman. 2001. Immigrant Earnings: Age at Immigration Matters; Australian Government — Department of Immigration and Citizenship. 2008. Fact Sheet 14 — Migrant Labour Market Outcomes; Dempsey. 2004. Elderly Immigrants in Canada: Income Sources and Self-Sufficiency.
  • Footnote 12
    Worswick and Green. 2002. “Earnings of Immigrant Men in Canada: The Roles of Labour Market Entry Effects and Returns to Foreign Experience;” Anisef, Sweet, Adamuti-Trache and Walters, Recent Immigrants: A Comparison of Participants and Non-Participants in Canadian Post-Secondary Education (www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/research/comparison_postsecondary.asp); Alboim, Finnie, and Meng. 2005. “The Discounting of Immigrants’ Skills in Canada: Evidence and Policy Recommendations.” IRPP Choices, Vol. 11, No. 2.
  • Footnote 13
    The definition of full-time work will be amended to “at least 30 hours of paid work per week,” and applied to all three classes (FSWC, FSTC and CEC).
  • Footnote 14
    Employers are ineligible, if during the two years preceding an LMO application, it is found that they have not provided wages, working conditions or an occupation to a TFW that were substantially the same (STS) as the terms and conditions of the job offer, and for which a reasonable justification has not been provided. If an employer is found to have failed an STS assessment, access to temporary and permanent residence programs will be denied for two years.
  • Footnote 15
    Under the new Federal Skilled Trades Class, job offers are subject to the same LMO requirements as the amended FSWC. For both the FSWC and the FSTC, when a positive LMO is required, it ensures that HRSDC has conducted an assessment of the genuineness of the employer and an assessment of whether that foreign worker’s employment will have a positive or neutral impact on the Canadian labour market.
  • Footnote 16
    The Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program is a partnership between the federal and provincial/territorial governments whereby common standards have been developed in collaboration with industry on 53 trades. The Red Seal is considered to be a standard of excellence for the trades that allows qualified tradespersons to work in all Canadian jurisdictions. The interprovincial Red Seal Exam (a paper-based multiple choice exam) is used by all provinces and territories to assess candidates and issue Red Seal endorsements in the 53 Red Seal trades. Many (though not all) provinces have also approved the interprovincial Red Seal exam as the certification exam.
  • Footnote 17
    Provincial nominee programs are in place in 11 jurisdictions (the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and all provinces except Quebec), giving them the authority to nominate individuals to become permanent residents to address specific labour market and economic development needs.
  • Footnote 18
    Fifteen of the comments wre very general in nature (15/97, or 15%) and could not be grouped into the program themes.
  • Footnote 19
    Garnett Picot and Arthur Sweetman. 2005. The Deteriorating Economic Welfare of Immigrants and Possible Causes: Update.
  • Footnote 20
    Abdurrahman Aydemir and Mikal Skuterud. 2004. Explaining the Deteriorating Entry Earnings of Canada’s Immigrant Cohorts: 1966-2000.
  • Footnote 21
    Anisef, Paul, Robert Sweet, Maria Adamuti-Trache, David Walters. Recent immigrants: A comparison of participants and non-participants in Canadian post-secondary education.