The start of 2013 has brought in significant changes for prospective new immigrants to Canada. Here is a brief summary of pivotal changes to Canada’s economic immigration program.
Canadian Experience Class
Individuals working in Canada on a valid work permit are now eligible to apply for permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) after completing one year of full-time paid work experience in Canada.
Previously, applicants needed a minimum of two years of full time work experience to be eligible to apply under the CEC class.
This change is consistent with the government’s overall recognition of the significance of Canadian work experience for new immigrants to be able to effectively integrate into the Canadian economy as quickly as possible.
Federal Skilled Trades Program
There is a new conduit for immigration now through the program for skilled trades people.
The creation of the Federal Skilled Trades Class is to facilitate applications for permanent residence in certain identified trades.
Eligible applicants must show a minimum of 24 months of full time paid work experience within the last five years in one of the eligible skilled trade occupations identified in group A or group B. Group A occupations identify seventeen occupational categories from the National Occupational Classification (NOC) and allow up to one hundred applications per occupation per year.
Group B occupations have no cap to the number of applications per year other than the general limit of up to 3000 applications a year for the Federal Skilled Trade Class.
Skilled Worker Program
The Skilled Worker Program has been the corner-stone of Canada’s economic immigration program for decades.
It is a points based application process where-by applicants must score at least 67 out of a possible 100 points.
The new Skilled Worker Program shifts the emphases on points available for various selection criteria. Of key significance is that language proficiency is the new focus of the Skilled Worker program.
Maximum potential language points have increased from 16 to 24 making language the single most significant selection factor under the Skilled Worker Program.
This new program also shifts the emphasis on age towards younger applicants.
Previously the old system gave 10 points for anyone between the ages of 21 to 49 years of age. Applicants over the age of 49 or under the age of 21 lost a point for each year beyond that range.
The new selection criteria will favour younger applicants by awarding a maximum of 12 points for applicants between the ages of 18 to 35.