The federal Skilled Worker program is back effective May 4, 2013 – it was halted in June of 2012 due to the overwhelming backlog of cases.
The new program is designed to allow processing to occur in a far more timely fashion.
The program’s changes also shift emphasis from education and foreign work experience to language proficiency and Canadian work experience.
The emphasis is now on an immigrants’ ability to integrate into the Canadian workplace as quickly as possible.
Language is now the single most important factor under the Skilled Worker criteria. The points allotted for language proficiency shift from a maximum of 24 points to a maximum of 28 points. However, what is most significant is that a far greater emphasis is being placed on proficiency in the first official language rather than the second official language. Previously, applicants were able to score a maximum of 16 points for first official language and a further 8 points for the second official language. Under the new Skilled Worker criteria, applicants can score a maximum of 24 points for the first official language and 4 points for the second official language.
Previously, applicants could score a maximum of 10 points if they were between the ages of 21 to 49 years. Now applicants aged 18 to 36 are able to score a maximum of 12 points.
Applicants receive 5 points for secondary school, 15 points for a one year post secondary credential, 19 points for a 2 year post secondary credential, 21 points for a post secondary program of 3 years or more, and 22 points for 2 or more post secondary credentials with at least one of them being 3 years or more.
For a Master’s degree, an applicant receives 23 points and for a PhD 25 points.
There is a decrease in points awarded for work experience from 21 points to 15 points. Research has shown that work experience is less of an indicator of successful integration into the Canadian labour force and accordingly this criteria has been reduced.
Previously maximum work experience points had been granted if an applicant had 4 years of full time work experience.
The points now shift to 9 points for one year of work experience, 11 points for 2 to 3 years of work experience, 13 points for 4 to 5 years of work experience and a maximum of 15 points for 6 or more years of work experience.
The points for arranged employment will remain the same at 10, however, the previous process of obtaining an arranged employment opinion (AEO) with an indeterminate job offer has been eliminated. It is now necessary for all applicants to apply to Service Canada for a labour market opinion (LMO) which can be used for both a work permit as well as a permanent resident application.
In keeping with the trend to emphasize language proficiency over previous work experience, 5 adaptability points are available for a spouses’ language proficiency, with points no longer awarded for a spouse’s education.
An applicant may also get a combination of 5 points for previous study in Canada either by themselves or their spouse; previous work experience in Canada of their spouse; or arranged employment. 5 points may still be awarded for a relative in Canada however the relative must be 18 years of age or over.