Recent Changes to Immigration Programs in Canada

By Katherine at Legal Language
Posted on 04/04/2011
In Canada, Immigration, News



Canada is a popular destination for people from all over the world who wish to gain international work experience or settle down in a new country — but will changes to two of Canada’s most popular immigration programs mean a reduction in the number of immigrants to the country?

What changes have been proposed? What are the reasons behind the overhaul of Canada’s immigration programs?

Why Are Canadian Immigration Programs Changing?

Canada has always been a popular destination for immigrants as well as workers looking for a temporary home. Like the US, Canada has a high standard of living and makes the immigration process comparatively simple for skilled workers, temporary workers or investors.

While making strict changes to immigration programs is usually viewed as a way to reduce the number of people immigrating to a country, Canadian immigration officials insist that the changes to Canada’s federal skilled worker program will be put in place to reduce the skilled worker applications backlog as well as to highlight economic recovery and a speedier processing system.

Changes to Canada’s temporary worker program address recent exploitation of the workers involved in the program and strengthen the resolve to keep an eye on both temporary foreign workers and their employers.

Changes to Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker Immigration Program

Canada’s immigration path for skilled workers — one of the country’s many business immigration programs — has been praised for its efficiency. However, according to Citizenship & Immigration Canada, it still has a backlog of approximately 380,000 applications.

Currently, your application to be a skilled worker in Canada will be considered if you have a job offer or if you work in one of the following professions:

  • Restaurant and food service managers
  • Primary production managers
  • Professional occupations in business services to management
  • Insurance adjusters and claims examiners
  • Biologists and related scientists
  • Architects
  • Specialist physicians
  • General practitioners and family physicians
  • Dentists
  • Pharmacists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Registered nurses
  • Medical radiation technologists
  • Dental hygienists and dental therapists
  • Licensed practical nurses
  • Psychologists
  • Social workers
  • Chefs
  • Cooks
  • Contractors and supervisors in carpentry trades
  • Contractors and supervisors in mechanic trades
  • Electricians
  • Industrial electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Welders and related machine operators
  • Heavy-duty equipment mechanics
  • Crane operators
  • Drillers and blasters in surface mining, quarrying and construction
  • Supervisors in oil, gas drilling and related services

Citizenship & Immigration Canada has placed a cap on the number of applications considered for processing — only 20,000 applications per year will be approved, with a maximum of 1,000 applications per occupation.

When CIC reviews an application, points will be given according to the six selection factors in the skilled worker points grid, consisting of:

  • Your education experience
  • Your language abilities
  • Your work experience
  • Your age
  • Whether you have arranged employment in Canada
  • Your adaptability

CIC has proposed several changes to the way points are attained, including:

  • Increasing the minimum number of points which can be attained by an applicant from 16 to 20 in the language category
  • Increasing the number of points from 10 to 12 for applicants between the ages of 25 and 34, keeping in mind factors like adaptability to a new home
  • Reducing the number of years required of education for working at some trade occupations
  • Reducing the maximum number of points from 21 to 15 in the area of work experience
  • Re-evaluating job offer assessments, if applicable, to avoid potential fraud

These changes — some already in place, some scheduled to occur soon — to the federal skilled worker program will help CIC work through the backlog while deterring fraud and selecting the best candidates for immigration to Canada.

Changes to Canada’s Temporary Worker Program

Changes to Canada’s temporary worker program are different than the skilled worker changes — these are responses to temporary workers’ recent complaints of being exploited and underpaid by some Canadian employers.

Employers who wish to hire temporary foreign workers must show CIC their past employment records. If CIC determines that wages and working conditions for foreign nationals were not up to par, then the employer will be barred for two years from hiring temporary foreign workers.

CIC has stated that these changes in the temporary foreign worker immigration program will be more closely observed as of April 1, 2011, so as to ensure the fair treatment of workers in Canada.


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