By Jasminee Sahoye
Anyone applying to enter Canada through the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) but do not possess one of the 24 occupations listed as needed for Canada’s job market, will have to wait a long time.
The skills include engineers in various aspect of the field, IT, financing and investment analysts, audiologists and speech-language pathologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and medical laboratory technologists and technicians among other related jobs.
According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), the FSWP will be re-opened this Saturday for applicants in the 24 occupations.
However, in order to qualify, the applicant has to fulfil a number of criteria for entry into Canada including education, work experience and language ability – they meet the minimum threshold of Canadian Language Benchmark 7 in all four language skill areas: speaking, reading, writing and oral comprehension.
The CIC has placed an overall cap of 5,000 new applications for all eligible occupations, including a sub-cap of 300 new applications for each eligible occupation.
Four organizations have been designated to provide the now-required independent third party assessments of foreign educational credentials for applicants who studied outside of Canada. These assessments, which must be completed before an application is submitted, are aimed at helping newcomers through the FSWP to get off to a better start and into the Canadian labour force more quickly when they arrive.
“The government’s focus remains on jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity,” said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.
“As a result of the actions taken by the government to deal with the massive backlogs and unacceptably long wait times, FSW applications will be processed in approximately one year,” said Minister Kenney. “We will not be able to remain competitive and attract the skilled immigrants we need if we allow backlogs and wait times to grow again. That’s why we are capping application intake and focusing on specific occupations that are experiencing labour shortages in Canada. This will also help us transition nicely into the just-in-time immigration system of the future.”
The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) selects immigrants based on their ability to succeed economically in Canada. After meeting eligibility requirements, applicants are assessed against selection criteria, also known as the “points grid.” There are 100 points available to applicants, with points awarded for official language abilities, age, education, work experience, employment already arranged in Canada, and adaptability. The current pass mark is 67.
A pause on the intake of most new FSWP applications has been in place since July 1, 2012, except for those with a qualifying job offer and those who applying under the PhD stream. The pause will be lifted and an eligible occupations stream re-established on May 4, 2013.