New Skilled Worker Program

Another change to the immigration system: the New Skilled Worker Program

By Marco Castro

Translated by Loretta Murphy

The launch of a new (or renovated) program, called the New Skilled Worker Program, is on track to be released as I write this article – and many changes are expected. The government makes its objectives quite clear: either immigrants must already be working during the immigration process or they must be working very soon. The problem of immigrants spending a period either unemployed or underemployed is something that the Government of Canada wants to stop at any cost. Minister Kenney himself said that these changes will be good for new immigrants, for the economy and for Canadians in general.

According to a survey by the Ministry of Immigration, language proficiency and being young are presented as two important factors for the economic success of immigrants. Therefore, the suggested changes will certainly reflect these and other factors.

There will be a minimum acceptable score in terms of language skills: level 7 in the Canadian Language Benchmark Assessment System. This fact distinguishes the new system from the previous one, in which, depending on the overall score obtained, the candidate was exempted from language proficiency points. The points will also be increased in accordance with language fluency and knowledge, making this factor the most important in the selection process.

I believe that the age limit will be lowered substantially, since the focus is on achieving younger immigrants. In the previous system, an older person, even if they did not get any points on the age factor, was still able to immigrate, provided they obtained the required points on the other factors. We believe that with this new program, anyone above a certain age will no longer be able to immigrate to Canada. But let’s wait! The reasons are that younger people have fewer difficulties in adapting, acquiring Canadian experience and certainly in contributing more time to the Canadian economy.

Another radical change, to some extent, is that credentials obtained in the education factor will be evaluated before sending the application to Immigration. Thus, the government believes that new immigrants’ credentials will add true and needed value to Canada. Before applying, candidates will know the chances of their credentials being accepted in the Canadian market, and even if some professional development would be required.

As for arranged employment, the government also announced changes, allowing employers to hire candidates quickly, even before they become immigrants. We believe it will be something similar to the current LMO (Labour Market Opinion), in which the employers who receive a positive response can hire foreign applicants.

In the adaptability factor, if the spouse has a higher level of knowledge of the official languages of Canada and Canadian experience, additional points will be granted.

Finally the big change is that these processes are carried out in a few months rather than a few years! Only a certain number of applications will be accepted each year. Thus, there would be no backlog of cases awaiting results. Another speculation is about the current 67 points, which I believe will be modified as well. But let’s wait and see!

Marco Castro is a Certified Immigration Consultant, member of ICCRC, Translator and Notary Public. He has an office in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and can be contacted by phone at 604-696-6042 or by email at [email protected]. For more information, please visit