• Proposed Changes to the Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • May 11, 2011 | Author: Andrea F. Baldwin
  • Law Firm: Stewart McKelvey - Halifax Office
  • The federal government has announced proposed changes to the Federal Skilled Worker ("FSW") Program, one of the permanent streams under which high-skilled foreign nationals can immigrate to Canada. Consultations are currently taking place across Canada with various stakeholders to gather feedback on these proposals. As a result, at this point we cannot say with certainty what proposed changes will be implemented. Nonetheless, we anticipate the program will be changed to place more emphasis on youth, language ability and skilled trades people. To give you a flavour of the proposed changes under consideration, the proposals are largely directed at:

    • Ensuring new immigrants have increased language proficiency. To that end, all FSW applicants will be required to submit the results of an approved language test, even if their mother tongue is English or French.
    • Placing greater emphasis on younger immigrants who are considered to be more adaptable, and who will be able to contribute to Canada's labour force for a longer period.
    • Reducing the years of education required for those applicants with non-university or trade credentials to make the program more accessible to skilled trades people, technicians and apprentices.
    • Placing more emphasis on factors deemed to contribute to success in the Canadian workforce instead of work experience gained outside of Canada.
    • Establishing stronger criteria for assessing the genuineness of job offers submitted by FSW applicants with arranged employment.

    What This Means for You

    Once these changes are implemented, the FSW program may become a more useful tool for employers to use to bring skilled foreign workers to Canada to work in permanent positions. However, as long as mandatory French and English testing is universally required of FSW applicants, provincial nominee programs, which tend to have more flexible language requirements, may continue to be the immigration program of choice for many employers and their foreign workers.