ARCHIVED — Vol. 146, No. 33 — August 18, 2012

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Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations

Statutory authority

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

Sponsoring department

Department of Citizenship and Immigration

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT

(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)

1. Executive summary

Issue: The Economic Action Plan 2012 announced the Government of Canada’s intention to build a fast and flexible economic immigration selection system with a primary focus on meeting Canada’s labour market needs. These needs are evolving, marked by an ageing workforce and an economy that has a growing requirement for highly skilled professionals, paired with emerging shortages in certain skilled trades. Limited access to the type of talent required by Canada’s labour market inhibits economic growth. Federal economic immigration programs seek to supplement domestic labour supply by selecting highly skilled applicants with work experience in managerial, professional, technical or trade occupations. However, the current economic immigration selection criteria do not adequately respond to Canada’s evolving labour market needs, given that some skilled workers admitted through the programs continue to have difficulty finding jobs in their field, and some employers also face challenges in finding the workers with the skills and qualifications they need.

Description: A three-pronged approach is proposed to better select skilled workers who meet Canada’s current and evolving economic needs. It includes amendments to the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC), the creation of a new Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC) and improvements to the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) establish the selection criteria for the FSWC and prescribe the weight given to each selection factor. Primarily, the proposed regulatory amendments to the FSWC would rebalance the points among the criteria to place greater importance on factors that are most strongly associated with successful economic outcomes, such as language abilities, Canadian work experience, and the ability to contribute to the Canadian labour market for a longer period before retirement. Prospective applicants would be required to have their foreign educational credentials assessed and would be awarded points based on the equivalent completed Canadian educational credential. Permanent job offers under the Arranged Employment factor, with some exceptions, would be subject to a labour market assessment, similar to that required for applicants under the Temporary Foreign Worker Class (TFWC). This would further solidify program integrity and assess the impact of the prospective skilled worker on the Canadian labour market, while streamlining the process for prospective employers.

This regulatory package also proposes to introduce a new class for skilled tradespersons. The proposed pass/fail selection model would be based on four selection criteria reflective of the education and training pathways in these occupations and would be more indicative of a skilled tradesperson’s ability to work in Canada. The program would require an offer of employment in Canada or a certificate of qualification from a provincial authority in a skilled trade; a demonstrated proficiency in an official language; work experience in the skilled trade; and that the Canadian employment requirements, as described in the National Occupational Classification system, (see footnote 1) are met.

Measures would also be taken regarding the CEC to ease the transition to permanent residence of temporary skilled workers who have demonstrated an ability to economically integrate in Canada by revising regulations to reduce the required number of months of Canadian work experience for qualification in the program.

Through the proposed regulatory amendments, skilled workers could apply under one of these three federal classes, primarily depending on their work experience and whether it was acquired in Canada. Those in managerial, professional or technical occupations could apply under the improved FSWC. Although applicants in the skilled trades could also apply under the FSWC, the criteria in the proposed FSTC would be better adapted to suit skilled tradespersons, should they have an offer of employment in Canada or a certificate of qualification from a provincial authority and meet the other proposed criteria. Skilled workers already employed in Canada could benefit from enhancements to the CEC.

Cost-benefit statement: The cost benefit analysis (CBA) estimates that the overall cost associated with the proposed amendments would be $8.3 million. The estimated overall benefit is $146.2 million, resulting in a net benefit of $138 million over 10 years or an average of $13.8 million per year. In addition to the monetized impacts, there are qualitative benefits and costs. Key qualitative benefits include the improved overall profile of federal skilled workers resulting from modified assessment criteria to better meet Canada’s economic needs (i.e. minimum language proficiency, better assessment of foreign educational credentials, revised age points to attract younger applicants and enhanced adaptability factors). Taken together, these changes would result in the selection of skilled workers who are a better fit to the Canadian labour market. Other qualitative benefits would include the increased entry of skilled tradespersons into the labour market, benefits to employers who could gain from quicker access to the skilled talent they need, and the facilitation of the transition of temporary residents who have demonstrated an ability to integrate into the Canadian labour market and wish to apply for permanent residence under the CEC. Qualitative costs would include costs to provincial and territorial apprenticeship bodies of certifying skilled tradespersons in designated trades, should provinces and territories choose to increase their capacity to conduct more assessments.

Business and consumer impacts: This proposal is intended to benefit employers and applicants. By adapting the language, education, age and skill profile of skilled workers, newcomers selected under the FSWC and the FSTC would find employment that more closely matches their qualifications more quickly than they are able to under the current framework. Employers are expected to benefit by experiencing less time to access and train the skilled foreign workers they require. Administrative measures to enhance the program integrity of the Arranged Employment factor would mitigate the potential for fraud while assisting legitimate employers. These measures would seek to reduce the paper burden on employers and streamline the process for both employers and skilled workers with regard to offers of arranged employment.

2. Background

As one of the main avenues for permanent economic immigration to Canada, the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC) responds to national and structural labour market needs by selecting immigrants based on their potential to become economically established in Canada. Each applicant’s essential and transferable skills are measured on a selection grid worth up to 100 points, and currently a minimum of 67 points is required to pass. Points are awarded for the candidate’s proficiency in one or both official languages, education, work experience, age, whether they have an indeterminate job offer in Canada (arranged employment), and their overall adaptability (such as previous work and study in Canada, an accompanying spouse / common-law partner’s education and the presence of relatives in Canada).

In 2011, approximately 37% of Canada’s economic immigrants were admitted through the FSWC (20 549 principal applicants plus 36 728 of their dependents). Of those, approximately 1 000 were skilled tradespersons, representing 1.9% of all permanent residents selected through this program. In addition, the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the in-Canada immigration program begun in 2008, admitted 4% of Canada’s economic immigrants (3 973 principal applicants and 2 049 dependents), of whom 7.6% (458 permanent residents) were skilled tradespersons.

In the Economic Action Plan 2012 (Budget 2012), the Government of Canada announced its intention to build a fast and flexible economic immigration system with a primary focus on meeting Canada’s labour market needs. Specifically, the Plan stated the following:

To ensure that immigrants are ready to work, the assessment of educational credentials will be strengthened and the federal skilled worker point system will be reformed to reflect the importance of younger immigrants with Canadian work experience and better language skills.

The Government will provide further incentives to retain educated and experienced talent through the Canadian Experience Class and introduce a new stream to facilitate the entry of skilled tradespersons.

The points system was a Canadian innovation in the late 1960s. It was a method designed to reduce subjectivity in the selection of independent immigrants and select individuals with the education and skill level needed to propel the Canadian economy forward at a time of international industrial competition. The criteria were adapted in 2002, through the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), to focus on the longer-term potential of human capital and factors associated with lifetime productivity and adaptability, such as education, language skills, and work experience. Several countries have since adapted the points-based selection model to their own circumstances, including Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, and Singapore.

3. Issue

Since the development of the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) selection model, Canadian labour market needs have continued to evolve, marked by an ageing workforce and a growing demand for highly skilled professionals in the knowledge economy (e.g. specialized healthcare providers, information and communications technologies workers, and aerospace and other engineers). Employers in construction and natural resource sectors are also calling for workers to fill shortages in certain skilled trades.

Labour supply and demand projections forecast that two thirds of all new jobs created over the next decade are expected to be highly skilled occupations requiring postsecondary education, at university or college, or in skilled trades. However, research indicates that despite having higher levels of education than the general Canadian population, new immigrants continue to be subject to higher levels of unemployment and lower wages than Canadian-born workers. (see footnote 2) The top three barriers highly educated immigrants face in obtaining Canadian employment commensurate with their skills and education are the lack of official language skills, the non-transferability of their foreign credentials and a lack of Canadian work experience. (see footnote 3) (see footnote 4) In terms of economic outcomes, studies have shown that highly skilled immigrants have better labour market attachment and ultimately higher earnings. They are also more resilient during economic downturns.

Federal economic immigration programs seek to supplement domestic labour supply by selecting highly skilled applicants with work experience in managerial, professional, technical or trades occupations. In 2010, CIC evaluated the FSWC program. The program evaluation determined that it is producing positive results overall, but also suggested areas for improvement. The evaluation indicated that 22% of FSWs surveyed felt that their current job did not meet their expectations. The reasons for this, which are consistent with academic research on the difficulties faced by highly educated immigrants, include language barriers, the job not being in their intended occupation, and/or foreign education and experience not being recognized by Canadian employers. The evaluation recommended placing greater emphasis on full fluency in one of the official languages.

The evaluation also noted concerns regarding the integrity in the Arranged Employment (AE) factor, namely the use of fraudulent job offers to compensate for insufficient points in other areas. Subsequent quality assurance exercises conducted in visa offices abroad indicated trends in fraudulent job offers to make applicants eligible for priority processing under ministerial instructions (MI). (see footnote 5) The due diligence required to assess the validity of job offers is time consuming and can lead to lengthy wait times for applicants and the employers wishing to hire them.

The human capital model used in the FSWC suggests that better-educated workers could more readily adjust to an increasingly dynamic and competitive knowledge economy. However, although needed in the labour market, skilled tradespersons generally have more difficulty than applicants with advanced post-secondary academic credentials in obtaining sufficient points to pass the selection grid. In 2011, only a small proportion selected through the FSWC and the CEC — approximately 1 000, or 1.9%, of FSWs selected annually and 458, or 7.6%, of CECs — were tradespersons. With continuing and forecast shortages in certain skilled trades, (see footnote 6) many stakeholders are calling upon immigration to be part of the solution for trade workforce renewal.

Studies show that skilled workers with Canadian experience do better economically than those without.(see footnote 7) (see footnote 8) Although the CEC has been praised for its two-step immigration process which allows students and temporary workers to make the transition to permanent residence after acquiring Canadian work experience, the number of those doing so is still relatively small. The usual duration of temporary work permits currently creates a situation where most Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) lose their status in Canada at the point where they would otherwise become eligible for the CEC. Canada risks losing qualified new immigrants if it does not take additional measures to facilitate the retention of these highly skilled workers.

Program changes are required to respond to Canada’s evolving economic needs.

4. Objectives

The main objectives of the proposed regulatory package are

  • (1) to improve the economic outcomes of principal applicants accepted in the FSWC, by selecting candidates who will be able to integrate more rapidly and successfully into the Canadian economy, and by increasing the integrity and
    labour market responsiveness of the Arranged Employment factor;
  • (2) to meet Canada’s skilled labour needs by reducing barriers to the immigration of skilled tradespersons; and
  • (3) to make permanent residence more accessible to skilled workers who have demonstrated an ability to integrate into the Canadian labour market.

Overall, the proposal intends to contribute to improving the Canadian economy and strengthening Canada’s position in the global competition for talent through the selection of highly qualified foreign national skilled workers.

5. Description

Citizenship and Immigration Canada is proposing a three-pronged approach through amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) to improve economic immigration outcomes:

  • (a) Update the FSWC by rebalancing the points among existing criteria, introducing mandatory language thresholds, requiring an educational credential assessment at the time of application if the educational credential submitted is from a foreign jurisdiction, streamlining the arranged employment process, and reducing the potential for fraudulent job offers under the Arranged Employment factor;
  • (b) Introduce a new Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC) to facilitate the immigration of certain skilled tradespersons in Canada, in response to labour market needs; and
  • (c) Reduce the CEC work experience requirement to ease the transition to permanent residence of temporary skilled foreign workers who have demonstrated an ability to integrate into the Canadian labour market.

Under the proposed changes, skilled workers wishing to immigrate to Canada could apply under one of three separate classes, depending on their work experience and whether this work experience was acquired in Canada. Those in managerial, professional, or technical occupations could apply under the improved FSWC by specifying the primary occupation under which they would be assessed, while those in the skilled trades could benefit from criteria more reflective of the education and training pathways in these occupations through the proposed FSTC. In addition, TFW already in Canada in skilled occupations, and their employers, could benefit from a faster transition to permanent residence via the CEC. The proposed amendments are based on recent research, program evaluation results, consultation with stakeholders and best practices in other countries, such as Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. (see footnote 9)

These changes would affect prospective permanent resident applicants in professional, managerial, technical and trades occupations. As is currently the case, to be eligible for the FSWC and CEC, applicants must have work experience in one or more occupations listed in the National Occupation Classifications (NOC) matrix at Skill Type 0 (management occupations), Skill Level A (professional occupations), or Skill Level B (technical occupations and skilled trades). To qualify for the FSTC, only applicants with work experience in certain skilled trade occupations listed at Skill Level B would be eligible. Lower-skilled occupations requiring only secondary school and/or occupation-specific training (NOC Skill Level C), and those requiring only on-the-job training (NOC Skill Level D), would not be eligible.

(a) Revised FSWC points system for managers/professionals/technicians

Specific features of the regulatory changes proposed to the points system include the following.

  • Requiring a minimum level of language proficiency. CIC proposes to recognize the importance of language to socio-economic integration by (1) requiring minimum language abilities in order to qualify for the program; and (2) significantly increasing the maximum points awarded for fluency in one official language from 16 points to 24 points. Under the proposed Regulations, the Minister would fix the language threshold according to criteria set out in the Regulations. The Regulations would also provide that the Minister would communicate that threshold publicly. Initially, it is anticipated that the threshold would be set at Canadian Language Benchmark 7 (CLB 7) or Niveau de compétence linguistique canadien 7 (NCLC 7) for all four abilities (speaking, oral comprehension, reading and writing). This threshold corresponds to having “adequate intermediate proficiency.” The CLB and NCLC are recognized as the official Canadian standards for describing, measuring and recognizing the language proficiency of adult immigrants and prospective immigrants in both English and French.

 The number of points for the second official language would be reduced from 8 points to 4 points, for abilities at level CLB 5 and above, in response to research and feedback from stakeholders, noting the lack of evidence that this factor contributes to positive economic outcomes for the majority of applicants. Bilingualism would continue to be rewarded in the selection system, in recognition of the IRPA’s objectives related to official language minority communities and respecting the bilingual character of Canada. With these changes, language proficiency would become the most important factor on the grid, representing a total of 28 points, an increase from 24 points, in recognition of its critical importance in ensuring positive economic outcomes.

  • Placing a greater emphasis on younger workers. Younger immigrants generally integrate more rapidly into the labour market, and they usually spend a greater number of years contributing to Canada’s economy. By contrast, immigrants aged 45 or older experience unemployment rates almost double those aged 25 to 34 years. (see footnote 10) The revised selection grid would favour younger immigrants by awarding a maximum of 12 points for applicants aged 18 to 35, compared to applicants aged 21 to 49 who receive maximum points for age under the current grid, with diminishing points awarded until age 46. With the proposed changes, no age points would be awarded after age 46; however, workers aged 47 or older would continue to be eligible for the program.
  • Redirecting points from work experience. Foreign work experience is largely discounted by Canadian employers when the immigrant first enters the Canadian labour market, and it is a weak predictor of economic success. (see footnote 11) CIC is proposing to reduce the total number of points for work experience from 21 to 15, and increase the years of experience required to achieve full points, from four years to six. (see footnote 12)These changes will reflect the relative value Canadian employers place on foreign work experience, and redirect points to language and age factors, which are better indicators of success in the Canadian labour market.
  • Requiring a foreign educational credential assessment and changing education points. Currently, education points are based on having a credential and the number of years required to obtain it. Organizations with expertise in authentication and assessment of foreign educational credentials and professional bodies recognized by provincial regulatory bodies will be eligible to apply for designation by CIC to provide credential assessment and authentication for FSWC purposes. Designated organizations would work on a case-by-case basis to authenticate credentials obtained in foreign jurisdictions and determine their equivalent value in Canada. This measure would allow CIC to benefit from a better assessment of the quality of a foreign educational credential. Applicants whose credentials do not exist in Canada as well as those who do not have a credential equivalent to a completed Canadian credential would not be eligible for the FSWC.

 Education points would be awarded based on the equivalent Canadian educational credential and points would be redistributed in recognition of the credential’s relevance in the Canadian labour market.

 In the case of applicants who have listed a regulated occupation in their application, where a professional body has been designated by CIC to conduct such assessments, the applicant must submit that professional body’s foreign educational credential assessment establishing that the foreign educational credential is equivalent to the Canadian educational credential required to practice that occupation.

 Furthermore, should the assessment of an applicant’s credential by a professional body not demonstrate that the credential is equivalent to the Canadian credential required for the occupation listed in the application, the applicant will not be eligible to apply in the Federal Skilled Worker Class under that occupation.

 All other applicants must submit a foreign educational credential assessment provided by a designated organization to demonstrate that their educational credential is equivalent to a Canadian educational credential.

  • Streamlining the arranged employment process and reducing the potential for fraudulent job offers. The evaluation of the FSWC showed that people who immigrate with a valid job offer do very well in Canada, earning 79% more in wages in the first three years after arrival than people without arranged employment. However, it also demonstrated that a more rigorous assessment of the employer and job offer is needed to curb fraud. Stakeholders also called on CIC to improve overall processing times of applications with arranged employment, both at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and CIC.

 The specific objectives of this particular proposed amendment are (1) to increase the integrity of the arranged employment factor by enhancing the genuineness assessment and labour market impact through the addition of measures such as the requirement that employers demonstrate that they have tried to first recruit and train Canadians for an available position; and (2) to improve labour market responsiveness by providing a faster and more streamlined process for employers and applicants.

 With the proposed changes, employers would be required to apply for a labour market opinion (LMO) to HRSDC, whether it is in support of a temporary work permit application and/or a permanent residence application. Eliminating the arranged employment opinion (AEO) and replacing it with the LMO is intended to reduce the burden on employers in the event the worker seeks to apply for permanent residence concurrently with a temporary work permit application. Using all rather than some of the LMO assessment factors already used for the Temporary Foreign Worker Class (TFWC) would enable a consistent and streamlined process for applicants and employers. These factors include the labour market impact of the entry of the foreign workers as it relates for example to wages, working conditions, recruitment efforts, labour shortages, and the genuineness of the job offer and the employer. The LMO would reduce the potential for fraudulent job offers, thus contributing to improved program integrity, and ensure that the job offer meets broader Canadian labour market objectives. Returning employers with good program compliance records may be eligible for accelerated LMO processing. FSWC applicants with a positive or neutral LMO from HRSDC could be awarded up to 15 points on the selection grid.

 For programming consistency and integrity, CIC and HRSDC would also extend the TFWC’s “substantially the same” (see footnote 13) compliance-related assessment of wages, working conditions and occupations, along with extending the TFWC list of ineligible employers to also include non-compliant employers in the FSWC and the FSTC. Some exceptions to the requirement for an LMO would apply with respect to labour mobility provisions under international agreements such as NAFTA and GATS. In these instances, employers would need to demonstrate to CIC that they are making a qualifying job offer (i.e. non-seasonal and indeterminate).

  • Changing the adaptability factors. CIC is proposing changes to the adaptability criteria to emphasize factors that are shown to have positive impacts on an immigrant’s economic and social integration. As employers value workers with Canadian work experience, the maximum number of points (10) would be awarded if the principal applicant (PA) has qualifying previous work experience in Canada. The points for their previous study in Canada would remain the same (5).

 Furthermore, the 2010 evaluation noted concerns about points for spousal education since the economic outcomes of most applicants who received points for spousal education were the same as those who did not receive them. Visa officers also observed that many spouses / common-law partners had never worked in their field. Consultation feedback encouraged replacing the spousal education adaptability factor with spousal basic language proficiency to improve the likelihood of a family’s successful integration and to reduce spousal vulnerability. Given the overall importance of language proficiency for successful establishment, CIC proposes to proceed with this change.

 To be awarded points for their previous study in Canada, the applicant or accompanying spouse would need to have obtained, studying full time in a program of at least a two-year duration, the necessary credits to successfully complete two years of study. For the purposes of adaptability, secondary school will be accepted as an eligible program of study.

 The evaluation also noted that having a relative in Canada did not improve economic outcomes for skilled workers. However, in an effort to recognize other benefits that can be associated with having an adult relative in Canada, CIC would be introducing minimum age criteria to increase the likelihood that the relative will be able to play a role in facilitating the economic and social integration of the applicant.

 Adaptability points will not be awarded for spouses who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents living in Canada, as they can sponsor applicants through the Family Class.

  • Settlement funds. Applicants already working in Canada or authorized to work in Canada have demonstrated their ability to enter the Canadian labour market and financially support themselves. Currently all applicants with qualifying offers of arranged employment in Canada are exempt from providing proof of settlement funds, whether they are working in Canada or not. The proposed regulations would amend the exemption so that it would no longer apply points to recipients of arranged employment who are not working or authorized to work in Canada. All other applicants would be required to provide proof of settlement funds.

The following table outlines the proposed amendments to the FSWC points system.

Current Points
System Grid

Proposed Changes

First Official Language:

Maximum 16 points

No official language ability required

First Official Language:

Maximum 24 points

New Mandatory Minimum

Basic

Approx. CLB/NCLC 4 or 5

Minimum threshold in all abilities

Initially set at CLB/NCLC 7

1 pt per ability to max. of 2

4 pts per ability

 

Understands the main points and important details of a conversation and can write routine business correspondence; able to participate in small group discussions and express opinions and reservations about a topic.

Moderate

Approx. CLB/NCLC 6 or 7

Threshold + 1 CLB/NCLC level

2 pts per ability

5 pts per ability

 

CLB/NCLC 8

Understands technical conversations and reading material in their line of work; asks questions, analyzes and compares information in order to make decisions.

High

CLB/NCLC 8 +

Threshold + 2 or more CLB/NCLC levels

4 pts per ability

6 pts per ability

 

CLB/NCLC 9

Participates in business meetings and debates; understands a broad range of general and abstract topics; writes formal and informal notes and summary documents.

Second Official Language:

Maximum 8 points

8

Second Official Language:

Maximum 4 points
CLB/NCLC 5 in all abilities

4

Age:

Maximum 10 points

 

Age:

Maximum 12 points

 

21 to 49 yrs

10

18 to 35 yrs

12

20 or 50 yrs

8

36 yrs

11

19 or 51 yrs

6

37 yrs

10

18 or 52 yrs

4

Less one point per year

17 or 53 yrs

2

46 yrs

1

<17 or >53 yrs

0

47 and over

0

Work Experience:

Maximum 21 points

 

Work Experience:

Maximum 15 points

 

1 yr

15

1 yr

9

2 yrs

17

2–3 yrs

11

3 yrs

19

4–5 yrs

13

4+ yrs

21

6+ yrs

15

Education:

Maximum 25 points

 

Education:

Maximum 25 points

Points will be awarded based on an assessment of educational credentials by a designated organization, indicating the foreign educational credential’s equivalent in Canada.

Master’s or Doctoral level (+17 yrs)

25

Doctoral level

25

Two or more credentials at the bachelor’s level OR 3-year post-secondary credential (+15 yrs)

22

Master’s level or professional degree

23

Bachelor’s (2 years or more) OR 2-year post-secondary credential (+14 yrs)

20

Two or more post-secondary credentials, one of which is a three-year or longer post-secondary credential

22

Bachelor’s (1 year) OR 1-year post-secondary credential (+13 yrs)

15

Three-year or longer post-secondary credential

21

One-year post-secondary credential (+12 yrs)

12

Two-year post-secondary credential

19

Secondary school

5

One-year post-secondary credential

15

Secondary school not completed

0

Secondary school

5

Arranged Employment:

10 points

 

Arranged Employment:

10 points

 
   

In order to receive points for arranged employment, applicants will need to have a LMO from HRSDC, plus an indeterminate job offer. In some cases, applicants will be LMO exempt and will only require the indeterminate job offer. New measures, including introducing a labour market assessment and genuineness elements in the regulations, are expected to increase program integrity, improve labour market responsiveness, and streamline processing for employers.

Adaptability:

Maximum 10 points

 

Adaptability:

Maximum 10 points

 

Spousal/partner education

5

PA Previous Work in Canada (min. 1 yr at NOC 0, A, B)

10

Previous Study in Canada PA or spouse/partner

5

Or a combination of…

Previous study in Canada — PA

5

Previous Work in Canada PA or spouse/partner

5

Previous study in Canada — accompanying spouse/partner

5

Relative in Canada

5

Previous work in Canada — accompanying spouse/partner

5

Arranged Employment

5

Arranged employment

5

   

Revised:

Rel. in Canada (18 years or over)

5

   

Added:

Accompanying spouse/partner’s official language (CLB/NCLC 4)

5

   

Eliminated:

Accompanying spouse/ Partner education

3 to 5

Pass mark

67

Pass mark

67

The proposed amendments would not alter the number of FSW visas issued annually. Annual levels set by CIC and approved by Parliament specify a limit on the number of immigrants admitted to Canada each year under the FSWC.

(b) New dedicated skilled trades class

The new FSTC would be open to skilled tradespersons with experience in the following NOC B occupational areas: Industrial, Electrical and Construction Trades; Maintenance and Equipment Operation Trades; Supervisors and Technical Occupations in Natural Resources, Agriculture and Related Production; Processing, Manufacturing and Utilities Supervisors and Central Control Operators; as well as Chefs and Cooks, and Bakers and Butchers.

Applicants to the proposed program would be required to meet four minimum requirements:

  1. A qualifying offer of employment from up to two employers in Canada of at least one year duration (see footnote 14) or a Certificate of Qualification from a provincial or territorial Apprenticeship Authority;
  2. Language proficiency, as evidenced by a test from a designated language testing organization that demonstrates the applicant’s abilities in the requisite skill areas meet the threshold set by the Minister in all four language abilities (speaking, reading, writing, oral comprehension);
  3. Twenty-four months of work experience (after qualification/certification in the country where the work was performed, where applicable) in the same skilled trade in the last five years; and
  4. Qualifications that satisfy employment requirements as described by the NOC, except for certification and licensing requirements, which are difficult to obtain outside Canada.

The requirement to have a job offer for one year is in recognition of the project-based and seasonal nature of many trade occupations. Allowing up to two employers to commit to employing the applicant for at least one year of continuous full-time employment is intended to allow flexibility for the employers, while ensuring that the applicant is gainfully employed for the first year after arrival. This work experience could assist the applicant in meeting certification requirements, if required, and would provide him/her with important Canadian work experience, which is key to economic success.

Apprenticeship training and trade certification is a provincial/ territorial jurisdiction; each province/territory is responsible for designating trades in their jurisdiction and for setting the certification requirements. The Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program (see footnote 15) covers approximately 81% of registered apprentices in Canada. Where provinces/territories participate in the Red Seal trades, common interprovincial standards and examinations exist. However, there are many trades where common standards do not exist. Furthermore, provincial and territorial authorities vary on which skilled trades require certification (compulsory trades) and which do not (voluntary trades).

A Certificate of Qualification by a province/territory apprenticeship authority is the best way to ensure the applicant’s ability to perform the work, and to ensure that the applicant is authorized to work in his/her intended province or territory of residence. It is also a likely predictor of employability, interprovincial labour mobility and long-term labour market integration. However, because of the difficulty of meeting some of the Canadian requirements (which may include Canadian work experience) prior to arrival in Canada, applicants could alternatively provide a qualifying job offer.

To qualify for this program, a qualifying job offer is especially suitable for the voluntary (unregulated) trades, where provincial or territorial certification and licensing are not required. The employment offer is considered to be recognition by an employer of the applicant’s ability to perform the work.

Employers could also offer jobs to skilled tradespersons in the compulsory trades, and employers and employees would have the responsibility of observing the regulations in their province or territory. In compulsory trades, tradespersons must either have the appropriate certification or be registered as apprentices. Therefore, employers must support candidates in obtaining the required Certificate of Qualification in their province/territory, or register them as apprentices during a qualification assessment period until they are certified.

As with the FSWC, given the importance of language as a determinant of successful economic establishment and to ensure that health and safety standards are upheld, applicants would need to meet a language threshold determined by the Minister for each of the four language abilities (speaking, reading, writing, oral comprehension). As with the FSWC, the Regulations would require the Minister to communicate that threshold publicly. Initially, the threshold is anticipated to be set at CLB/NCLC 5 for all four abilities (speaking, oral comprehension, reading and writing).

The applicant’s likelihood to economically establish in a skilled trade would be further verified by requiring them to have at least 24 months of recent work experience in the same skilled trade occupation as their job offer and/or the provincial/territorial certificate of qualification. The work experience must have been obtained after qualification/certification in the country where the work was performed, where applicable. For this purpose, the applicant must have performed a substantial number of the main duties listed in the description of the occupation set out in the NOC, which means, as with the FSWC, that they have performed the essential duties of the occupation. Furthermore, the applicant would be required to demonstrate that they meet the employment requirements for that skilled trade as described by NOC, except for certification and licensing requirements that are difficult to obtain outside Canada.

As with the FSWC, the Regulations would also enable officers to substitute their evaluation if they determine that the applicant’s ability to meet or not the minimum requirements of the class is not a sufficient indicator of whether the skilled worker may become economically established in Canada.

(c) Modification to the Canadian Experience Class

The proposal would also simplify the CEC to facilitate the transition to permanent resident status of temporary foreign skilled workers who have demonstrated that they can be employed in Canada, and to better align the CEC with other economic immigration programs that require less work experience (e.g. provincial nominee programs). (see footnote 16)

The Canadian work experience requirement would be reduced from 24 months to 12 in the preceding 36 months, to allow faster transition for those who have already proven their employability in Canada’s labour market. Accumulating 12 months of authorized work within the preceding 36 is more flexible for applicants working in Canada under international agreements (e.g. International Experience Canada). Only applicants with NOC 0, A or B work experience would continue to qualify for the CEC.

The CEC regulations currently allow applicants to compensate for a lower level in one language ability with a higher level in another, resulting in a process that is complicated and confusing for both applicants and visa officers. In researching the introduction of language thresholds to the FSWC, CIC’s panel of language experts and designated third-party language testing agencies strongly recommended applying the threshold across all four abilities (reading, writing, oral comprehension and speaking). Accordingly, it is proposed that a minimum language threshold would be required in each of the four abilities for applicants to the CEC. As with the FSWC, the proposed Regulations would grant the Minister the authority to set the language threshold. Initially, it is anticipated that the threshold would be set at CLB/NCLC 7, which corresponds to having “adequate intermediate proficiency” in speaking, oral comprehension, reading and writing for NOC 0 and A applicants and CLB/NCLC 5, or “initial intermediate” proficiency in each ability for NOC B applicants.

6. Regulatory and non-regulatory options considered

The IRPA gives the Governor in Council the power to adopt regulations prescribing selection criteria and their weight for economic immigration. The proposed amendments to the IRPR are necessary to design the economic immigration programs to meet Canada’s changing economic needs.

Various options for the regulatory changes to the FSWC were considered along a continuum, first starting with changes to the language, age and work experience factors. As a result of evidence garnered from the program evaluation, and feedback received through consultations, more comprehensive changes to all of the selection factors in the FSWC were developed to better assess applicants according to Canada’s economic needs. Options were incremental, each pushing further in terms of degree of change and becoming more stringent.

The minimal option for changes to the FSWC would have added minimum language requirements, differentiated by skill level (reading, writing, oral comprehension and speaking) without changing the point structure of the selection grid. Language competency was considered one of the most critical areas requiring change, as supported by evidence.

Adding modest changes to points for language, age, and work experience would help refine the grid to put weight where it counts in the labour market, and select applicants that are younger and have strong language proficiency. A rectification to the system of counting both years of education and having foreign educational credentials was proposed at consultations as a means of helping technicians and skilled tradespersons to qualify for the FSWC. Although the intent was supported by stakeholders, CIC was urged to make more profound changes to the education factor.

More aggressive point changes were considered; they would have reduced work experience points by half, thereby giving even more weight to age and language.

The introduction of mandatory foreign education credential assessment was determined to be the most effective way for awarding education points rather than using years of study as a proxy for an international credential’s value in Canada.

Finally, the inclusion of the FSTC would provide a selection mechanism better suited to skilled tradespersons, as well as mitigate the barriers they would likely face in the new FSWC points grid.

The option retained included all of the above variables, thus the regulatory amendments would

  1. Update the FSWC selection grid to
    • (i) rebalance the points among existing criteria,

    • (ii) introduce mandatory language thresholds,

      (iii) require an educational credential assessment by a designated organization, in order to allot points based on a foreign educational credential’s value in Canada and to better screen out fraudulent or “low-value” credentials, and

    • (iv) streamline the arranged employment process and reduce the potential for fraudulent job offers under the arranged employment factor;
  2. Introduce a new FSTC to mitigate barriers to the entry of skilled tradespersons to Canada, in response to labour market needs; and
  3. Ease the transition to permanent residence of TFWs who are economically established in Canada by reducing the CEC work experience requirement for the TFW stream.

By making changes to the FSWC and creating the FSTC, the proposed options include measures to better select skilled workers who have the skills and abilities demonstrated to more quickly integrate into the labour market once they arrive in Canada. Changes to the CEC mean that those who are working in Canada would be able to stay more easily, which would benefit both applicants and employers. As a whole, this regulatory package would assist in creating a better fit between skilled workers selected for permanent residence and the needs of the labour market.

The changes that are considered incremental to the baseline and for which impacts are measured are

  • The impact of modifications to the points grid on the average profile of a skilled worker. These changes include a minimum language threshold, education credentials that are assessed to provide a Canadian equivalent prior to selection, and new processes for those with arranged employment.
  • The introduction of a new federal skilled trades class for workers with NOC B experience in the following occupational areas: industrial, electrical and construction trades; maintenance and equipment operation trades; supervisors and technical occupations in natural resources, agriculture and related production; processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators; as well as the occupations of chefs, cooks, bakers and butchers. The proposed program would have four minimum requirements that must be met:
    1. An offer of employment for at least one year or a certificate of qualification from a provincial or territorial authority;
    2. Language proficiency, as evidenced by a test from a designated language testing agency to meet a threshold as set by the Minister in all four language abilities;
    3. Twenty-four months of skilled work experience (after qualification/certification) in the same qualifying skilled trades occupation in the last five years; and
    4. Qualification — satisfy employment requirements as described by the NOC aside from licensing/certification requirements which cannot be met outside of Canada.
  • The ability for some to apply under the CEC after one year rather than two years of work experience in Canada at NOC 0, A or B.

7. Benefits and costs

The table below provides an overview of the cost-benefit analysis study results. The analysis period is 10 years, starting in 2013 and ending in 2022. All costs and benefits are forecast over that period and are expressed in constant dollars. All costs and benefits in net present values (NPV) were calculated using a discount rate of 7%.

Based on the analysis of incremental impacts of these regulatory proposals, the total estimated cost is approximately $8.3 million (NPV) and the total monetized benefits is $146.2 million (NPV), resulting in a net benefit of $138 million over the analysis period, or an average of $13.8 million per year. In addition to the monetized impacts, there are qualitative benefits, which include

  • improved economic outcomes for FSWC principal applicants with corollary benefits to the Canadian economy as a result of changes to the selection grid, which would increase the value of the average skilled worker’s skills to the labour market;
  • increased number of skilled tradespersons entering the labour market, resulting in an economic benefit to employers who would be able to better access the type of skilled labour they need;
  • improved integrity in the arranged employment factor, which is expected to reduce fraudulent job offers by introducing a labour market assessment; and
  • retention of established temporary foreign skilled workers by modifying the Canadian Experience Class to ease the transition to permanent residence for qualified temporary residents with skilled Canadian work experience who have a demonstrated ability to economically establish themselves in Canada.

Qualitative costs may include a possible impact on provincial and territorial apprenticeship authorities, which may face a potential increase in the number of skilled tradespersons arriving in Canada, as potential applicants already working temporarily in Canada and newcomers with arranged employment seek provincial/territorial certification in designated trades. Possible impacts could include impacts on applicants, should wait times for certification lengthen, and a potential cost to provinces and territories, should this impact occur and they respond with increased investments in the certification process.

Cost-benefit statement

Costs, benefits and distribution

Base Year 2013

Year Five 2017

Final Year 2022

Total

Annual Average

A. Quantified impacts in millions of present value $ (in 2011 dollars)

Benefits

Stakeholders

 

 

 

 

 

Language instruction for newcomers to Canada (LINC) savings

CIC

0.0

3.8

2.7

27.6

2.7

Processing benefit due to third party educational credential assessment

CIC

0.0

0.7

0.5

5.0

0.5

Processing benefit resulting from the reduced time it takes to process an LMO vs. an AEO

HRSDC

0.3

0.2

0.2

2.3

0.2

Quicker entry into labour market of principal applicants with arranged employment resulting in an economic benefit to employers who would be able to better access the type of skilled labour they need, and improved economic outcomes for applicants who would generate earnings more quickly

New Canadians and employers

0.0

3.0

2.1

21.6

2.2

Increased revenue to educational credential assessment agencies and national profession-specific organizations

Canadian businesses

11.9

9.1

6.5

89.6

9.0

Total benefits

 

12.2

16.8

12.0

146.2

14.6

Costs

Stakeholders

 

 

 

 

 

Transition costs

CIC

0.3

0.02

0.0

0.4

0.04

Increased processing costs of CEC applications

CIC

0.0

0.0

0.0

1.8

0.2

Transition costs

HRSDC

0.03

0.0

0.0

0.03

0.0

Compliance costs to medium and large business

Business

0.4

0.3

0.2

3.1

0.3

Compliance costs to small business

Small business

0.4

0.3

0.2

3.0

0.3

Total costs

 

1.1

0.6

0.4

8.3

0.8

Net benefits (NPV)

138.0

13.8

B. Qualitative impacts

Benefits

Description of cost or benefit

Improved economic outcomes as a result of a better match between immigration and labour market needs

The introduction of a minimum language threshold, the increased number of points for official language ability and Canadian work experience, and the requirement of an education credential assessment would contribute to an increased proportion of successful applicants securing employment in their professional field with wages commensurate with their skills, tightening their links to the labour market and resulting in a benefit for FSWs, Canadian employers and the Canadian economy. In addition, the modification to the CEC and the introduction of a skilled trades program would help to respond to employer and labour market needs, including the shortage of skilled tradespersons in certain occupations.

Improved program integrity

A labour market assessment under the arranged employment selection criterion would reduce potentially fraudulent job offers and demonstrate that the skilled worker will not have a negative impact on the labour market.

Facilitating skilled tradespersons’ entry into the labour market

The selection process for skilled tradespersons to apply for PR under the FSTC would be based on a simplified, pass-fail model, rather than the points system used for the managerial/professional/technical stream which, given its focus on academic credentials, poses a barrier to successful applications from skilled tradespersons. Increased labour market entry will result in an economic benefit to employers who would be able to better access the type of skilled labour they need, and improved economic outcomes for applicants who would generate earnings more quickly.

Costs

 

Provincial and territorial apprenticeship authorities

An increase in the number of skilled tradespersons arriving in Canada may impose costs for provincial and territorial apprenticeship authorities, as potential applicants already working temporarily in Canada and newcomers with arranged employment seek provincial certification in designated trades. Possible impacts could include impacts on applicants, should wait times for certification lengthen, and a potential cost to provinces and territories, should this impact occur and they respond with increased investments in the certification process.

The full cost-benefit analysis is available to the public on request.

Business and consumer impacts

The Canadian economy and Canadian employers would benefit from the selection of immigrants who are better able to economically establish themselves quickly and successfully. The proposed changes will lift the administrative burden for businesses seeking to hire skilled workers on a temporary basis while their permanent residence application is being processed, because they will not need to reapply for an opinion from HRSDC in support of the application for permanent residence. However, in order to hire a foreign national, some employers will need to demonstrate that they have advertised nationally for the position that they wish to fill. In addition, HRSDC would have to determine the likely impact on the Canadian labour market and issue a positive or a negative opinion which would screen out workers who would have a negative impact.

The requirement to have foreign educational credentials assessed prior to application will also benefit designated assessment agencies, as these not-for-profit agencies will see the demand for their services increase.

Distributional impacts

Once implemented, the proposed amendments are expected to result in a net benefit of $138 million, of which a benefit of $90 million is due to increased revenue to Canadian businesses.

With respect to gender considerations, the proportion of female FSW principal applicants has been rising. The FSWC evaluation determined that there has been an increased number of female applicants for the post-IRPA period of the evaluation (30% compared to 23% from pre-IRPA).

A gender-based analysis (GBA) of the proposed changes was conducted to assess the potential effects on women applying under the FSWC. The proposed amendments to the selection criteria would reduce the relative weight of work experience on the grid. As women are generally responsible for family care-giving responsibilities, this decrease will help lessen the impact family responsibilities may have on their ability to earn points for work experience.

The proposed FSTC requires two years of work experience within five years, and this requirement could have a negative gender-based impact given that requiring the experience to be recent could negatively impact those who have had to leave the workforce for family care responsibilities. However, given that work experience is a critical factor for assessing the ability of applicants in the skilled trades to become economically established, and that work experience that is recent is often the most relevant to employers, this policy option is considered to be a crucial element of the FSTC, despite its potential negative impact. Since the average profile of a skilled tradesperson in Canada is overwhelmingly male (80%), there is a potential gender imbalance in the profile of applicants to this class. As part of ongoing GBA activities, CIC strives to identify and address unintended barriers to female applicants when possible.

8. “One-for-One” Rule

Administrative burden or relief is defined as the costs or savings for Canadian businesses to collect, store and exchange information with the Government as a result of regulatory change. In the proposed FSWC regulatory amendments, both administrative burden and relief have been identified for employers wishing to make a permanent job offer to support an FSW’s application for permanent residency. As explained below, employers are impacted differently with respect to administrative burden, depending on the circumstances of the foreign national whom the employer wishes to employ. After a review of all of the different circumstances for which employers have administrative requirements, the analysis presents an overall relief of administrative burden resulting from the proposed Regulations.

Below is a review of each circumstance for which administrative burden or relief may apply to employers impacted by the proposed regulatory amendments.

Circumstance

Current Requirement for Employer

Proposed Requirement for Employer

Administrative Burden or Relief

Explanation

1

Temporary foreign worker who is working in Canada for an employer. The employer already has an existing LMO, and the same employer chooses to provide a permanent job offer in the same occupation to support the worker’s application for permanent residency.

Job offer assessed by CIC

Job offer assessed by CIC

Neutral

No change in requirement.

2

Temporary foreign worker who is working in Canada for an employer. The employer already has an existing LMO, and the same employer chooses to provide a permanent job offer but in a different occupation to support the worker’s application for permanent residency.

HRSDC AEO

Job offer assessed by CIC

Relief

Preparing an AEO application and the supporting 10+ pieces of documentation required to HRSDC is more burdensome than simply preparing a job offer for CIC that demonstrates the genuineness of the employment being offered.

3

Temporary foreign worker who is working in Canada for an employer. A different employer chooses to provide a permanent job offer to support the workers application for permanent residency.

HRSDC AEO

HRSDC LMO + job offer

Relief

Preparing an AEO application and the supporting 10+ pieces of documentation required to support that application to HRSDC is more burdensome than applying for an LMO. Unlike the LMO application, the AEO application requires supporting documents such as tax returns, collective agreements, business registration, workers compensation clearance letters, commercial lease agreements, etc. The LMO application does not require supporting documentation except in a proportion of cases where HRSDC determines that follow-up information is required. 

4

Foreign national who is in Canada working under a work permit with an LMO exemption due to an international agreement such as NAFTA, and chooses to apply for permanent residency with an employer’s job offer to support his/her application.

Job offer assessed by CIC

Job offer assessed by CIC

Neutral

No change in requirement.

5

Foreign national not in Canada who does not have a work permit but does have a job offer from an employer in Canada to support the permanent residency application.

HRSDC AEO

HRSDC LMO + job offer

Relief

Preparing an AEO application and the supporting 10+ pieces of documentation required to support that application to HRSDC is more burdensome than applying for an LMO. Unlike the LMO application, the AEO application requires supporting documents such as tax returns, collective agreements, business registration, workers compensation clearance letters, commercial lease agreements, etc. The LMO application does not require supporting documentation except in a proportion of cases where HRSDC determines that follow-up information is required. 

6

Foreign national who is in Canada working under the “Canadian interests” provision in R205(a) and R205(c)(ii), and chooses to apply for permanent residency with a job offer to support his/her application.

Job offer assessed by CIC

HRSDC LMO + job offer

Burden

Preparing a job offer is less burdensome than an LMO application to HRSDC, which involves not only preparation of a job offer but also completing a six page form where details of the job, the employer, wages, hours of work, benefits, collective agreement applicability, and the temporary foreign workers details, etc. need to be described.

The above table illustrates the impact on employers based on the circumstances of the foreign national applying for permanent residency. If the proposed amendments were applied to the cases processed by CIC in 2011, an administrative burden would be applied to 12% of employers, while 40% would enjoy administrative relief. There would be no change in administrative burden for a further 48% of employers. Assuming that each case involved a separate application, the overall net effect is an administrative savings to business.

9. Small business lens

The proposed changes would reduce the administrative burden for small businesses seeking to hire skilled workers on a temporary basis while their permanent residence application is being processed. However, in order to hire a foreign national, employers would need to demonstrate that they have advertised nationally for the position that they wish to fill. In addition, HRSDC would have had to determine the likely impact on the Canadian labour market.

Small businesses applying for LMOs for NOC B occupations would incur compliance costs, estimated at $3.0 million over 10 years, to advertise the position through specific employment Web sites, national and local newspapers, etc. The costs related to posting advertisements would include the human resources efforts to arrange such activities. HRSDC data suggests that of the AEOs requested for NOC B occupations in 2010, approximately half were from small businesses.

The proposed changes would also streamline administrative processes for small businesses as follows:

  • — allow businesses, with a single application to HRSDC, to hire a foreign national temporarily while their permanent residence application is being processed;
  • — reduce processing times for businesses seeking permanent staff, while introducing a labour market assessment to align the process with broader Government objectives, such as ensuring that job offers correspond to a real need in the Canadian labour market;
  • — reduce the administrative burden on employers wishing to offer a different permanent position to a temporary foreign worker already in their employ, so they would not be required to return to HRSDC for a subsequent opinion; and
  • — introduce into the FSWC and the FSTC factors already used in the TFWC, including the LMO process and genuineness assessment.

10. Consultation

Following the FSW program evaluation, CIC met with a broad range of stakeholders in February and March 2011, on the proposed changes to the FSW selection grid. Meetings held in-person in five cities across Canada were attended by approximately 100 representatives from various sectors, including employers, unions, educational institutions, professional and business organizations, regulatory bodies, municipalities, immigrant services organizations, sector councils and ethno-cultural organizations.

From February 17 to March 25, 2011, CIC also held an online consultation with stakeholders and the general public to seek views on the proposed changes to the FSWC. The general public was informed about the consultation through CIC’s Web site, a promotional news release, and the Consulting with Canadians Web site.

Feedback received through the consultation process indicated general support for redistributing points among the selection criteria to require proficiency in English or French, placing greater emphasis on younger immigrants — who would adapt more easily and would generally contribute longer to the labour market — giving a weight to foreign work experience that reflects its low value when entering the labour market, and instituting measures to curb fraud in the arranged employment factor. More specifically, the consultations yielded the following key findings:

  • Language: Stakeholders and the public were broadly supportive of minimum language thresholds by occupational classification and increased weighting for language. There was general agreement that language skills are important to ensure success both in and out of the workplace, for principal applicants and their spouses.
  • Age: Stakeholders and the public were generally supportive of redistributing points for age to benefit younger immigrants who will be active members of the workforce for a longer timeframe. The proposal of 35 as the peak age to earn age points was met with mixed reactions, as were the sharp drop-offs in points for applicants 40 years and over. Those in support of changes noted that younger applicants would bring a greater economic benefit to Canada over the long term, and would have a higher potential to adapt, learn the language and integrate. Others noted that older applicants would have more work experience, and therefore could be more likely to succeed in finding work.
  • Education: A reduction in the number of years of education required to claim points for applicants with technical and trade educational credentials was met with strong support, particularly among stakeholders. Comments received noted the benefits for applicants and the labour market, indicating that the proposed changes were a positive step toward attracting talented applicants with a different set of qualifications than the existing points model rewards. Many stakeholders called for making changes to the assessment of education points to reflect the value of a foreign educational credential in Canada and suggested using third-party agencies to assess foreign credentials.
  • Work experience: There was a general acknowledgement among stakeholders and the public that foreign work experience is for the most part discounted by Canadian employers and therefore general agreement with the direction to reduce the point value of foreign work experience. However, comments received also highlighted that experience — foreign or domestic — is an integral factor for the screening of skilled workers and that there are varying degrees of transferability depending upon the occupation. In certain sectors, foreign work experience is very highly valued.
  • Arranged employment: Stakeholders and the general public were supportive of establishing clearer criteria for assessing the genuineness of a job offer and expressed concerns regarding lengthy processing times. Members of the general public identified a need to reduce cases of individuals taking advantage of Canada’s immigration system through fraudulent job offers. Stakeholders welcomed measures to improve the integrity and genuineness provisions, with some reservations expressed as to whether this would impose overly burdensome requirements on genuine employers and increase processing times.
  • Skilled trades: Stakeholders also commented on the fact that CIC needed to do more to facilitate the immigration of skilled tradespersons through criteria that are more specific to jobs in the skilled trades. Many consultation participants noted that the current criteria are not accessible to foreign skilled tradespersons, contributing to labour shortages for Canadian employers.
  • CEC: At several in-person consultation sessions, stakeholders recommended that Canada needed to improve the bridging between temporary and permanent residence. Several of the participants were unaware of the program’s creation in 2008. CIC is therefore taking measures to make the program even more accessible to skilled workers working in Canada on timesensitive temporary work permits.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has taken the excellent feedback received through consultations into consideration in preparing the more comprehensive regulatory proposal when stakeholder views and concerns were supported by research or international best practices, and/or helped to achieve the policy objectives.

11. Regulatory cooperation

As the provinces and territories are solely responsible for regulating the trades and apprenticeship programs in their jurisdictions, CIC met with provincial and territorial representatives in October 2011 and later convened special meetings involving both provincial/territorial immigration departments and Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship officials for focused discussions regarding the proposed FSTC. CIC will continue to meet with provincial and territorial representatives on an ad hoc basis after implementation of the proposed Regulations, to ensure program integrity and identify any areas of concern.

12. Rationale

The proposed Regulations would lead to a more effective assessment of the large number of FSW applicants and help CIC to better select immigrants with the characteristics that are valued by the Canadian labour market. This should result in a benefit for the Canadian economy and Canadian employers through the selection of immigrants who can, within a shorter period of time, find employment that is commensurate with their skills. More rapid integration into the labour market would provide immediate benefits to the Canadian economy, such as easier access to skilled workers with the abilities required in the labour market, and in turn would reduce the demand for government assistance. The changes align with the Government’s announcement in Economic Action Plan 2012 to build rapid and flexible economic immigration selection systems.

(a) Revised FSWC points system

With respect to language ability, changes to the language thresholds would have a significant impact on prospective applicants with basic and low-intermediate skills in English and French, since FSWs below CLB/NCLC 7 would not be eligible to qualify under the new grid. The minimum language threshold and the increased weight awarded to language on the selection grid are expected to reduce the number of FSWs arriving with lower levels of language proficiency. Language proficiency is highly valued by employers, and it is recognized to be a vehicle for acquiring other skills. The program evaluation noted that the effect of language points on earnings increases gradually with the more points earned, and reaches a peak between 16 to 20 points, which corresponds to having received the maximum points for knowledge of the first official language. Individuals scoring in that range of points have earnings that are 38% to 39% higher than FSWs who received between 0 to 7 points for language. The evaluation also highlighted problems with the current situation where FSW applicants can obtain a sufficient number of points to pass without speaking any English or French provided that they compensate with other factors on the selection grid. This was problematic considering the critical role of language in ensuring positive economic outcomes. (see footnote 17), (see footnote 18)

The diminishing age points are more gradual, aiming to strike a balance between program objectives, which include encouraging the immigration of younger workers, who usually spend more time contributing to the labour market prior to retirement age, and stakeholder concerns at consultations.

Analysis indicates that changes to the grid would impact primarily those applicants between the ages of 39 and 53. Based on the current application intake, the average federal skilled worker is 34 years old, slightly below the age group that will be affected by the weights placed on age. While changes might not immediately affect the average age of FSWC applicants, given the importance of age as a determinant of economic success, along with Canada’s looming demographic challenges, the proposed changes to the age requirement would help position the FSWC to attract younger immigrants who, research shows, are more flexible and adaptable and contribute to the Canadian economy for a longer period.

Changes to the grid would also reduce the weight of work experience acquired outside Canada. Research on the lifetime earnings of immigrants using the Longitudinal Immigration Database indicates foreign work experience is strongly discounted within the Canadian labour market. This research found foreign work experience to be associated with only modest wage enhancements for immigrants once they enter the labour market. The enhancement in Canadian labour market earnings from foreign work experience is significantly lower than that associated with equivalent time spent in the Canadian labour market. However, studies also indicate that once an immigrant has successfully integrated into the Canadian labour market, the discount effect on their foreign work experience diminishes. The immigrant’s prior work experience gains recognition in the context of their Canadian experience. In other words, the foreign work experience will be of less value in obtaining a first Canadian job, but will help once the immigrant is employed. (see footnote 19)

The definition of “full-time work” will be amended to reflect a change in usual duration that is consistent with the definition used by HRSDC and Statistics Canada, equalling 30 hours per week, or the equivalent in continuous part-time work. Volunteer work and work done in exchange for other types of compensation (e.g. room/board) would be excluded so as not to encourage volunteering in Canada as a way to qualify for the class.

Difficulties in foreign credential recognition are commonly cited as a barrier to employment. Introducing a requirement for an educational credential assessment prior to application, be it by credential assessment agencies or professional bodies, allows for the allocation of education points in the FSWC selection grid, based on an improved assessment of a foreign educational credential’s quality. The new requirement is also intended to assist CIC in better screening out fraudulent credentials. It also helps manage the expectations of applicants in that it gives them early information on the value of their foreign educational credentials in Canada.

This assessment solely considers the educational credential and is for immigration purposes only. For those applicants intending to work in regulated occupations, an educational credential assessment for immigration purposes would not replace the regulatory community’s own more in-depth assessment and licensing processes, which are both occupation- and jurisdiction-specific. While an educational credential assessment would assist principal applicants, employers and regulators by providing a comparability of international education credentials to standards in Canada, it would not guarantee employment, nor would it guarantee licensure in a regulated profession.

Replacing the AEO with an LMO is intended to streamline processing, making it quicker and easier for employers to hire foreign skilled workers and supporting their application for permanent residence. By replacing the AEO, we will be introducing the same genuineness and integrity measures that are used for workers arriving on a temporary basis and ensuring program consistency. This measure is intended to make the FSWC more responsive to labour market needs overall by analyzing the impact of the skilled worker on the Canadian labour market to screen out negative impacts and to speed up the process overall.

The proposed changes to the adaptability factor reflect the importance of Canadian work experience in the Canadian labour market, and the overall importance of language to socio-economic integration.

The chosen option of comprehensively changing the FSWC is aligned with the Government of Canada’s stated objective to build a rapid and flexible economic system with a primary focus on meeting Canada’s labour market needs, as articulated in the Economic Action Plan 2012.

(b) New Federal Skilled Trades Class

The higher standards for applicants in managerial, professional and technical occupations and the requirement to undergo an assessment of foreign educational credentials prior to applying under the FSWC have a strong evidence base and are supported by many stakeholders. However, a higher language threshold and foreign educational credential assessments could also act as a barrier to applicants in the skilled trades, as trade credentials are usually not assessed by designated assessment agencies due to a high degree of variation among apprenticeship training programs, which is common in the trades.

Given intensifying competition to attract and retain skilled tradespersons, as well as to mitigate the barriers they would likely face in the new FSWC points grid, a streamlined federal immigration program is being proposed for skilled tradespersons, based on criteria most relevant to these occupations and to ensure that incoming tradespersons are well positioned to work in Canada.

The proposed FSTC is intended to help fill Canada’s growing labour shortages in certain skilled trades by facilitating immigration through selection criteria that better reflect tradespersons’ realities and put more emphasis on practical experience. The criteria have been developed recognizing the variations in provincial and territorial trade certification processes, and the importance of meeting minimum language requirements, given that language proficiency is a determinant factor of immigrant success.

(c) Improved Canadian Experience Class

Improvements to the CEC would further respond to labour market needs by making it easier for skilled temporary foreign workers who have demonstrated the potential to successfully establish themselves economically to obtain permanent residence.

Combined, the suite of changes proposed as part of the modernization of the FSWC, the new FSTC, and improvements to the CEC would aim to respond to broader national economic labour shortages and labour market needs by better selecting skilled workers according to criteria that lead to better economic outcomes. With the proposed regulatory amendments, the Government of Canada would capitalize on improvements that are suggested by the FSW program evaluation, confirmed by recent research, and recognized as best practices by other immigrant-receiving countries. Given the evaluation, research, and stakeholder input CIC has received, missing the opportunity to implement improvements would fall short of fulfilling CIC’s statutory mandate to maximize the economic benefits of immigration and deliver on stated objectives of the Government of Canada.

The proposed regulatory package places greater importance on factors that are most strongly associated with successful economic outcomes and aims to achieve the policy objectives of selecting applicants who will be able to economically establish themselves in Canada more quickly, spend a longer period of time contributing to the labour market before retiring and have higher language proficiency. It aims to facilitate the immigration of skilled tradespersons, and enables employers to more easily retain and attract temporary foreign workers who are doing well in the Canadian labour market.

13. Implementation and enforcement

The proposed amendments would include a range of implementation requirements, such as amendments to application forms and the CIC Web site, IT systems, training for CIC officials, and the designation of foreign educational credential assessment agencies.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada would adopt a proactive communications approach to ensure that applicants are aware of the new assessment process and the new requirements in each program. Communications with potential applicants would clearly articulate

  • the population eligible for these immigration programs;
  • that being selected is not in and of itself a guarantee of finding employment in Canada, or in one’s intended occupation; and
  • that the educational credential assessment by a designated organization, or an offer of employment for the skilled trades, will not exempt the applicant from meeting the licensure and regulatory requirements of their province or territory of residence.

An implementation working group comprised of CIC and HRSDC officials has been established to develop a comprehensive operational plan to ensure that the necessary procedures, system support and communication tools would be in place by the time the regulations come into force.

Any fraudulent information used in an application to immigration programs could lead to a refusal based on misrepresentation, resulting in serious consequences such as a two-year ban on entering Canada or fines under the IRPA. Employers who have not respected the terms of previously issued LMOs without an appropriate justification or employers who are on a list of ineligible employers would be banned from extending further job offers to foreign nationals for two years.

14. Performance measurement and evaluation

Under the Treasury Board Secretariat Policy on Evaluation, departments are required to evaluate all departmental direct program spending over five years. The amendments proposed herein would be monitored and evaluated according to regular program evaluation schedules.

15. Contact

Susan MacPhee
Director
Economic Immigration Policy and Programs
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
365 Laurier Avenue W
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1L1
Telephone: 613-954-4214
Fax: 613-954-0850
Email: Susan.MacPhee@cic.gc.ca

PROPOSED REGULATORY TEXT

Notice is given that the Governor in Council, pursuant to subsection 5(1) and section 14 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (see footnote a), proposes to make the annexed Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

Interested persons may make representations concerning the proposed Regulations within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice. All such representations must cite the Canada Gazette, Part Ⅰ, and the date of publication of this notice, and be addressed to Susan MacPhee, Director, Economic Immigration Policy and Programs Division, Department of Citizenship and Immigration, 365 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 1L1 (tel.: 613-954-4214; fax: 613-954-0850; email: Susan.MacPhee@cic.gc.ca).

Ottawa, July 25, 2012

JURICA ČAPKUN
Assistant Clerk of the Privy Council

REGULATIONS AMENDING THE IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION REGULATIONS

AMENDMENTS

1. (1) The definition “National Occupational Classification” in section 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (see footnote 20) is replaced by the following:

National Occupational Classification
« Classification nationale des professions »

National Occupational Classification” means the National Occupational Classification developed by the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development and Statistics Canada, as amended from time to time.

(2) Section 2 of the Regulations is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order:

“Canadian Language Benchmarks”
Document existant en anglais seulement

Canadian Language Benchmarks” means, for the English language, the Canadian Language Benchmarks: English as a Second Language for Adults developed by the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks, as amended from time to time.

« Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens »
Document existant en français seulement

Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens means, for the French language, the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens : français langue seconde pour adultes developed by the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks, as amended from time to time.

2. (1) The portion of section 73 of the Regulations before the definitions is replaced by the following:

73. (1) The following definitions apply in this Division.

(2) The definition “educational credential” in subsection 73(1) of the Regulations is repealed.

(3) Subsection 73(1) of the Regulations is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order:

“Canadian educational credential”
« diplôme canadien »

“Canadian educational credential” means any diploma, certificate or credential, issued on the completion of a Canadian program of study or training at an educational or training institution that is recognized by the authorities responsible for registering, accrediting, supervising and regulating such institutions.

“equivalency assessment”
« attestation d’équivalence »

“equivalency assessment” means a determination, issued by an organization or institution designated under subsection 75(4), that a foreign diploma, certificate or credential is equivalent to a Canadian educational credential and an assessment, by the same organization or institution, of the authenticity of the foreign diploma, certificate or credential.

“full-time work”
« travail à temps plein »

“full-time work” means at least 30 hours of work over a period of one week.

“language skill area”
« habileté langagière »

“language skill area” means speaking, oral comprehension, reading or writing.

(4) Section 73 of the Regulations is amended by adding the following after subsection (1):

Definition of “work”

(2) Despite the definition “work” in section 2, for the purposes of this Division, “work” means an activity for which wages are paid or commission is earned.

3. The Regulations are amended by adding the following after section 73:

General

Criteria

74. (1) For the purposes of paragraphs 75(2)(d), 79(2)(a), 87.1(2)(b) and 87.2(3)(a), the Minister shall fix, by class prescribed by these Regulations or occupation, and make available to the public, minimum language proficiency thresholds on the basis of

  • (a) the number of applications in all classes under Part 6 that are being processed;

  • (b) the number of members of each class prescribed by these Regulations who are projected to become permanent residents according to the report to Parliament referred to in section 94 of the Act; and

  • (c) the potential, taking into account the applicants’ linguistic profile and economic and other relevant factors, for the establishment in Canada of applicants under the federal skilled workers class, the Canadian experience class and the federal skilled trades class.

Minimum language proficiency thresholds

(2) The minimum language proficiency thresholds fixed by the Minister shall be established in reference to the benchmarks described in the Canadian Language Benchmarks and the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens.

Designation

(3) The Minister may designate, for any period specified by the Minister, any organization or institution to be responsible for evaluating language proficiency for the purposes of paragraph 75(2)(d), subsection 79(1) and paragraphs 83(1)(a), 87.1(2)(b) and 87.2(3)(a) on the basis of the organization or institution’s recognized expertise in evaluating language proficiency and on the basis that the organization or institution has provided a correlation of the organization or institution’s test results to the benchmarks set out in the Canadian Language Benchmarks and the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens that is determined to be satisfactory by the Minister. The Minister shall make public the list of designated organizations or institutions.

Revocation of designation

(4) The Minister may revoke a designation on the basis of the following criteria:

  • (a) the organization or institution no longer meets the criteria set out in subsection (3); or

  • (b) the organization or institution submitted false, misleading or inaccurate information to the Department or has been found to have contravened any provision of federal or provincial legislation.

Conclusive evidence

(5) The results of an assessment provided by a designated organization or institution constitute conclusive evidence of language proficiency of an applicant under the federal skilled worker class, the Canadian experience class or the federal skilled trades class, as the case may be.

4. (1) Paragraph 75(2)(a) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

  • (a) within the 10 years preceding the date of their application for a permanent resident visa, they have accumulated at least one year of full-time work experience, or the full-time equivalent for part-time work experience, over a continuous period, in one or more occupations, other than a restricted occupation, that are listed in Skill Type 0 Management Occupations or Skill Level A or B of the National Occupational Classification matrix;

(2) Subsection 75(2) of the Regulations is amended by striking out “and” at the end of paragraph (b) and by adding the following after paragraph (c):

  • (d) the foreign national has submitted the results of an evaluation, issued by an organization or institution designated under subsection 74(3), of the foreign national’s proficiency in either English or French indicating that the foreign national has met or exceeded the applicable language proficiency threshold fixed by the Minister under subsection 74(1) for each of the four language skill areas;

  • (e) if a professional body has been designated under subsection (4) for an occupation for which licensing by a provincial regulatory body is required and the foreign national has specified that occupation on their application, the foreign national has submitted either Canadian educational credentials relevant to that occupation, or equivalency assessments provided by the designated professional body, which, in addition to the criteria set out in the definition of an “equivalency assessment” at subsection 73(1), establish that the foreign diploma, certificate or credential is equivalent to the Canadian educational credential required to practice that occupation in at least one of the provinces in which the professional body is recognized; and

  • (f) if no professional body has been designated under subsection (4) for the occupation specified on their application, the foreign national must submit either Canadian educational credentials, or equivalency assessments issued by an organization or institution designated under subsection (4) other than a professional body.

(3) Section 75 of the Regulations is amended by adding the following after subsection (3):

Designated institutions or organizations

(4) For the purposes of the definition of “equivalency assessment” in subsection 73(1) and paragraphs (2)(e) and (f), the Minister may designate, for a period specified by the Minister, any organization or institution to be responsible for assessing the authenticity of foreign educational credentials and their equivalency to Canadian educational credentials according to the following criteria and the Minister shall make public the list of designated organizations or institutions:

  • (a) the organization or institution’s recognized expertise in the authentication of foreign educational credentials and the assessment of foreign educational credentials for their equivalency with Canadian educational credentials; and

  • (b) in the case of a professional body, the organization or institution is recognized by at least two provincial professional regulatory bodies.

Revocation of designation

(5) The Minister may revoke a designation on the basis of the following criteria:

  • (a) an organization or institution no longer meets the criteria set out in paragraphs 4(a) or 4(b); or

  • (b) the organization or institution submitted false, misleading or inaccurate information to the Department or has been found to have contravened any provision of federal or provincial legislation.

Conclusive evidence

(6) For the purposes of paragraphs 75(2)(e) and (f) and section 78, an equivalency assessment constitutes conclusive evidence of the equivalence of the foreign diplomas, certificates or credentials to Canadian educational credentials.

5. Subparagraph 76(1)(b)(ii) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

  • (ii) be awarded points under paragraph 82(2)(a), (b) or (d) for arranged employment in Canada within the meaning of subsection 82(1).

6. (1) Subsection 78(1) of the Regulations is repealed.

(2) Subsection 78(2) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

Education (25 points)

(2) A maximum of 25 points shall be awarded for a skilled worker’s Canadian educational credential or equivalency assessment submitted in support of an application, as follows:

  • (a) 5 points for a credential or equivalency assessment at the secondary school level;

  • (b) 15 points for a credential or equivalency assessment that is issued on completion of a one-year post-secondary program;

  • (c) 19 points for a credential or equivalency assessment that is issued on completion of a two-year post-secondary program;

  • (d) 21 points for a credential or equivalency assessment that is issued on completion of a post-secondary program of three years or longer;

  • (e) 22 points for two or more credentials or equivalency assessments that are issued for completion of a post-secondary program, one of which must be a credential or equivalency assessment issued on completion of a post-secondary program of three years or longer;

  • (f) 23 points for a university-level credential or equivalency assessment at the master’s level or at the level of an entry-to-practice professional degree for an occupation listed in the National Occupational Classification matrix at Skill Level A for which licensing by a provincial regulatory body is required; and

  • (g) 25 points for a university-level credential or equivalency assessment at the doctoral level.

(3) Paragraphs 78(3)(a) and (b) of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

  • (a) except as set out in paragraph 2(e), shall not be awarded cumulatively on the basis of more than one single educational credential; and

  • (b) shall be awarded on the basis of the Canadian educational credentials or equivalency assessments submitted in support of an application for a permanent resident visa that result in the highest number of points.

(4) Subsection 78(4) of the Regulations is repealed.

7. Section 79 of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

Official languages

79. (1) A skilled worker must specify in their application for a permanent resident visa which language — English or French — is to be considered their first official language in Canada. They must have their proficiency assessed by an organization or institution designated under subsection 74(3) in at least their first official language, but, if they wish, they may also have their proficiency assessed in their second official language to claim points for proficiency in that language.

Proficiency in English and French (28 points)

(2) Assessment points for proficiency in the official languages of Canada shall be awarded up to a maximum of 24 points for the applicant’s first official language and a maximum of 4 points for the applicant’s second official language based on benchmarks set out in Canadian Language Benchmarks and the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens, as follows:

  • (a) for each of the four language skill areas, in the applicant’s first official language
    • (i) 4 points per language skill area if the applicant’s proficiency meets the threshold determined by the Minister under subsection 74(1) for that language skill area,

    • (ii) 5 points per language skill area if the applicant’s proficiency exceeds the threshold determined by the Minister under subsection 74(1) for that language skill area by one benchmark level,

    • (iii) 6 points per language skill area if the applicant’s proficiency exceeds the threshold determined by the Minister under subsection 74(1) for that language skill area by at least two benchmark levels; and
  • (b) 4 points if the applicant’s proficiency in their second official language meets or exceeds benchmark level 5 in each of the four language skill areas.

8. (1) Subsection 80(1) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

Experience (15 points)

80. (1) Up to a maximum of 15 points shall be awarded to a skilled worker for full-time work experience, or the full-time equivalent for part-time work experience, within the 10 years preceding the date of their application, as follows:

  • (a) for one year of work experience, 9 points;

  • (b) for two to three years of work experience, 11 points;

  • (c) for four to five years of work experience, 13 points; and

  • (d) for six or more years of work experience, 15 points.

(2) Subsection 80(7) of the Regulations is repealed.

9. Section 81 of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

Age (12 points)

81. Points shall be awarded up to a maximum of 12 in relation to a skilled worker’s age, as of the date of their application, as follows:

  • (a) 12 points for a skilled worker 18 years of age and older but less than 36 years of age;

  • (b) 11 points for a skilled worker 36 years of age;

  • (c) 10 points for a skilled worker 37 years of age;

  • (d) 9 points for a skilled worker 38 years of age;

  • (e) 8 points for a skilled worker 39 years of age;

  • (f) 7 points for a skilled worker 40 years of age;

  • (g) 6 points for a skilled worker 41 years of age;

  • (h) 5 points for a skilled worker 42 years of age;

  • (i) 4 points for a skilled worker 43 years of age;

  • (j) 3 points for a skilled worker 44 years of age;

  • (k) 2 points for a skilled worker 45 years of age;

  • (l) 1 point for a skilled worker 46 years of age; and

  • (m) 0 points for a skilled worker under 18 years of age or 47 years of age or older.

10. (1) Subsection 82(1) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

Definition — arranged employment

82. (1) In this section, “arranged employment” means an offer of employment for full-time work in Canada that is non-seasonal and indeterminate, made by an employer other than an embassy, high commission or consulate in Canada, in an occupation listed in Skill Type 0 Management Occupations or Skill Level A or B of the National Occupational Classification matrix.

(2) The portion of subsection 82(2) of the Regulations before subparagraph (d)(ii) is replaced by the following:

Arranged employment (10 points)

(2) Ten points shall be awarded to a skilled worker for arranged employment if they are able to perform and are likely to accept and carry out the employment and

  • (a) the skilled worker is in Canada and, as of the date an application is made for a permanent resident visa, holds a valid work permit and, as of the date the permanent resident visa, if any, is issued, is authorized to work in Canada under a work permit or under section 186, and
    • (i) the work permit was issued based on a determination by an officer that the requirements set out in subsection 203(1) with respect to employment of the skilled worker in an occupation listed in Skill Type 0 Management Occupations or Skill Level A or B of the National Occupational Classification matrix have been met,

    • (ii) the skilled worker is working for an employer specified on the work permit, or

    • (iii) the employer referred to at subparagraph (ii) has made an offer to the skilled worker of arranged employment once the permanent resident visa, if any, is issued to the skilled worker;
  • (b) the skilled worker is in Canada and holds a work permit referred to in paragraph 204(a) or 204(c) that is valid as of the date an application is made by the skilled worker for a permanent resident visa and the circumstances referred to in subparagraphs (a)(ii) and (iii) apply;

  • (c) the skilled worker does not hold a valid work permit and is not authorized to work in Canada under section 186 as of the date of application for a permanent resident visa and
    • (i) an employer has made an offer of arranged employment to the skilled worker, and

    • (ii) an officer has approved that offer of employment based on an opinion provided to the officer by the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development at the request of the employer or an officer, on the same basis as an opinion provided for the issuance of a work permit, that the requirements set out in subsection 203(1) with respect to employment in an occupation listed in Skill Type 0 Management Occupations or Skill Level A or B of the National Occupational Classification matrix have been met; or
  • (d) the skilled worker holds a valid work permit or is authorized to work in Canada under section 186 as of the date an application is made for a permanent resident visa and as of the date the permanent resident visa, if any, is issued, and
    • (i) the circumstances referred to in subparagraphs (a)(ii) and (iii) and paragraph (b) do not apply, and

(3) Section 82 of the Regulations is amended by adding the following after subsection (2):

Exception

(3) No points shall be awarded for arranged employment if the employer making the offer appears on the list referred to in subsection 203(6).

11. (1) Paragraphs 83(1)(a) to (c) of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

  • (a) for the language proficiency of the skilled worker’s accompanying spouse or common-law partner, other than a Canadian citizen or permanent resident residing in Canada, in either official language of at least benchmark level 4 for all the four language skill areas, as set out in the Canadian Language Benchmarks and the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens, as demonstrated by the results of an assessment conducted by an organization or institution designated under subsection 74(3), 5 points;

  • (b) for a period of full-time study by the skilled worker, of at least two academic years in a program of at least two years in duration whether or not the skilled worker obtained an educational credential for completing a program in Canada and during which period the skilled worker remained in good academic standing as defined by the institution, 5 points;

  • (b.1) for a period of full-time study by the skilled worker’s accompanying spouse or common-law partner, other than a Canadian citizen or permanent resident residing in Canada, of at least two academic years in a program of at least two years in duration whether or not the accompanying spouse or common-law partner obtained an educational credential for completing a program in Canada, during which period the accompanying spouse or common-law partner remained in good academic standing as defined by the institution, 5 points;

  • (c) for any previous period of full-time work under a work permit or under section 186 of at least one year in Canada by the skilled worker in an occupation that is listed in Skill Type 0 Management Occupations or Skill Level A or B of the National Occupational Classification matrix, 10 points;

  • (c.1) for any previous authorized period of full-time work under a work permit or under section 186 of at least one year in Canada by the skilled worker’s accompanying spouse or common-law partner, other than a Canadian citizen or permanent resident residing in Canada, 5 points;

(2) Subsections 83(2) to (4) are replaced by the following:

Full-time study

(4) For the purposes of paragraphs (1)(b) and (b.1), full-time study means at least 15 hours of instruction per week, authorized under a study permit or under section 188, at a secondary or post-secondary institution in Canada that is recognized by the authorities responsible for registering, accrediting, supervising and regulating such institutions during the academic year, including any period of training in the workplace that forms part of a course of instruction.

(3) The portion of paragraph 83(5)(a) of the Regulations before subparagraph (i) is replaced by the following:

  • (a) the skilled worker or the skilled worker’s accompanying spouse or accompanying common-law partner is related by blood, marriage, common-law partnership or adoption to a person who is 18 years or older as of the date of application who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident living in Canada and who is

(4) Paragraph 83(5)(b) of the Regulations is repealed.

12. (1) Subsection 87.1(1) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

Class

87.1 (1) For the purposes of subsection 12(2) of the Act, the Canadian experience class is prescribed as a class of persons who may become permanent residents on the basis of their ability to become economically established in Canada, their experience in Canada, and their intention to reside in a province other than the Province of Quebec.

(2) Paragraphs 87.1(2)(a) and (b) of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

  • (a) they have acquired in Canada within the three years before the day on which their application for permanent residence is made at least one year of full-time work experience, or the full-time equivalent for part-time work experience, in one or more occupations that are listed in Skill Type 0 Management Occupations or Skill Level A or B of the National Occupational Classification matrix, exclusive of restricted occupations; and

  • (b) they have had their proficiency in the English or French language assessed by an organization or institution designated under subsection 74(3) and have met the applicable threshold set by the Minister under subsection 74(1) for each of four language skill areas.

(3) Paragraph 87.1(3)(a) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

  • (a) any period of employment during which the foreign national was engaged in full-time study shall not be included in calculating a period of work experience;

(4) Subsection 87.1(3) of the Regulations is amended by adding “and” at the end of paragraph (d) and by repealing paragraphs (e) and (f).

(5) Paragraph 87.1(3)(g) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

  • (g) if the foreign national has acquired work experience referred to in paragraph 2(a) in more than one occupation, the foreign national must meet the threshold for proficiency in the English or French language, fixed by the Minister at subsection 74(1), for the occupation in which the foreign national has acquired the greater amount of work experience.

(6) Subsections 87.1(4) and (5) of the Regulations are repealed.

13. The Regulations are amended by adding the following after section 87.1:

Federal Skilled Trades Class

Skilled trade occupation

87.2 (1) For the purposes of this section, “skilled trade occupation” means an occupation in the following categories, unless the occupation has been designated a restricted occupation by the Minister, belonging to Skill Level B of the National Occupational Classification matrix:

  • (a) Major Group 72, industrial, electrical and construction trades;

  • (b) Major Group 73, maintenance and equipment operation trades;

  • (c) Major Group 82, supervisors and technical occupations in natural resources, agriculture and related production;

  • (d) Major Group 92, processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators;

  • (e) Minor Group 632, chefs and cooks; and

  • (f) Minor Group 633, butchers and bakers.

Class

(2) For the purposes of subsection 12(2) of the Act, the federal skilled trades class is prescribed as a class of persons who may become permanent residents on the basis of their ability to become economically established in Canada, their status as workers in a skilled trade occupation, and their intention to reside in a province other than the Province of Quebec.

Member of the class

(3) A foreign national is a member of the federal skilled trades class if

  • (a) following an assessment by an organization or institution designated under subsection 74(3), the foreign national meets the threshold set by the Minister under subsection 74(1) for proficiency in either English or French for each of the four language skill areas ;

  • (b) the foreign national has acquired at least two years of full-time work experience, or the full-time equivalent for part-time work, in the skilled trade occupation specified in the permanent resident visa application during the five years preceding the date of the application and has performed a substantial number of the main duties listed in the description of the skilled trade occupation set out in the National Occupational Classification after becoming qualified to independently practice the skilled trade occupation;

  • (c) the foreign national has met the relevant employment requirements of the skilled trade occupation specified in the permanent resident visa application as set out in the National Occupational Classification, except for the requirement to obtain a certificate of qualification issued by a competent provincial authority; and

  • (d) the foreign national meets at least one of the following requirements:
    • (i) the foreign national holds a certificate of qualification issued by a competent provincial authority following their successful completion of a trade apprenticeship program or has met all the requirements of a trade and has attained the prescribed pass mark on the certification examination to qualify as a journeyperson in that trade,

    • (ii) the foreign national is in Canada and holds a valid work permit as of the date an application is made for a permanent resident visa and, as of the date the permanent resident visa, if any, is issued, is authorized to work in Canada under a valid work permit or under section 186, and
      • (A) the work permit was issued based on a determination by an officer that the requirements set out in subsection 203(1) with respect to employment of the foreign national in a skilled trade occupation have been met,

      • (B) the foreign national is working for any employer specified on the work permit,

      • (C) the foreign national holds an offer of employment for continuous full-time work of at least one year total in a skilled trade occupation in the same minor group set out in the National Occupational Classification as the occupation specified on the foreign national’s work permit that is made by up to two employers that do not appear on the list referred to in subsection 203(6), specified on the work permit once the permanent resident visa is issued to the foreign national,
    • (iii) the foreign national is in Canada and holds a work permit referred to in paragraph 204(a) or (c) that is valid as of the date an application is made by the foreign national for a permanent resident visa and the circumstances referred to in clauses (ii)(B) and (C) apply,

    • (iv) the foreign national does not hold a valid work permit and is not authorized to work in Canada under section 186 as of the date of application for a permanent resident visa and
      • (A) up to two employers, other than an embassy, high commission or consulate in Canada, that do not appear on the list referred to in subsection 203(6), have made an offer of employment for continuous full-time work for at least one year total to the foreign national once a permanent resident visa, if any, is issued to the foreign national, and

      • (B) an officer has approved the offer of employment for full-time work based on an opinion provided to the officer by the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development at the request of one or two employers, or an officer, on the same basis as that provided for the issuance of a work permit, that the requirements set out in subsection 203(1) with respect to employment in a skilled trade occupation have been met, or
    • (v) the foreign national either holds a work permit or is authorized to work in Canada under section 186 as of the date an application is made for a permanent resident visa and as of the date the permanent resident visa, if any, is issued, and
      • (A) the circumstances referred to in clauses (ii)(B) and (C) and subparagraph (iii) do not apply, and

      • (B) the circumstances referred to in clauses (iv)(A) and (B) apply.

Substitution of officer’s evaluation

(4) If the requirements referred to in subsection (3), whether or not they are met, are not sufficient indicators of whether the foreign national will become economically established in Canada, an officer may substitute their evaluation for the requirements.

Concurrence

(5) An evaluation made under subsection (4) requires the concurrence of a second officer.

14. Section 88 of the Regulations is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order:

“language skill area”
« habileté langagière »

“language skill area” means speaking, oral comprehension, reading or writing.

15. Paragraphs 102(1)(a) to (c) of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

  • (a) age, in accordance with section 102.1;

  • (b) education, in accordance with section 102.2;

  • (c) proficiency in the official languages of Canada, in accordance with section 102.3;

16. The Regulations are amended by adding the following after section 102:

Age (10 points)

102.1 Points shall be awarded up to a maximum of 10 for a foreign national’s age, as of the date of their application, as follows:

  • (a) 10 points for a foreign national 21 years of age or older but less than 50 years of age;

  • (b) 8 points for a foreign national 20 or 50 years of age;

  • (c) 6 points for a foreign national 19 or 51 years of age;

  • (d) 4 points for a foreign national 18 or 52 years of age;

  • (e) 2 points for a foreign national 17 or 53 years of age; and

  • (f) 0 points, for a foreign national under 17 years of age or 54 years of age or older.

Definitions

102.2 (1) The following definitions apply in this section.

“full-time”
« temps plein »

“full-time” means, in relation to a program of study leading to an educational credential, at least 15 hours of instruction per week during the academic year, including any period of training in the workplace that forms part of the course of instruction.

“full-time equivalent”
« équivalent temps plein »

“full-time equivalent” means, in respect of part-time or accelerated studies, the period that would have been required to complete those studies on a full-time basis.

Education (25 points)

(2) A maximum of 25 points shall be awarded for a foreign national’s education as follows:

  • (a) 5 points for a secondary school educational credential;

  • (b) 12 points for a one-year post-secondary educational credential, other than a university educational credential, and a total of at least 12 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies;

  • (c) 15 points for
    • (i) a one-year post-secondary educational credential, other than a university educational credential, and a total of at least 13 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies, or

    • (ii) a one-year university educational credential at the bachelor’s level and a total of at least 13 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies;
  • (d) 20 points for
    • (i) a two-year post-secondary educational credential, other than a university educational credential, and a total of at least 14 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies, or

    • (ii) a two-year university educational credential at the bachelor’s level and a total of at least 14 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies;
  • (e) 22 points for
    • (i) a three-year post-secondary educational credential, other than a university educational credential, and a total of at least 15 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies, or

    • (ii) two or more university educational credentials at the bachelor’s level and a total of at least 15 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies; and
  • (f) 25 points for a university educational credential at the master’s or doctoral level and a total of at least 17 years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies.

More than one educational credential

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2), points

  • (a) shall not be awarded cumulatively on the basis of more than one single educational credential; and

  • (b) shall be awarded
    • (i) for the purposes of paragraphs (2)(a) to (d), subparagraph (2)(e)(i) and paragraph (2)(f), on the basis of the single educational credential that results in the highest number of points, and

    • (ii) for the purposes of subparagraph (2)(e)(ii), on the basis of the combined educational credentials referred to in that paragraph.

Special circumstances

(4) For the purposes of subsection (2), if a foreign national has an educational credential referred to in paragraphs (2)(b) to (f), but not the total number of years of full-time or full-time equivalent studies required, the foreign national shall be awarded the same number of points as the number of years of completed full-time or full-time equivalent studies set out in the paragraph.

Official languages

102.3 (1) A foreign national must specify in their application for a permanent resident visa which language — English or French — is to be considered their first official language in Canada and must have their proficiency in those languages assessed by an organization or institution designated under subsection (3).

Proficiency in English and French (24 points)

(2) Assessment points for proficiency in the official languages of Canada shall be awarded up to a maximum of 24 points based on the benchmarks referred to in Canadian Language Benchmarks and the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens, as follows:

  • (a) for high proficiency in the four language skill areas
    • (i) in the first official language, 4 points for each language skill area if the foreign national’s proficiency corresponds to a benchmark of 8 or higher, and

    • (ii) in the second official language, 2 points for each language skill area if the foreign national’s proficiency corresponds to a benchmark of 8 or higher;
  • (b) for moderate proficiency in the four language skill areas
    • (i) in the first official language, 2 points for each language skill area if the foreign national’s proficiency corresponds to a benchmark of 6 or 7, and

    • (ii) in the second official language, 2 points for each language skill area if the foreign national’s proficiency corresponds to a benchmark of 6 or 7; and
  • (c) for basic or no proficiency in the four language skill areas
    • (i) with basic proficiency in either official lan-guage, 1 point for each language skill area, up to a maximum of 2 points, if the foreign na-tional’s proficiency corresponds to a bench-mark of 4 or 5, and

    • (ii) with no proficiency in either official lan-guage, 0 points if the foreign national’s profi-ciency corresponds to a benchmark of 3 or lower.

Designated organization

(3) The Minister may designate any organization or institution to assess language proficiency for the purposes of this section on the basis of the ability of the organization or institution to provide reliable, secure and widely available language testing services that result in valid and accurate assessments and shall, for the purpose of correlating the results of such assessments by a particular designated organization or institution with the benchmarks referred to in subsection (2), establish the minimum test result required to be awarded for each language skill area and each level of proficiency in the course of an assessment of language proficiency by that organization or institution in order to meet those benchmarks. Minister shall make public the list of designated organizations or institutions.

Revocation of designation

(4) The Minister may revoke a designation on the basis of the following criteria :

  • (a) the organization or institution no longer meets the criteria set out in subsection (3); or

  • (b) the organization or institution submitted false, misleading or inaccurate information to the Department or has been found to have contravened any provision of federal or provincial legislation.

Conclusive evidence

(5) The results of an assessment of the language proficiency of a foreign national by a designated organization or institution and the correlation of those results with the benchmarks under subsection (3) are conclusive evidence of the foreign national’s proficiency in the official languages of Canada for the purposes of subsection (1).

COMING INTO FORCE

17. These Regulations come into force on January 1, 2013.

[33-1-o]

Footnote 1
The National Occupation Classification (NOC) is a tool developed by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Statistics Canada to provide standardized language for describing the work performed by Canadians in the labour market and it classifies occupations by skill type and skill level.

Footnote 2
RBC Economics. 2011. Immigrant labour market outcomes in Canada: The benefits of addressing wage and employment gaps. www.rbc.com/economics/market/pdf/immigration.pdf.

Footnote 3
Hiebert, D. 2006. “Skilled Immigration in Canada: Context, Patterns and Outcomes.” In Birrell, Hawthorne and Richardson, Evaluation of the General Skilled Migration Categories. Commonwealth of Australia.

Footnote 4
Shellenberg and Maheux. 2007. “Immigrants’ Perspectives on their First Four Years in Canada: Highlights from Three Waves of the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada.” Canadian Social Trends. (Spec. ed.)

Footnote 5
Ministerial instructions (MI) manage intake by outlining a set of eligibility criteria for processing and placing caps on new FSW applications processed annually. According to the fourth set of instructions issued in November 2011, skilled workers are eligible for processing if they include a qualifying offer of arranged employment, or have one year of work experience in at least one of 29 priority occupations, or are enrolled in a doctoral program in Canada. The MI also specify an annual cap on FSW applications processed (10 000 in total) with a maximum of 500 per prioritized occupation. The restriction on new FSW applications through MI was necessary to sustain progress on processing and backlog reduction goals. (Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration, 2011)

Footnote 6
Canadian Occupational Projection System, Occupational projections in the skilled trades, 2009-2018 (national level), www23.hrsdc.gc.ca/w.2lc.4m.2@-eng.jsp.

Footnote 7
Worswick, C. and D. Green. 2002. “Earnings of Immigrant Men in Canada: The Roles of Labour Market Entry Effects and Returns to Foreign Experience.” Research paper, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, December 2002.

Footnote 8
Alboim, N., R. Finnie and R. Meng. 2005. “The Discounting of Immigrants’ Skills in Canada: Evidence and Policy Recommendations.” IRPP Choices, Vol. 11, No. 2.

Footnote 9
The United States economic immigration stream is characterized as being demand-driven and does not use a points-based system.

Footnote 10
For additional information on the importance of age, see the following: Schaafsma and Sweetman. 2001. Immigrant Earnings: Age at Immigration Mat- ters; Australian Government — Department of Immigration and Citizenship. 2008. Fact Sheet 14 — Migrant Labour Market Outcomes; Dempsey. 2004. Elderly Immigrants in Canada: Income Sources and Self-Sufficiency.

Footnote 11
Worswick and Green. 2002. “Earnings of Immigrant Men in Canada: The Roles of Labour Market Entry Effects and Returns to Foreign Experience;” Anisef, Sweet, Adamuti-Trache and Walters, Recent Immigrants: A Comparison of Participants and Non-Participants in Canadian Post-Secondary Education (www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/research/comparison_postsecondary.asp); Alboim, Finnie, and Meng. 2005. “The Discounting of Immigrants’ Skills in Canada: Evidence and Policy Recommendations.” IRPP Choices, Vol. 11, No. 2.

Footnote 12
The definition of full-time work would be amended to “at least 30 hours of paid work per week,” and applied to all three classes (FSWC, FSTC and CEC).

Footnote 13
Employers are ineligible, if during the two years preceding an LMO application, it is found that they have not provided wages, working conditions or an occupation to a TFW that were substantially the same (STS) as the terms and conditions of the job offer, and for which a reasonable justification has not been provided. If an employer is found to have failed an STS assessment, access to temporary and permanent residence programs would be denied for two years.

Footnote 14
Under the proposed Federal Skilled Trades Class, job offers would be subject to the same LMO requirements as the amended FSWC. For both the FSWC and the FSTC, when a positive LMO is required, it ensures that HRSDC has conducted an assessment of the genuineness of the employer and an assessment of whether that foreign worker’s employment would have a positive or neutral impact on the Canadian labour market.

Footnote 15
The Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program is a partnership between the federal and provincial/territorial governments whereby common standards have been developed in collaboration with industry on 52 trades. The Red Seal is considered to be a standard of excellence for the trades that allows qualified tradespersons to work in all Canadian jurisdictions. Many (though not all) provinces use the interprovincial Red Seal exam (a paper-based, multiple-choice exam) for certification in those 52 occupations.

Footnote 16
Provincial nominee programs are in place in 11 jurisdictions (Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories and all provinces except Quebec), giving them the authority to nominate individuals as permanent residents to address specific labour market and economic development needs.

Footnote 17
Garnett Picot and Arthur Sweetman. 2005. The Deteriorating Economic Welfare of Immigrants and Possible Causes: Update.

Footnote 18
Abdurrahman Aydemir and Mikal Skuterud. 2004. Explaining the Deteriorating Entry Earnings of Canada’s Immigrant Cohorts: 1966-2000.

Footnote 19
Anisef, Paul, Robert Sweet, Maria Adamuti-Trache, David Walters. Recent immigrants: A comparison of participants and non-participants in Canadian post-secondary education.

Footnote 20
SOR/2002-227

Footnote a
S.C. 2001, c. 27