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CANADA: Canadian Federal Skilled Worker Program to Re-Open Doors on May 4, 2013

After more than a 10-month pause in accepting applications under the Canadian Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Program, with the exception of candidates under the PhD stream or those with a qualifying job offer, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has announced that the FSW Program will re-open on May 4, 2013. All of the details of the modified FSW Program have not been released yet, but it is clear that although the new FSW selection system will remain points-based, significant changes to the FSW selection criteria are on the horizon.

The new FSW selection system will establish a minimum threshold for official language ability in English/French and will award increased points for official language proficiency. Another major change is that designated organizations will need to assess the education of applicants wishing to be awarded points for their education, before they arrive in Canada. The new FSW selection system will award increased points for age to applicants aged 18 to 36 than under the previous FSW Program, privileging younger immigrants who are expected to make greater contributions to the Canadian economy. For applicants to receive any points for arranged employment, those who are not exempt will need both an indeterminate job offer and a Labour Market Opinion from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

As with the previous program, the new FSW Program will include a list of priority occupations designated by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and will limit the number of applications that will be accepted in the first year of the program. Qualified applicants should submit their applications as soon as possible because the number of applicants is expected to be high due to the prior temporary freeze on applications to the program.

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