Points grid changing for skilled workers
As readers of this blog already know, the federal skilled worker program has been suspended with regard to the twenty-nine specified occupations under which individuals could apply directly for permanent residence.
New Point System Introduced
The most recent skilled worker program had been in place for roughly ten years. It used a point system where applicants would score points for education, work experience, age, language abilities and adaptability.
Amendments to the program have been recently announced. The minimum required number of points to qualify will remain at sixty-seven points. However, it is now clear that language abilities will now be one of the most important selection factors. Previously, applicants could score a maximum of twenty-four points for language. Under the revised system, applicants can receive a maximum of 28 points for language abilities.
Age is also much more important than before. Younger applicants will be favored as twelve points will be awarded to those who are between ages eighteen and thirty-five. Zero points will be awarded to those applicants who are over age forty-six.
Work experience is less relevant under the new scheme. Previously, the maximum number of points an applicant could receive for work experience was twenty-one points. Under the new scheme, the maximum number of points for work experience drops to fifteen. On top of that, there is an increase in the number of work years required to gain the full fifteen points – six years of work experience up from four.
The Federal Government believes these changes reflect those factors that predict successful integration into Canadian society – greater work experience, better language abilities and youth.
Another important change is that those applying under a regulated occupation (such as medicine) will have to obtain a foreign credential assessment to establish that their credential is equivalent to a Canadian credential. In the past, applicants were not required to take this step when applying for permanent residence. They only had to have their credentials assessed once they arrived in Canada.
In my view, these changes are likely appropriate, as immigrants with strong language abilities and more years to participate in the labour market are certainly an asset to Canada.
However, the most exciting change is the addition of a new federal skilled trades category. This opens a new avenue into Canada for people with trades experience, particularly those with trades related to natural resources and agricultural productions. Trades applicants will have further requirements of having a job offer or a certificate of qualification from one of the provinces (in addition to other requirements of federal skilled worker applicants).
There is a chronic shortage of trades people in Canada, and a category devoted to allowing trades people to migrate to Canada is long overdue. I predict this will be one of the most popular application categories.