Federal government consults on immigrant skilled worker program

Input welcomed until Mar. 17

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is proposing changes to the Federal Skilled Worker Program to help Canada select immigrants who have the best chance of integrating and making a better contribution to the Canadian economy. CIC will be consulting with stakeholders and the public on the proposed changes until Mar. 17, 2011.

The consultations follow the release of an evaluation of the program that found skilled workers are faring far better in Canada than their predecessors, thanks to stronger language skills and arranged employment. The evaluation does show, however, that there is room for improvement.

“To stay competitive globally, we have to make sure the skilled immigrants we choose are the ones that we need and the most likely to succeed when they get here,” said Jason Kenney, minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism. “Research points to some key changes that will help us meet those goals.”

The proposed changes could place more emphasis on youth and language ability, and are expected to increase the number of skilled tradespeople.

CIC will consult on:

• requiring federal skilled workers to have a minimum level of language proficiency

• making the program more accessible to skilled tradespeople, technicians and apprentices

• placing greater emphasis on younger immigrants who will adapt more easily and be active members of the work force for a longer time frame

• redirecting points from work experience to other factors that better contribute to success in the Canadian work force

• reducing the potential for fraudulent job offers.

The current Federal Skilled Worker Program was introduced in June 2002 with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The program is based on an objective and transparent points system, which considers factors such as language skills, age and education in the selection of immigrants. The system aims to be more effective at selecting those who will succeed economically.

Organizations or interested individuals who wish to provide input can submit their feedback online until March 17.

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