April 12, 2012
NEWSLETTER

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QUEBEC IMMIGRATION INVESTOR PROGRAM: CAP HAS BEEN REACHED
Further to our Newsletter of March 22, 2012, which announced the MICC decision to cap the intake of applications for selection certificates, we have been notified today that the MICC has received over 2,700 as of April 11, 2012.  All the applications that exceed the 2,700 application cap intake will be returned by the MICC.
MINISTER KENNEY STRENGTHENS ECONOMIC VALUE OF PROVINCIAL IMMIGRATION PROGRAMS
Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney today announced changes to strengthen provincial immigration programs.

Starting July 1, 2012, most Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) applicants for semi- and low-skilled professions will have to undergo mandatory language testing of their listening, speaking, reading and writing abilities and meet a minimum standard across all four of these categories.

In addition, Minister Kenney said that further changes to the program will be made to continue to focus on economic streams. The changes are the latest in a series of announcements the Minister has made about transforming Canada's economic immigration program into a fast and flexible system focused on jobs, growth and prosperity.

"As a result, immigrants coming to Canada under PNPs will arrive with much better language skills and will be selected for the impact they can have on Canada's economy," the Minister said. He was joined at a news conference by his Saskatchewan counterpart, Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration Minister Rob Norris.

The announcement is the latest in a series Minister Kenney has made about transforming Canada's immigration system to better support economic growth.

The PNP has been a major success in helping to spread the benefits of immigration across the country, with many economic immigrants choosing to settle outside of the three major cities. In Saskatchewan, 5,354 immigrants arrived under the program in 2010, compared with 173 in 2003.

"We have supported enormous growth in the number of provincial nominees in recent years because it makes sense for the provinces and territories to have the flexibility to meet regional needs," said Minister Kenney. "Saskatchewan has successfully used the program and has actively recruited immigrants with the skills needed here. I'd like to thank the province for its continued cooperation."

"Newcomers play a significant role in building and maintaining the highest quality of life in our province and in our country," said Minister Norris. "The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to building the best provincial immigration program to meet our economic and labour market needs."

The Provincial Nominee Program was designed to be aligned with Canada's economic and labour needs. But, in some provinces, it is being used as an indirect route to family reunification.

"We have a federal family sponsorship program that reunites families," added Minister Kenney. "This is not the goal of the PNP and we want to work with provinces and territories to ensure that the program is solely focused on supporting economic growth rather than duplicating non-economic federal immigration streams."

The PNP is now Canada's second largest economic immigration program, with admissions having grown from about 8,000 immigrants in 2005 to expected admissions of 42,000 people this year. Each province and territory is responsible for the design and management of its own PNP, which must be consistent with federal immigration policy, legislation and the terms of bilateral agreements.

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada - News Release  
CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION CANADA ANNOUNCES ITS INTENTION TO CREATE A NEW SKILLED TRADES PROGRAM
To fill Canada's growing labour shortages in construction, natural resources and similar industries, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced plans today to make it easier for skilled tradespersons to immigrate to Canada. 

The announcement is the latest in a series Minister Kenney has made about transforming Canada's immigration system into a fast and flexible system focused on jobs, growth and prosperity.

"Our Government recognizes that our country faces a critical shortage in certain skilled trades," said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. "That's why we are taking concrete steps to address this problem at a national level."

Under the modernized Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) to be unveiled later this year, CIC intends to create a separate and streamlined program for skilled tradespersons. Skilled trades include occupations in construction, transportation, manufacturing and service industries. Skilled tradespersons are in high demand in Canada particularly in the natural resources and construction sectors.

Currently, FSW applicants are assessed against a 100-point grid, with a pass mark of 67. The grid takes into account the candidate's official language ability, education, work experience, age, whether they have a job offer in Canada (arranged employment), and their overall adaptability (which awards points for things like previous work or study in Canada, spouse's education and relatives in Canada).
Some criteria in the FSW grid, such as years of education, have traditionally favoured professionals and managers more than skilled trades, and thus skilled tradespersons only make up 3 percent of all FSWs entering Canada. During CIC's consultations on FSWP modernization over the past year, stakeholders also agreed that changes were necessary to make the program more accessible to tradespersons.

The proposed FSWP Skilled Trades program would create a means for skilled tradespersons to be assessed based on criteria geared towards their reality, putting more emphasis on practical training and work experience rather than formal education. The new skilled trades stream would avoid some of the complexities of the traditional points grid. Skilled trades applicants will, however, need to meet minimum language requirements, given the importance of language as a determinant of immigrant success.

"Above all, our Government remains focused on promoting economic growth and long-term prosperity," said Minister Kenney. "Attracting skilled tradespeople is important for maintaining Canada's momentum in the global economy."

If approved, further details about the Skilled Trades program and the revised FSWP are expected to be announced later in 2012. The full regulatory changes to the FSWP will also be published in the Canada Gazette in due course.

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada - News Release

COMING INTO FORCE OF INFORMATION SHARING REGULATIONS ("AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVES")
An amendment to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) came into force on April 10, 2012 authorizing Citizenship and Immigration (CIC), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) to disclose information relating to the professional or ethical conduct of representatives, authorized under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), to their respective governing bodies; when the officer has determined that the conduct of the person is likely to constitute a breach of their professional or ethical obligations.

For the complete Operational Bulletin please consult: Citizenship and Immigration Canada - Operational Bulletin 401
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA TRANSFORMS ECONOMIC IMMIGRATION PROGRAM
To create a fast and flexible immigration system that creates jobs and promotes Canada's long term prosperity, the Government of Canada will eliminate the backlog in the main federal economic immigration program.

"The Federal Skilled Worker Program backlog is a major roadblock to Canada's ability to respond to rapidly changing labour market needs," said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. "Having to process applications that are as many as eight years out of date reduces our ability to focus on new applicants with skills and talents that our economy needs today."

As announced in Economic Action Plan 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada is planning to refund fees and return stale applications from nearly all those applicants who applied under the dated criteria in existence before February 27, 2008.

CIC is transforming its suite of economic immigration programs to create a just-in-time system that recruits people with the right skills to meet Canada's labour market needs, fast tracks their immigration, and gets them working in a period of months, not years. Eliminating the longstanding backlog of FSW applications will allow the Department to focus resources on facilitating the arrival of skilled immigrants who apply under the current eligibility criteria.

Under proposed legislation, CIC will close the files of FSW applicants who applied before February 27, 2008, and for whom an immigration officer has not made a decision based on selection criteria by March 29, 2012. This is expected to affect around 280,000 applicants, including their dependants. CIC will begin the process of returning the full amount of fees paid to the Department by these affected FSW applicants. For those who have passed the selection criteria stage - approximately 20,000 people - CIC will continue processing their applications until they are approved for entry into Canada or not.

Over the last decade, the number of FSW applications received has greatly exceeded the space available within the Immigration Levels Plan each year, resulting in long processing times and an increasing inventory. Under the 2008 Action Plan for Faster Immigration, CIC began to limit intake to priority occupations. The Department added caps to the number of new applications in 2010. As a result of these efforts, CIC has reduced the pre-2008 backlog by more than 50 percent, and the overall FSW inventory by over 25 percent. However, without further action, some FSW applicants might have to wait until 2017 for a decision.

"It's unreasonable to keep applicants waiting for another five years," said Minister Kenney. "It's also a far cry from the nimble and responsive immigration system Canada needs to remain a destination of choice."

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada - News Release 
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA TO STRENGTHEN RESPONSIBILITY FOR INTEGRATION OF NEWCOMERS
The Government of Canada is moving to strengthen national responsibility for the delivery of settlement services across Canada, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.

This change means that the Government of Canada is resuming the management of federally funded settlement programs in British Columbia and Manitoba, bringing these programs in line with every other province and territory outside Quebec.

"Our government is not only committed to ensuring that each region of Canada receives a fair share of funding, but also that immigrants have access to a more consistent level of services regardless of where they choose to settle in Canada," said Minister Kenney.

The agreements with British Columbia and Manitoba were signed at a time when the federal government was reducing its investment in settlement services. However, since 2005-2006, the Government of Canada has tripled its investment in settlement services outside of Quebec, increasing them by three times in British Columbia and four times in Manitoba.

In keeping with the terms of each existing agreement, the change will happen in one year's time in Manitoba and in two years' time in British Columbia. The transition will ensure that services being provided to newcomers continue without disruption.
This change will not affect a single cent of basic settlement funding for either province. In fact, settlement funding for newcomers in British Columbia and Manitoba will increase significantly in 2012-2013 compared to the previous year. Increases in funding have allowed for a tremendous expansion in the availability and range of settlement services in both provinces.

Newcomers in both provinces will continue to receive access to language training and other settlement services they need to successfully integrate into Canada's economy.

"The vast majority of Canadians agree that integration programs for newcomers are an essential part of nation building. While we look forward to working closely with the provinces in delivering these programs, we believe it is important to avoid the development of a patchwork approach to the important work of settling new Canadians," said the Minister.

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada - News Release 
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