On December 19, 2012, Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced that the Federal Skilled Worker Program (“FSWP”) would once again begin accepting new applications on May 4, 2013. However, several key details of the FSWP were not announced at that time. Citizenship and Immigration Canada has now provided these last remaining details.
In the wake of the RBC’s temporary foreign worker debacle, and Prime Minister Harper’s temporary foreign worker program reform, what are the implications of outsourcing Canadian jobs in favour of temporary foreign workers? The implications for Canadian workers and recruitment are telling.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada cautions against preparing Federal Skilled Worker Program applications until key details are announced
The Federal Skilled Worker Program will begin accepting applications as of May 4, 2013. However, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has recently reminded applicants who may be preparing to submit applications that it still expects to announce three important elements of the FSWP in April 2013, which will have a significant impact on who can apply under the program.
The refugee determination process has been a hotly debated topic in Canadian immigration. These changes could affect the Canadian workforce, which has been experiencing a shortage of skilled labour in a number of provinces. It is too early to say whether these change will be a good move or a bad one for Canada, but it is evident that Canada will be accepting more refugees than ever before.
On August 18, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) published proposed regulatory amendments in the Canada Gazette, which (once enacted) would create a Federal Skilled Trades Program (“FSTP”). On January 2, 2013, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced that CIC would begin accepting applications under the FSTP, effective immediately.
On December 13, 2012, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney and United States Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson signed the U.S.-Canada Visa and Immigration Information-Sharing Agreement (the “Agreement”). The Agreement authorizes development of arrangements under which one country may send an automated request for data to the other country, such as when a third country national applies to Canada for a visa or claims asylum.
Open work permits will be issued to provincial nominees under the Federal Skilled Worker Backlog Reduction Pilot
When Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) announced that it was cancelling the backlog of Federal Skilled Worker (“FSW”) cases that were filed prior to 2008, several Provincial Nominee Programs (“PNPs”) began offering some of those applicants the opportunity to apply for a provincial nomination under CIC’s FSW Backlog Reduction Pilot (the “FSW Pilot”). As of November 5, 2012, eligible foreign nationals who have been nominated by a participating PNP under the FSW Pilot may now apply for one of 1,500 available province-specific open work permits; this will enable them to enter the labour market while their permanent residence cases are pending. Work permits issued under the FSW Pilot may be valid for a maximum of two years and cannot be extended.
According to a published report titled “Made in Canada: How the Law Constructs Migrant Workers’ Insecurity” by the Metcalf Foundation, Canada’s reliance on low-wage migrant workers with temporary immigration status is growing but the employment and labour laws of the country make them vulnerable to abuse.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada proposes significant amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations
On August 18, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada published proposed regulatory amendments in the Canada Gazette, which will significantly alter the Federal Skilled Worker Class, create a new Federal Skilled Trades Class, and liberalize the Canadian Experience Class.
Foreign nationals who hold work permits in Canada sometimes wonder what will happen to their immigration status if they quit their jobs or are terminated by their Canadian employers. Surprisingly, the termination of a foreign national’s employment does not automatically invalidate his or her work permit or underlying temporary resident status. However, foreign nationals who travel abroad after the termination of their employment might not be able to return to Canada even if their work permits technically remain valid.
CIC announces temporary pause on most federal skilled worker applications and all federal immigrant investor applications
On June 29, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada published Operational Bulletin 438, which states that a temporary pause has been placed on new applications filed under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, excluding applications received under the PhD eligibility stream and those with a qualifying offer of arranged employment. A temporary pause has also been placed on all new applications filed under the federal Immigrant Investor Program.
The federal Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development recently announced that the government is making significant changes to the employment insurance system to ensure its efficiency. At the same time as these changes were announced, the Canadian Press learned that the government has stopped providing Statistics Canada “key and current information about how much federal money is flowing to each of the provinces for EI claimants.”