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CIO provides insight into federal skilled worker processing

During the recent Canadian Bar Association Citizenship and Immigration Conference in Gatineau, Quebec, representatives of the Central Intake Office (“CIO”) in Sydney, Nova Scotia, provided some helpful insight into its processing of Federal Skilled Worker (“FSW”) applications. The CIO screens all FSW applications in order to verify that submitted applications satisfy the Ministerial Instructions, which currently restrict who can apply under the FSW class.

canada immigration_7The current Ministerial Instructions prohibit the acceptance of a FSW unless: (a) the applicant has Arranged Employment, or (b) the applicant has work experience in one of the 29 designated occupations within the last ten years. An applicant who does not have Arranged Employment is limited by a total quota of 20,000 FSW applications per year; each designated occupation itself is limited to 1,000 applications per year.

The quotas on the 29 designated occupations will be reset as of July 1, 2011. Of course, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism can theoretically amend the list of occupations at any time, although there is no immediate indication that the list of designated occupations will be revised.

The CIO has confirmed that it renders a final decision regarding the eligibility of the applicant under the Ministerial Instructions. As this is a decision rather than a mere opinion, these determinations are considered “locked in.”

For example, if the CIO makes a determination that the applicant is eligible to file a FSW application based on Arranged Employment (because they are working in Canada on a valid work permit and have an indeterminate job offer), this eligibility will continue even if the person loses their job before the completion of their permanent residence case. The Canadian Embassy or Consulate will not re-visit the decision with respect to eligibility under the Ministerial Instructions.

Unfortunately, selection points for Arranged Employment are not considered “locked in.” As a result, the Canadian Embassy or Consulate will still deny an application if the applicant loses their job and no longer has at least 67 selection points due to the loss of his or her Arranged Employment selection points. Of course, if the applicant continues to have at least 67 points even after losing their Arranged Employment points, the application can still be approved.

The CIO has also stated that, if an applicant provides evidence that he or she is eligible based on both the Designated Occupations list and Arranged Employment, it will choose to make the determination based on Arranged Employment. The rationale for this policy is to conserve numbers available under the annual quotas. However, if the CIO concludes that the applicant is not eligible based on Arranged Employment, it will then consider his or her eligibility based on the Designated Occupation list.

Henry J. Chang
Blaney McMurtry LLP

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Henry J. Chang, Dentons LLP

Corporate immigration lawyer at Dentons LLP
Henry J. Chang is a partner in the firm’s Employment and Labor Group. He currently practices in the areas of Canadian and United States business immigration law, international business law, and cannabis law. Read more
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