New 2013 Federal Skilled Worker Class (Updated – April 18, 2013)

(On August 17, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) announced that it would be overhauling Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker Class (“FSWC”).  Numerous program announcements have been introduced since then.  Each time we have revised and updated this blog post.  The most recent update was on April 18, 2013.)

In brief, the FSWC will now focus on youth and language fluency.  It will also require foreigners to have their educational credentials assessed by designated agencies.  The Arranged Employment Opinion process is being abolished.  The program will continue to feature limits on the number of occupations which can apply, and there will be caps.

The revised program will begin accepting applications on May 4, 2013.

Eligible Occupations List

For those not applying under the Arranged Employment stream or the PhD Stream, applicants must have at least one year of continuous work experience in one of 24 occupations (the “Eligible Occupations Stream”).

The Eligible Occupations are:

  • 0211 Engineering managers
  • 1112 Financial and investment analysts
  • 2113 Geoscientists and oceanographers
  • 2131 Civil engineers
  • 2132 Mechanical engineers
  • 2134 Chemical engineers
  • 2143 Mining engineers
  • 2144 Geological engineers
  • 2145 Petroleum engineers
  • 2146 Aerospace engineers
  • 2147 Computer engineers (except software engineers/designers)
  • 2154 Land surveyors
  • 2174 Computer programmers and interactive media developers
  • 2243 Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics
  • 2263 Inspectors in public and environmental health and occupational health and safety
  • 3141 Audiologists and speech-language pathologists
  • 3142 Physiotherapists
  • 3143 Occupational Therapists
  • 3211 Medical laboratory technologists
  • 3212 Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists’ assistants
  • 3214 Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists
  • 3215 Medical radiation technologists
  • 3216 Medical sonographers
  • 3217 Cardiology technicians and electrophysiological diagnostic technologists, n.e.c. (not elsewhere classified)

The eligible occupations stream will have an overall cap of 5,000 new applications and sub-caps of 300 applications in each of the 24 occupations on the list.

The New Points Breakdown

Under the new Federal Skilled Worker Class (“FSWC“), the six selection factors and the maximum number of points available for each factor will be as follows:

SELECTION FACTORS CURRENT POINT SCALE NEW POINT SCALE
1. English / French Ability Maximum 24 points Maximum 28 points
2. Education Maximum 25 points Maximum 25 points
3. Experience Maximum 21 points Maximum 15 points
4. Age Maximum 10 points Maximum 12 points
5. Arranged employment Maximum 10 points Maximum 10 points
6. Adaptability Maximum 10 points Maximum 10 points
Total Maximum 100 points Maximum 100 points
Pass Mark 67 points 67 points

Factor 1: Ability in English and or French

The FSWC’s language requirements are being completely re-done, and made much more stringent.  Previously, using applicants who submitted International English Language Testing System (“IELTS“) results as an example, applicants were awarded points as follows:

LEVEL POINTS (PER ABILITY) TEST RESULTS FOR EACH ABILITY
SPEAKING LISTENING READING WRITING
High First official language:4 6.5 – 9.0 7.5 – 9.0 6.5 – 9.0 6.5 – 9.0
Second official language: 2
Moderate Either official language: 2 5.5 – 6.0 5.5 – 7.0 5.0 – 6.0 5.5 – 6.0
Basic Either official language: 1
(maximum of 2)
4.0 – 5.0 4.5 – 5.0 3.5 – 4.5 4.0 – 5.0
None 0 Less than 4.0 Less than 4.5 Less than 3.5 Less than 4.0

Under the new FSWC, the Canadian Language Benchmark requirements to be eligible for points are much higher.  The points allocation system will initially be as follows:

LEVEL POINTS (PER ABILITY) TEST RESULTS FOR EACH ABILITY
SPEAKING LISTENING READING WRITING
High First official language:6 9.0 9.0 9.0 9.0
High First official language: 5 8.0 8.0 8.0 8.0
High First official language: 4 7.0 7.0 7.0 7.0
Less than High 0 Less than 7.0 Less than 7.0 Less than 7.0 Less than 7.0

The IELTS equivalence is as follows:

LEVEL POINTS (PER ABILITY) TEST RESULTS FOR EACH ABILITY
SPEAKING LISTENING READING WRITING
High First official language:6 7.0 8.0 7.0 7.0
High First official language: 5 6.5 7.5 6.5 6.5
High First official language: 4 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0
Less than High 0 Less than 7.0 Less than 7.0 Less than 7.0 Less than 7.0

Importantly, the FSWC will now contain a minimum language requirement.  Applicants who score less than 7.0 in any CLB language indicator will be ineligible to apply to the program.  The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (the “Minister”) shall have the discretion to increase or decrease this minimum language threshold, as well as the points allocated for test results, to meet program processing objectives.

The maximum number of points available for the second official language is 4.  To be eligible for second official language points, applicants must score a minimum of 5.0 or above in all abilities.  Essentially, points for second language will only be available for applicants who are functionally bilingual.

Factor 2: Education

Points for education are being rebalanced as follows:

CURRENT FSWC NEW FSWC
EDUCATION POINTS EDUCATION POINTS
Master’s or PhD (+17 years) 25 Doctoral 25
Two or more university degrees (+15 years) 22 Master’s Level or Professional Degree 23
A three-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship (+15 years) 22 Two or more post-secondary credentials (one of which is >2 years) 22
A university degree of two years or more at the Bachelor’s level (+14 years) 20 Three-year or longer post-secondary credential 21
A two-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship (+14 years) 20 Two-year post-secondary credential 19
A one-year university degree at the Bachelor’s level (+13 years) 15 One-year post-secondary credential 15
A one-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship (+13 years) 15
A one year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship (+12 years) 12
Secondary school 5 Secondary school 5

CIC is removing from applicants and immigration officers the often confusing responsibility of determining how a foreign credential should be compared to a Canadian one (previously done by comparing the number of years it took to achieve the credential). CIC is transferring this responsibility to designated organizations   Applicants with foreign credentials will be required to have a designated organization authenticate and assess their credentials prior to applying for the FSWC.  Applicants whose credentials either do not eixsit in Canada or do not have a Canadian credential equivalent will not be eligible to apply to the FSWC.

Four organizations have been designated by the Minister to provide educational credential assessment reports. The designated organizations are:

Factor 3: Experience

Under the new FSWC, points for experience in a skilled occupation will be allocated as follows:

Experience Current Points New Points System
1 year 15 9
2 year 17 11
3 year 19 11
4 year 21 13
5 year 21 13
6 + year 21 15

Prior to its recent suspension, the FSWC was limited to applicants with at least one year of experience in one of 29 eligible occupations.  This limitation was implemented through Ministerial Instruction, and it is not clear whether the Ministerial Instruction will continue, or if it is being abolished.  As such, it is not yet clear whether the FSWC will be reduced to experience in certain occupations.

Factor 4: Age

Under the new FSWC, points for Age will be allocated as follows: :

AGE FACTORS
CURRENT SYSTEM NEW SYSTEM
AGE POINTS AGE POINTS
16 or under 0 17 or under 0
17 2 18-35 12
18 4 36 11
19 6 37 10
20 8 38 9
21-49 10 39 8
50 8 40 7
51 6 41 6
52 4 42 5
53 2 43 4
54 and over 0 44 3
45 2
46 1
47 and over 0

Factor 5: Arranged Employment

The Arranged Employment Opinion process is being eliminated.   Instead, points for Arranged Employment will be available as follows:

POINTS ARRANGED EMPLOYMENT POINTS
10 Applicant is a Temporary Foreign Worker (“TFW”) in Canada pursuant to either a positive Labour Market Opinion (“LMO”) or is authorized to work in Canada without a work permit, is working in a skilled position, and has been offered indefinite employment.Applicant is a Temporary Foreign Worker working in Canada pursuant to an international agreement or an agreement between the federal government and the province(s), is working in a skilled position, and has been offered indefinite employment.Applicant is not in Canada however an employer or an officer has obtained a positive LMO for the applicant.

CIC has indicated that switching from the Arranged Employment Opinion to the LMO will increase efficiency and reduce fraud.  While it will certainly do the former, it is not yet clear why abandoning the AEO in favour of the LMO will reduce fraud.

As well, it is unclear in the third scenario above whether the LMO only has to be valid at the time of application, or if a new LMO must be obtained prior to the permanent resident visa being issued.

Factor 6: Adaptability

Points for adaptability are being rebalanced as follows:

CURRENT FSWC ADAPTABILITY POINTS NEW FSWC ADAPTABILITY POINTS
EDUCATION POINTS EDUCATION POINTS
Spouse’s partner’s education. 3-5 Spouse’s education. 0
Applicant or spouse has one year of full-time previous work in Canada. 5 Applicant has one year of full-time skilled previous work in Canada. 10
Possession of Arranged Employment Offer 5 Applicant has Arranged Employment points. 5
Any relatives in Canada who are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. 5 Any relatives in Canada who are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and over the age of 18 5
Applicant has previous study of 2 or more years in Canada. 5
Applicant’s spouse has previous study of 2 or more years in Canada. 5
Applicant’s spouse scores 4 on all language abilities. 5
Applicant’s spouse has previous work in a skilled position in Canada. 5

The maximum number of points available for adaptability continues to be 10.