(The following is an article that I wrote for the March 2013 edition of Canadian Immigrant Magazine)
On January 2, 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) opened the Federal Skilled Trades Program (“FSTP”). CIC will process up to 3,000 FSTP applications in 2013. For certain people, the FSTP will be an attractive alternative to those who fall through the cracks of the Federal Skilled Worker Program (the “Skilled Worker Program”) and the Canadian Experience Class (“CEC”).
To be eligible for the FSTP, applicants must meet five requirements.
First, they must have twenty-four months of work experience in an eligible skilled trade during the five year period preceding their application. CIC has designated forty-three trades as being eligible for the program. Of these, seventeen occupations are capped at 100 applications. Applicants will accordingly need to check the CIC website to see whether the quota has been reached for their occupation prior to applying.
Second, applicants must have an offer of continuous full-time employment in Canada from up to two employers for a total period of at least one year in their skilled trade. As “full-time” means at least thirty hours of week, applicants could be eligible if they obtain offers from two employers who provide fifteen hours each per week. The effect of this requirement is that most FSTP applicants will have to obtain job offers from employers who have been issued positive Labour Market Opinions from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (“Service Canada”). Alternatively, applicants do not need a job offer if they possess a Certificate of Qualification from a provincial or territorial Apprenticeship Authority.
Third, applicants will have to satisfy the employment requirements of their skilled trade as described by Service Canada’s National Occupational Classification system.
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On October 26, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) implemented conditional permanent residency for certain people who immigrate to Canada under the spousal-sponsorship program. The implementation of conditional permanent residency took affect on October 25, 2012, the day prior to CIC publicizing it. The change was not retroactive, and will not affect sponsorship applications which were received by CIC prior to October 25, 2012.
CIC has stated that the goal of introducing conditional permanent residency is to reduce instances of marriages of convenience.
What Conditional Permanent Residency Is, and Who it Applies to
Conditional permanent residency applies to individuals who are the spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner of their sponsor for two years or less when they submit their sponsorship applications and who do not have children in common with their sponsor when they submit the sponsorship applications (“Conditional Permanent Residents“). Conditional Permanent Residents are required to cohabit in a conjugal relationship with their sponsors for a continuous period of two years after the day on which they become permanent residents (the “Condition“). If CIC determines that Conditional Permanent Residents have breached the Condition, CIC will declare them inadmissible to Canada, and removal proceedings will be initiated. Conditional Permanent Residents are able to appeal such decisions to the Immigration Appeal Division, which can consider humanitarian & compassionate considerations.
Specifically, the Condition applies if the couple does not have any children in common and:
- has been married for two years or less;
- dated for four years, but has been married for two years or less;
- has been in a conjugal relationship for two years or less;
- has cohabited in a common-law relationship for two years or less; or
- has been in a common-law or conjugal relationship for more than two years and has been married for less than two years,