advice, part 7: about changes to canadian immigration policy

This is an important update to my series of "advice" posts, linked on the sidebar.

The changes to Canadian immigration that I blogged about here finally have been clarified and gone into effect. However - and this is a big "but" - they may be temporary.

Applications to emigrate to Canada that were submitted after February 2008 have been on hold, and any applications not processed within a given calendar year are being turned back. After consulting with "business leaders" in every province - no word on who the business leaders were, when the meetings would be held, what would be discussed - the Conservatives were going to announce new immigration regulations - with no Parliamentary discussion, debate or consultation. They finally have.

So, right now, skilled worker applications are being accepted for people who meet the following criteria.
1. According to the Minister's instructions, your application is eligible for processing if:

* you have an offer of arranged employment, OR

* you are a foreign national who has been living legally in Canada for one year as a temporary foreign worker or an international student, OR

* you are a skilled worker who has at least one year of experience in one or more of the occupations listed here.

2. If your application is eligible for processing, you must also meet the following minimum requirements to qualify as a skilled worker:

* you have at least one year of continuous full-time paid work experience or the equivalent in part-time continuous employment, AND

* your work experience must be Skill Type 0 (managerial occupations) or Skill Level A (professional occupations) or B (technical occupations and skilled trades) on the Canadian National Occupational Classification list, AND

* you must have had this experience within the last 10 years.

Two things to note.

First, these changes are not nearly as onerous as people are saying. I have heard numerous claims that one now needs arranged employment to emigrate to Canada. As you can see, this is not true. You can still apply with a minimum of one-year experience, which is actually less than the work experience previously required. However, the professions and jobs that are eligible are more circumscribed.

All the people who applied for Permanent Residence in the past several years dealt with very similar rules. The biggest difference was, at that time, the job and profession list was more extensive.

I know these changes are bad news for anyone who does not meet the criteria. I also wonder if they would have met the earlier criteria. I've heard from a few people who were hoping to move to Canada because they couldn't find a job in the US. Unfortunately, without solid work experience, that wouldn't have been an option before these changes, either, at least not under the Skilled Worker class.

Second, and this is important, these rules may soon be moot. Canada is in the middle of a Parliamentary power struggle between the Conservatives - who dislike immigration and want to curtail it - and a centre-left coalition that would be more open to immigration. If the coalition succeeds - which is likely - the new Government may either restore the old immigration requirements or otherwise broaden the current ones.

In the earlier post, I wrote, "Of course, that doesn't mean the Liberals will make undoing this immigration 'reform' a priority. It could easily become the new normal." That's still a possibility, of course. But the influence of the NDP should move things in a pro-immigration direction. If Olivia Chow, now NDP Immigration Critic, becomes Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, we will see a lot more breathing room.

I'm not saying these changes will be an immediate priority, but I believe it will be an order of business before too long. If you are trying to immigrate to Canada and have been stymied by these new rules, I believe there is reason for cautious optimism.


West End Bob said...

Excellent post and update, L-girl.

Your points are well thought out, and based on your analysis, I concur.

Good job . . . .

laura k said...

Thanks, Bob! I really appreciate the affirmation.

Here's hoping Canada's doors soon open wider again.

Adalberto Fellini said...

Hopefully. My fiancée and I were planning on emigrating to Canada, and were clearly eligible under the old points system. Now we are not.
In any case, we weren't ready yet but it is still a plan we want to pursue, and act upon, thanks for the info L-girl.

laura k said...

My fiancée and I were planning on emigrating to Canada, and were clearly eligible under the old points system. Now we are not.

Crap. Is it because your profession is not on the list?

Adalberto Fellini said...

oops!, my profession is there...(!); It seems that the website was having trouble when I checked first [www.cic.gc.ca]. On Dec 1st almost all links lead to [-sorry given the info... you cannot apply for federal...] and no -other- options to apply with. Now it shows a list of options, explanations, etc. The list is there, more limited yes, but inviting still.
Either way, we won't dismay :D
thanks, your blog is really complete and good.

joey said...

Great post! My partner and I find the information you shared to be invaluable.

We submitted our application despite changes in immigration policy this year. We sent our application to the Buffalo office in the beginning of December. Just today we got the application returned to us citing another change: application for skilled worker should be mail to the processing center in Sydney BC unless you have job offer or already reside in Canada on student of temp work visa. This went into effect on December 1 2008.

Hope this information is helpful to others out there.

We will regroup and submit again. While we're uncertain how the new regulation will affect our application (I'm an IT professional with 10 years of experience, but my job title doesn't say IT manager), we figure we will give it a try any way.

ErinOrtlund said...

Hey L-Girl:

Have you heard about the new "Canadian experience" immigration class? It's on the CIC website and seems to provide a quicker way for people already in Canada to stay. Still requires all the police checks, medical, and apps, but it looks like it does not require proof of funds.

laura k said...

Thanks Erin! Sounds very interesting and potentially useful for a lot of people. I'll read up and post about it when I can.

Thanks so much! I don't keep up with changes in immigration, so I wouldn't have seen it.

Wade said...

I just found out I am in the same boat as Joey. I am an IT professional but my title does not say Manager. When I pull up the IT Manager occupational description that shows the main duties that you need to perform "some or all" of, I meet most of the skills, just not sure if I will meet enough of them to qualify for that class. Now I am not sure what to do.

Thanks for all the info though, it is very informative.

Borges said...

Just a note, the Job List doesn't apply to those who are applying through Québec, CIC will rubber-stamp you if you are selected by Québec.

Québec hasn't changed its rules, so if you qualify as a skilled worker for Canada, you will most likely qualify for Québec (it helps if you speak French, although as some mistakenly believe, it is not necessary, you just have to score higher points for experience and education, family ties, etc). Once you get your permanent residence you can then move to anywhere you want in Canada!!