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.