May 14, 2012
In accordance with the Conservative government’s ever-changing reformation of the supposedly out-of-date and out-of-touch current Canadian immigration system, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) has now focused its considerable regulatory sights on the Canadian Experience Class (“CEC”) – one of the most significant, successful and economically advantageous categories of permanent immigration categories CIC has introduced since Canada repealed the Immigration Act of 1976 and replaced it with the with the Immigration Refugee and Protection Act (“IRPA”) in 2002.
The CEC, woven into the framework of the IRPA in 2008, was established in a bid to retain the top talent from abroad and overcome the excessively long processing delays many applicants experience when applying for permanent residence status under the federal skilled worker program. This class of application allows temporary foreign workers with work experience, and foreign students who are graduates of a Canadian educational institution who have acquired Canadian work experience, to apply for permanent resident status on a fast-tracked basis (8 – 12 months) without having to leave Canada during the application process.
One of the minimum requirements for qualification under the CEC, is that an applicant must have acquired 24-months of full-time skilled work in Canada within 36-months of filing their application for permanent residence under the CEC. Under the proposed changes, applicants would only be required to obtain 12-months of full-time skilled work in Canada in order to be eligible to apply for permanent residence under the CEC. Once enacted, it is anticipated that thousands of foreign workers currently in Canada will be eligible to apply under the CEC immediately.
By reducing processing times and easing permanent residency requirements for foreign skilled workers in Canada, the Conservative government is hoping to make immigration to Canada more attractive to foreign nationals with the skills, experience and abilities Canada desperately needs. One of the main intentions of the recent changes to many of Canada’s immigration regulations and policies are indeed designed to make Canada a preferred destination for the best and brightest talent abroad while also advancing the nation economically by way of filling crippling labour shortages which are currently plaguing multiple industry sectors across Canada. Based on Canada-wide consultations held over the past year on the topic of immigration reform, it seems starkly evident that the Conservative government has concluded that the current immigration system is woefully inadequate in terms of attracting and retaining the type of skilled immigrant Canada requires. Based on the changes already enacted and those still yet to come, it is anticipated that the new immigration system will focus mainly on the economic classes of immigration and appeal to highly-skilled foreign nationals that have the talent, work experience and desire to lead Canada forward.