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Changes to Economic Immigration Programs

Canada is adjusting its intake of applications from economic immigrants to further reduce the backlog and improve wait times while meeting the country’s labour market needs.

Canada receives many more immigration applications than can be accepted every year. As part of ongoing efforts to better align application intake with priorities for immigration, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is limiting the number of new applications it will consider in certain categories of the federal economic immigration stream.

Effective July 1, 2011, the changes will affect new applicants to the federal Skilled Worker, federal Immigrant Investor and federal Entrepreneur programs. The changes will not affect the number of permanent resident admissions in 2011 in these three categories.
In November 2008, the government first took steps to identify for processing those federal skilled worker applications that responded to Canada’s labour needs, such as applicants with arranged employment offers from Canadian employers or with experience in an occupation in high demand.

In June 2010, the government released an updated list of 29 priority occupations and introduced a global cap of 20,000 for federal skilled workers, as well as a sub-cap of 1,000 under each occupation.

Now, for applicants who do not have an offer of employment in Canada, the government will further limit the number of new federal skilled worker applications that are considered for processing to 10,000 a year, beginning July 1.

This limit will help better align the number of applications with labour market demand.

Within the 10,000 limit, a maximum of 500 new applications in each of the current 29 priority occupations will be considered.
In addition, a cap of 700 on new federal investor applications and a temporary moratorium on new federal entrepreneur applications.
Wait times for this program currently stretch to eight years in some visa offices.

Since these changes were implemented in November 2008, the backlog of pre-2008 federal skilled worker applicants has decreased by 50 per cent. As well, priority applications are being processed in a period of months rather than years, as was the case prior to the 2008 changes. The CIC website, www.cic.gc.ca, has details on application requirements and procedures for affected programs.

Posted: Aug 5, 2011

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