The Canadian government has announced that it is reviewing the list of work experience that qualifies candidates for immigration as skilled workers … again. The emphasis is on speeding up immigration processes, and on responding to labour market needs.
The emphasis on speeding up immigration processes is easy enough to understand. Until recently some visa offices were taking as long as 5 years to process a skilled worker application. The government claims that since it introduced its changes to the Federal Skilled Worker immigration program it has reduced the number of cases in the backlog by 40 percent. A reduction in the backlog means that that has been or will be a reduction in processing times.
The government is aiming to have new skilled worker applications processed in one year or less. This is good for everyone … except those who no longer qualify for immigration because the list of relevant jobs was shortened.
And that is the other element of this strategy: to limit the kinds of work experience that qualify an applicant for immigration. The government claims that it is restricting eligible work experience to those jobs that are currently in demand in Canada.
It is worth remembering that government is a little clumsy when it develops its lists of eligible work experience. The exercise is naturally quite inexact. But in an effort to make the list more responsive to the Canadian labour market, the Government is now talking to Canadian employers to find out where we need skilled foreign workers, and where we have enough Canadian workers that we do not need foreign workers. These consultations will determine which kinds of work experience will be on the revised list.
That should also mean that successful applicants should find it easier to find relevant work in Canada… although the Canadian government does not guarantee that.
It is impossible to know in advance how many jobs will be on the revised list. The existing list was designed before the world was hit with those American economic problems. Does that mean the new list will be shorter? Or is the government going to anticipate that the Canadian economy will continue to recover and that a year from now we will need more workers, not less? It remains to be seen.
One thing is certain: if you have work experience that is currently on the government’s list, you should apply as soon as possible. You will want to file your application before the list changes, because if your work experience is dropped from the list when the list is amended, your opportunity will may be gone.