Eine Frau geht an einer Weltkarte, die aus Kinderporträts besteht, am Freitag (18.06.2010) im JuniorMuseum in Köln vorbei.

18.10.2013 | Von:
Jennifer Elrick

Development of Immigration and Immigration Policy since the 19th Century

Recent changes to the Federal Skilled Worker Program

Since 2012, fundamental changes have been made to the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). Unable to cope with processing delays of up to six years for applicants in some parts of the world (especially Asia), CIC announced in November 2012 that is was suspending FSWP until mid-2013 and clearing its backlog of applications. Approximately 280,000 applications that had been filed before February 2008 but not yet processed were subsequently eliminated from the system and the processing fees returned to the applicants. [7] In addition to evaluation under the point system, applicants to the re-vamped FSW-program must meet one of three criteria: (1) they must have a minimum of one year of work experience in one of 24 eligible occupations (mainly in the engineering, medical, and information technology fields); (2) they must have an offer of employment for a job that cannot be filled by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident; or (3) they must be an international student enrolled in a Ph.D. program at a Canadian university and have at least one year of work experience in a professional or managerial-level job. The eligible occupations and Ph.D. streams are limited to 5,000 and 1,000 applications per year, respectively. The imposition of quotas marks a sharp change from Canada’s longstanding emphasis on mass immigration. Additionally, self-assessments of language ability have been replaced by mandatory language testing, and applicants are now required to obtain an educational credential assessment for their educational qualifications.

The Federal Skilled Trades Program

Long criticized for ignoring the demand for workers in skilled trades in favor of professional and managerial workers, CIC introduced the Federal Skilled Trades Program in January 2013. Under this program, up to 3,000 individuals per year can apply to become permanent residents based on their qualifications and work experience in one of 43 trades. Applicants are also required to meet language requirements and have either an offer of employment or a certificate of qualification from a province or territory.

Changes in family immigration

Family-related immigration has long been a cornerstone of Canadian immigration policy; however, two recent developments indicate that this is changing. First, in December 2011, CIC introduced the so-called "Super Visa" for parents and grandparents. No longer eligible to immigrate to Canada as sponsored relatives, parents and grandparents can now receive a ten-year, multiple-entry visa to visit their families in Canada, provided the sponsoring family member meets minimum income requirements and can provide private medical insurance for the visitor. Second, in October 2012, CIC introduced a conditional permanent resident status for sponsored partners/spouses who have been in their relationships for less than two years and have no common children (see the Irregular Migration section for details).

Temporary immigration

While federal admissions streams for permanent residents are growing more restrictive, in qualitative and quantitative terms, Canada has experienced an exponential growth in temporary admissions programs over the past several years. It is possible for some temporary migrants to transition to permanent status, a policy approach referred to as “two-step” immigration. Canada’s first formal program for temporary migrants, the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP), was introduced in 1966 and continues to this day. It was joined in 1973 by the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), which was originally used to bring in people to fill shortages in highly-skilled occupations but was expanded to include low-skilled workers in 2002. The TFWP allows employers to hire workers from abroad. Generally, employers require a positive labor market opinion (LMO) from the federal government in order to recruit a foreign worker. A positive LMO confirms that the employer was unable to find a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to do the job, that the employment is genuine, and that the employer has not defaulted on any commitments to previous TFWPs. Both the SAWP and TFWP are intended to fill short-term labor market needs, although some participants in the TFWP program may transition to permanent residency through the Canadian Experience Class or a Provincial or Territorial Nominee Program (PTNP) (see below).

One of the most prominent temporary federal admissions programs is the Live-In Caregiver Program (LIC), which started in 1992. Under this program, individuals with a high-school education, knowledge of English or French, and experience in care work can apply to work in Canada for up to four years as a Live-In Caregiver for children or elderly or disabled persons in a household. This is the only temporary admissions program with a built-in mechanism for switching from temporary to permanent status. Since 2008, the Canada Experience Class (CEC) has provided a means for highly-skilled temporary workers, foreign students who have graduated from Canadian universities, and their families to transition to permanent residence status after one year of experience in a professional or managerial position, or in a trade, provided the principal applicant meets language and other requirements.

Provincial/Territorial Nominee Programs

In addition to federal admissions policies, a series of agreements between the federal government and the country’s provinces and territories have given the latter increasing powers to select their own immigrants based on regional economic needs and according to their own criteria and procedures. Provincial/Territorial Nominee Programs (PTNPs) are both a tool for selecting newcomers abroad for permanent or temporary entry as well as a pathway for newcomers already residing in Canada as temporary foreign workers (TFWs) admitted under the federal system to transition to permanent resident status. The first and most comprehensive of these arrangements was signed with Québec [8] in 1991, and most of the other provinces and territories have followed suit since 2000. The proliferation of PTNPs has resulted in a policy landscape that is difficult to understand in its entirety. It also marks a shift away from the traditionally centralized approach to migration management, the effects of which are as yet unclear.


See the CIC website: www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/releases/2012/2012-09-17.asp (accessed: 7-16-2013)
1. Québec is the only province that has complete authority to manage its immigration. It sets its own annual immigration targets, is solely responsible for selecting its immigrants (with the exception of those in the family class and refugees, whose status is determined at the federal level), and it has full responsibility for providing orientation courses and integration services. See Citizenship and Immigration Canada (2006).
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