The federal government will cap at 20,000 annually the number of visa applications from skilled immigrants in an attempt to reduce the backlog.
Immigration applicants must also submit proof of proficiency in one of Canada’s two official languages through a mandatory test, according to new instructions released Friday by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. Until now, some applicants were allowed to submit a written declaration testifying to their language ability. For example, exemptions could be granted to those who were educated in English or French.
“Only test results from a third-party language testing agency . . . will be accepted,” the instructions say. Kenney will officially announce the changes Saturday in Toronto.
The approved language tests include the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Test d’évaluation de français (TEF). The language requirement also applies to applicants under the Canada Experience Class.
As part of the changes, the number of occupations eligible for the federal skilled worker program has also been reduced from 38 to 29.
Due to an oversupply in the job market, 20 of the original 38 job categories have been removed, including managers in finances, computer and information systems, health care and construction, as well as university professors and college and vocational instructors.
They are being replaced with 11 new occupations: social workers, psychologists, dental hygienists and therapists, pharmacists, dentists, architects, biologists and related scientists, insurance adjusters and claims examiners, primary industry production managers (except those in agriculture) and professions in business services and management.
Applicants must have one year of continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience in at least one of the occupations to qualify.
The immigration department will also limit the number of applications in each occupation to no more than 1,000; the applications will be processed on a first-come-first-served basis. These instructions and restrictions are effective until June 30, 2011.
Kenney introduced his first instructions in February 2008 to reduce the ever-growing immigration backlog by restricting the qualifying occupations, but applications kept coming. Critics have said the backlog appears to be re-emerging despite those measures.
Based on an analysis of department data by immigration lawyer Richard Kurland earlier this year, the average processing time from all Canadian visa posts is 7 ½ years, with 600,000 people in the queue for the 80,055 skilled immigrant visas granted in 2010.
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
More Crazy Decisions from Ottawa. Now, Ottawa supposedly "reduces the number
of occupations eligible for the "Federal Skilled Worker Program" which includes
"Doctors and Dentists", thats right,
when there are literally tens of thousands of them in Canada who cannot and are most unlikely ever to get into the very small number of programs where their qualifications can be used in Canada.
Ottawa, is making those changes without apparently any real research or even asking anyone involved in those categories what is happening in Canada.
Ottawa would be better off limiting medical professionals who have next to no hope of every being able to practice in Canada and increase other areas such as computers and trades.
Canada is overflowing with foreign medical professionals who are steadily increasing in number to the point that there is a decreasing small percentage of the total pool who can ever even have a chance of ever being able to qualify in Canada.
The Federal Government has done NOTHING to increase the number of programs for immigrant medical professionals to be able to practice in Canada and many of those programs have a corrupt examination procedure that only sees those who pay very large amounts privately to ever see success.
Our Minister for Immigration has really screwed up on this decision.
The question is, Where is the Liberal Critic?