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The year 2015 will be marked as an important year for Canadian immigration programs. CIC has made changes in the way it accepts and processes applications for skilled migrants. As well new criterion is now applicable for business and citizenship applicants. Changes have also been proposed for a faster processing of in-Canada sponsorship applications. Following are brief details of changes proposed:
Canada’s immigration system for skilled migrants has been changed as of January 1, 2015 with the implementation of the Express Entry program. It is an important change CIC has made in order to avoid further backlog of applications.
CIC is now empowered to select applicants who possess the skills and experience that is in demand in Canada and have required education, work experience as well as language skills to succeed. Applicants will provide preliminary information to the CIC regarding their education, skills, work experience and language proficiency as well as other relevant data. It is interesting that there will be no cap on number of applications and no limitations for applicants of specific skills to apply.
The information that applicants have provided will be ranked amongst CRS(Comprehensive Ranking System) point criteria. Applicants ranked higher or those who have a job offer from Canadian employer will be invited to submit an application for permanent residence. No application will be accepted unless they have an Invitation To Apply (ITA).
Express Entry will be a mandatory first step in the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). In addition, provinces and territories will also be able to use Express Entry system to identify additional provincial nominees. Canada’s Job Bank will provide a matching component between prospective applicants and registered employers, once operative.
Inland spousal work permits
Spouses of In-Canada spousal applications will now have speedy work permits issued. Open work permits to spouses can be issued in a timely manner in advance or while their application is already in process. Previously many spouses were waiting over two years without being able to work while their applications were being processed.
Processing for caregivers
Canada’s “Live-in Caregiver program” is now changed to “Caregiver program” eliminating the need for caregivers to reside with their employers. Two separate caregiving streams have been introduced: the Caring for Children pathway and the Caring for People with High Medical Needs pathway. The annual target of caregiver applications and permanent resident admissions is also increased. As well as applications for permanent residence will be processed faster for those who have completed their work period.
Changes to Citizenship Requirements
The ‘residency’ period is now defined as ‘physical presence’ for the purpose of an application of citizenship. Also the necessary time period to spend in Canada too has increased.
To be eligible for citizenship a person has to be physically present in Canada for four full years (1460 days) within a six year period (2190 days). It is also required to be in Canada for a minimum of 183 days in each of those years and file tax returns. Knowledge and language requirements have also been strengthened. All applicants between 14 – 64 years of age will require passing a knowledge test and providing proof of language ability in one of our official languages – English or French.
New Investor Immigration Pilot Program
The Government of Canada recently terminated both the Entrepreneur and Investor categories for aspiring business applicants and approximately 22,000 applications were returned unprocessed.
CIC has recently announced the new Immigrant Investor Venture Capital pilot program. Prospective Investor applicants will require an investment of $2 million for a period of 15 years and will need to demonstrate a net worth of $10 million. They need to satisfy certain eligibility criteria related to language, education and previous business experience. This new program has already been launched and will provide a pathway to permanent residency for approximately 50 immigrant investors and their families.