Since May 1 2014 more skilled workers than ever before are eligible to apply immigrate to Canada. This is because Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) implemented changes to their Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program. The FSW program has historically been the most popular path to Canadian Permanent Residency.
The FSW program is intended to supplement the Canadian workforce with in-demand occupations, reflecting the country’s current economic needs.
Applications and occupations increased for the FSW program
The maximum number of applications CIC will accept under the FSW program has been increased from 5,000 to 25,000. The number of eligible occupations has also increased to 50. This link will take you to the CIC list of eligible occupations.
CIC will accept more applications per occupation from May 1. 1,000 applicants per occupation will be accepted, compared to only 300 applications per occupation in 2013.
Candidates applying under this eligible occupation stream do not need to have a job offer already, though you must, of course, have at least one year paid work experience in your chosen occupation.
Application cap for 2014 FSW program
Although the number of applications has been increased, there is still a limit on the number of applications CIC accepts each year. These caps ensure Canada’s labour market needs are met, and reduce backlogs.
The new cap (from May 2014) is 25,500 for the FSW program, including a cap of 500 for PhD students. And there are sub-caps of 1000 for each of the 50 eligible occupations.
Please note, there are no caps for applicants with valid job offers.
Any applications received by CIC before May 1 will still be processed using the old rules. The new caps and occupations are valid only for applications received after May 1.
Express Entry: new selection system
This year (2014) is the last anyone will be able to apply under the FSW program. These new FSW rules apply only until the CIC’s new immigration selection system is launched in 2015. The proposed new system, known as Express Entry, is intended to improve processing times and attract skilled workers needed for economic growth. $14 million will be invested in the Express Entry over the next 2 years under Canada’s Economic Action Plan.