22 August 2012

New Canada visa rules prioritise the young, English-speaking and skilled

New Canada visa rules will place a greater preference on bringing foreign citizens to Canada who are aged between 18 and 35, and who have English or French-language skills or a trade.

Canada visa

Canada's new visa system is aimed at bringing younger, English or French-speaking migrants with trade skills to the country.

As the baby boomer generation approaches retirement age, Canada faces losing a significant proportion of its workforce in the next few years. In order to combat this and avoid the same situation again, the government has announced new rules which give greater precedence to younger migrants.

Several studies, both independent and government sponsored, have proved that older migrants struggle more in the Canadian jobs market than younger migrants and give Canada a better chance at combating the effects of an aging population.

"An aging population represents a significant policy challenge for Canada," reported one government study.

"The immigration of young people able to work at relatively high wages for a number of years can help lessen the consequences of this phenomenon."

Under the new points based system, applicants aged between 18 and 35 will receive 12 points with applicants over the age of 35 receiving one point less for each year they are older; applicants over the age of 47 will receive no points for their age.

Applicants need 67 points out a possible 100 to pass.

Dr Arthur Sweetman of McMaster University, who co-authored one of the studies on immigrants' ages and their ability to succeed in the Canadian economy, welcomed the changes.

"It makes a lot of sense," said the economics professor. "Immigrants who arrive later in life - on average - have a lot more difficulties in the labour market."

The changes will also place a greater emphasis on language ability; applicants with strong English or French skills, the country's two official languages, will receive eight points, although applicants with both will still only receive eight points.

Another significant change is the concessions toward applicants in skilled trades; under the previous system, education was preferred over skills, a factor that made skilled tradespersons account for just 3% of the entire Foreign Skilled Worker program.

However, the proposed FSWP Skilled Trades program would allow applicants who can demonstrate their practical training and work experience to add weight to their application.

The policy changes come as part of the government's efforts to make the Canadian immigration system more beneficial to the country's economy and workforce. Politicians have long since complained that skilled migrants have to take unskilled jobs such as cab driving as their qualifications or experience fail to transfer to the Canadian jobs market.

The effort to streamline the system started in March when Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty announced as part of his budget that all visa applications made prior to 2008 would be cancelled. The announcement was met with significant controversy but Nigel Smith, casework manager at the Canadian Visa Bureau, says the new system will benefit British applicants, and particularly trades people:

"The new rules mean that many British trades workers who would have previously struggled to meet the requirements, or even have been deemed ineligible to apply, will now not only be able to apply to move to Canada, but stand a very good chance at receiving a visa."

The Canadian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people make their application to the Canadian Embassy.

Bookmark and Share