Changes To Skilled Worker Applications

The Budget 2008, introduced on February 27th, 2008, made a number of amendments to a number of legislations in Canada, including the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

As a result, the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has been provided with two new specific authorities for the purpose of increasing its efficiency in processing applications. The first is that CIC now has the authority to refuse any application outright without processing, if such application does not meet the minimum criteria, set by CIC via “Minister’s Instruction”. In order to screen applications for Federal Skilled Worker Class in meeting such minimum criteria, CIC will establish a new processing centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia. If a Federal Skilled Worker application is received by any visa post, such application would be forwarded to the new processing centre first. Upon be screened for the minimum criteria, only conforming applications would be forwarded back to the appropriate visa post for processing it to completion. Failed applications will be sent back to the applicants without accepting the application fee at all. Previously, CIC had a legislative obligation to assess each and all applications received by CIC with full consideration.

Second, CIC can issue ministerial instructions from time to time to visa posts or processing centres to expedite the processing of any applications on annual basis. The first step they took was with regard to the Federal Skilled Worker Class and the change was made retroactive to the date the Budget was announced on February 27, 2008.

One key change is that people working here on a work permit or a student visa can apply from within Canada after meeting certain criteria. If a person is applying as a skilled worker after February 27th, 2008, he or she now has to meet the qualifications of a new list of 38 occupations. Otherwise, such application will be returned to the applicant without processing at all.

If anyone has made an application for a Federal Skilled Worker after February 27th, 2008, it is highly recommended to review the new Minister’s Instruction to see if such person is in fact qualified to apply. For those who made applications before February 27th, 2008, it is also highly recommended to review to see how long such application would take to process, since some applications may not be processed for more than six years, according to CIC. It is important to see a qualified immigration lawyer to see what other options should be considered in order to expedite the currently submitted application, if any are available.

If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with immigration law issues in the Kitchener, Ontario Region, contact Jennifer Roggemann Law Office for a consultation.

This information is taken from an interview from December 10, 2008 interview with Jennifer Roggemann, Immigration Lawyer with Jennifer Roggemann Law Office, a Kitchener Ontario Canada Immigration Law Firm. This article is provided as an information service only and should not be used as legal advice. Laws vary by jurisdiction so please consult with an appropriate legal professional if you are looking for help with a specific situation.