Notice – Questions and answers: Bill C-38 and changes to Federal Skilled Worker applications

Q1. Why is the Government of Canada eliminating the majority of the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) backlog?

The Government is committed to creating a just-in-time immigration system that is responsive to Canada's economic needs.

The large backlog of applications that has accumulated under the Federal Skilled Worker Program is impeding the responsiveness of Canada’s immigration system.

Eliminating the bulk of this longstanding backlog of FSW applications will allow the Department to focus resources on facilitating the arrival of skilled immigrants who apply under the current eligibility criteria.

Economic Action Plan 2012 (also known as the Federal Budget) proposed to terminate applications and return fees paid by certain FSW applicants who applied prior to February 27, 2008. This proposal was introduced in Parliament under the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act (Bill C-38) on April 26, 2012.

Q2. Am I affected by the FSW backlog elimination measures?

Now that the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act (Bill C-38) has become law, CIC will terminate processing Federal Skilled Worker files if applicants:

  • applied before February 27, 2008, and
  • have not had a decision made by an immigration officer based on selection criteria before March 29, 2012. (information on selection criteria is below)

CIC expects this will affect around 280,000 people including dependants.

CIC will return fees paid to the Department, without interest, for applications that are eliminated under the provisions in Bill C-38.

CIC has set up a central task force based in Ottawa to handle the fee return process.

Q3. What does a decision based on Federal Skilled Worker selection criteria mean?

A decision based on Federal Skilled Worker selection criteria means that an immigration officer:

  • has assessed your FSW application against the points grid, and
  • has made a decision on whether or not you meet the selection criteria of the program.

Currently, the pass mark is 67 points out of a grid worth 100 points. The grid considers the following:

  • the person’s ability in English and/or French;
  • their education;
  • their work experience;
  • their age;
  • whether they have a job already arranged in Canada (arranged employment); and
  • how well they might adapt to living in Canada (which awards points for things like previous work or study in Canada, spouse’s education and relatives in Canada).

If your application is successful, you would move to the next phase (i.e. admissibility). At that point you would be checked against health, security and criminality requirements before a final decision is made and a visa is issued or not.

If you do not score at least 67 on the FSW points grid, your application would be refused and CIC would inform you of the decision.

Q4. How will fees for Federal Skilled Worker applicants affected by Bill C-38 be returned?

CIC has set up a central task force based in Ottawa to handle the fee return process. Please confirm your latest contact details by sending CIC this form (PDF, 1.4 MB). While we will also contact you by regular mail later on if we do not hear from you, communicating with us electronically is the best and easiest way to have your fee return processed.

Q5. What options do I have if my application is terminated under Bill C-38?

If your file is closed by CIC, you may re-apply under the current FSW criteria (i.e. with a qualifying offer of arranged employment or under the PhD eligibility stream) or under any other immigration category for which you may be eligible. If you have the skills Canada needs now, your application would likely be processed much faster – new FSW applications are processed within 12 months.

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