News Release - Canada’s government to help temporary foreign workers and foreign student graduates become permanent residents

Waterloo, August 12, 2008 — The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, today announced the details of the Canadian Experience Class, a proposed new avenue for immigration for certain temporary foreign workers and foreign student graduates with Canadian work experience. Unlike other existing programs, this proposal will allow an applicant’s Canadian experience to be considered a key selection factor when immigrating to Canada.

The Canadian Experience Class will allow certain temporary foreign workers and certain foreign student graduates with managerial, professional, or technical or trade work experience to apply to become permanent residents, and eventually Canadian citizens. All applicants, depending on their occupational skill level, will be required to demonstrate either basic or moderate language skills. Proposed regulatory changes have been pre-published in the Canada Gazette for a 15-day comment period. Final regulatory changes will be published following this comment period.

“The Canadian Experience Class is one more measure this government is proposing to make our immigration system more attractive and accessible to individuals with diverse skills from around the world, and more responsive to Canada’s labour market needs,” said Minister Finley. “This new proposed avenue for immigration would also go further to spread the benefits of immigration into smaller centres across Canada.”

Temporary foreign workers and foreign students are generally spread out across the country and contribute to the growth of smaller communities as well as metropolitan areas. Individuals applying for permanent residence through this new avenue could apply from within Canada while continuing to work and continuing to contribute to their local communities.

The Canadian Experience Class comes after a number of recent initiatives the government has undertaken to help newcomers succeed and to help make Canada a more attractive destination for skilled individuals from around the world. These initiatives include changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program; the establishment of the Foreign Credentials Referral Office; increased investments in language training and other programs and services aimed at helping newcomers successfully settle and integrate into their new communities; and, most recently, changes to the immigration system that would allow for priority processing of certain skilled applicants and reduced wait times for those wanting to immigrate to Canada.

Through the Canadian Experience Class, newcomers will be more likely to make the most of their abilities while undergoing a more seamless social and economic transition to Canada. And, in turn, their cultural and economic contributions will enrich Canada.

“Choosing newcomers based on knowledge of our labour market and experience within Canadian society would make Canada a more attractive destination for skilled individuals from around the world,” added Minister Finley. “International students and skilled workers would be more likely to choose Canada if they knew their time in Canada and contribution to Canadian society would assist in their eligibility to apply to stay permanently.”

For further information (media only), please contact:

Tim Vail
Press Secretary
Minister’s Office
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
613-954-1064

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
613-952-1650

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