A Fast and Flexible Economic Immigration System

Economic Action Plan 2012 (PDF, 2.3 MB)

Jobs, growth and long-term prosperity
Economic Action Plan 2012

The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening the immigration system to make it truly proactive, targeted, fast and efficient in a way that will sustain Canada’s economic growth and deliver prosperity for the future. Economic Action Plan 2012 includes a number of initiatives toward that vision.

In A More Responsive Immigration System

Canada needs to select immigrants who are ready, willing and able to fully integrate into Canada’s labour market and fill gaps in our economy, particularly where we have existing skills shortages. The large backlog of applications that has accumulated under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) is impeding the responsiveness of Canada’s immigration system. Eliminating the long-standing backlog of FSW applications would allow the Department to recruit skilled immigrants who meet current labour market needs.

Strengthening Canada’s Immigration System

By complementing recent reforms, Economic Action Plan 2012 would enable Canada to transition to an increasingly fast and flexible economic immigration system. In the future, the Government would explore approaches with provinces, territories and employers to develop a pool of skilled workers who are ready to begin employment in Canada.

The Points System

Applicants under the FSWP are assessed on factors such as their education, their work experience, age and language abilities. The points system used to assess applicants would be reformed to reflect the importance of younger immigrants with better language skills.

Skilled Trades Stream

Economic Action Plan 2012 announced the Government’s intention to create a new immigration stream to facilitate the entry of skilled tradespersons. Canada faces critical shortages in certain skilled trades, yet less than three percent of all FSWs entering Canada are skilled tradespersons. Tradespersons have traditionally been disadvantaged due to criteria in the FSW grid which is better suited to professionals. A new stream would create a means for skilled tradespersons to be assessed based on criteria geared to their reality, putting more emphasis on practical training and work experience rather than on formal education. It would also make it easier to attract the skilled tradespeople that Canada’s economy needs.

Canadian Experience Class

The Government plans to provide further incentives to retain educated and experienced talent through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). The CEC, created in 2008, offers a pathway to permanent residency for international students, skilled and highly skilled temporary foreign workers. The CEC aims at ensuring that Canada retains talented and motivated individuals who have demonstrated a strong work ethic, have an ability to contribute to the economy, and will easily integrate into Canadian life.

Business Immigration Program

The Business Immigration Programs would target more active investment in Canadian growth companies and more innovative entrepreneurs. The goal is to take advantage of emerging economic opportunities by attracting immigrant investors who can make substantial investments in areas with high growth potential, and immigrant entrepreneurs with innovative ideas, putting their skills as well as their resources to work quickly and directly in the Canadian economy to create jobs for Canadians.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Economic Action Plan 2012 announces the Government’s intention to consider additional measures to ensure that the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) supports our economic recovery by better aligning the program with labour market demands. At the same time, the Government will look at ways to ensure that businesses have made all reasonable efforts to recruit from the domestic labour force before accessing the TFWP.

Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications

Ensuring that foreign credentials are quickly and fairly assessed in Canada helps highly skilled newcomers find work related to their training, allowing them to quickly contribute to Canada’s economy.

Economic Action Plan 2012 signals the Government’s intention to support further improvements to foreign credential recognition and to work with provinces and territories to identify the next set of target occupations for inclusion, beyond 2012, under the Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications.

Economic Action Plan 2012 would help Canada transition to a faster and more flexible economic immigration system through measures such as:

  • Move to an increasingly fast and flexible immigration system where priority focus is on meeting Canada’s labour market needs.
  • Realign the TFWP to better meet labour market demands.
  • Support further improvements to foreign credential recognition.
  • Return applications and fees to certain FSW applicants who have been waiting for processing to be completed.

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Budget measures are subject to parliamentary approval.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, 2012
C&I 1481-1Ci4-81/2012EISBN 978-1-100-20569-4

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