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Skilled worker faces three-year wait for immigration

posted Jul 8, 2012, 10:33 PM by Milorad Borota   [ updated Jul 8, 2012, 10:33 PM ]
Published on Tuesday April 26, 2011
Nicholas Keung  Immigration Reporter Toronto Star

The Conservative government changed the criteria for the skilled worker program in 2008 to reduce a backlog of 900,000 immigration files.

“We expect new federal skilled-worker applicants . . . to receive a decision within six to 12 months compared with up to six years under the old system,” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said at the time.

“(These changes) will help ensure that Canada remains competitive internationally and responsive to labour market needs domestically.”

Under the new regulations, 38 eligible occupations were created, including jobs in the fields of health, skilled trades and the financial sector. Skilled workers whose occupations are on the list are to be fast-tracked for acceptance as permanent residents. Those who do not meet the eligibility criteria will not be processed and the application fee will be refunded.

These control mechanisms now appear insufficient.

“The number of applications we received exceeded our ability to process them in a timely way,” Citizenship and Immigration Canada spokesperson Kelli Fraser said in a recent email.

Fraser said the department in June restricted the qualifying occupations from 38 to 29, and capped an annual quota to process 20,000 applications, including no more than 1,000 applications per job category.