Posted on - May 28, 2013

By Catherine Sas Q.C.

Catherine Sas Q.C.

Over the past five months, Canada’s Minister of Immigration has either created, modified or re-opened 5 separate categories for immigration to Canada in the economic program. This signals a strong message to the world that the doors are open for immigrants to Canada and also demonstrates the Canadian government’s recognition of the significance that immigrants play in Canada’s overall economic growth.

Canada’s Immigration program is divided into two segments: the economic program and non economic program. Of the 250,000 – 260,000 immigrants that Canada accepts annually, 60% are economic applicants and the other 40% are family class, refugee or humanitarian and compassionate applicants. Last year Canada accepted approximately 160,000 economic immigrants and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future! There has been tremendous change in the economic class in recent months with several new programs opening and others being re-worked. Let’s take a closer look at Canada’s economic immigration program.

Economic Immigrant Categories

Category Status Changes Annual Targets
Skilled Worker Class Re-opened May 4, 2013 Modified 5000 (+ dependants)
Phd Student Stream Open None 1000 (+ dependants)
Arranged Employment Open Modified No Limit
Canadian Experience Class Open Modified 10,000 (+ dependants)
Federal Skilled Trades Class Open as of Jan. 2, 2013 New 3000 (+ dependants)
Provincial Nominee Program Open None 42,000
Live-In Caregivers Open None
Investor Closed
Entrepreneur Closed
Start Up Visa Open as of April 1, 2013 New 2750

Here is a brief description of each immigration category:

Skilled Worker Class

The Skilled Worker category has been the corner stone of Canada’s economic immigration program. In recent years it developed a backlog of almost a million applicants and so the Minister of Immigration introduced “Ministerial Instructions” to be able to be able to specify which occupations were eligible for acceptance under this program. The program has recently re-opened on May 4, 2013, and currently 24 occupations are eligible under the skilled worker program. This is the only self directed category of immigration that people are eligible to apply independently from abroad. As the backlog diminishes it is anticipated that the volume of applications to be accepted under this category will increase.

Phd Student Stream

This is a subset of the Skilled Worker Category that allows PhD students that are about to graduate or have graduated from a university in Canada to apply for permanent residence from within Canada. This category does not require an employer.

Arranged Employment

Arranged employment leads to permanent residence where an employer obtains a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from Service Canada specifying that the individual intends to both work and ultimately reside in Canada. This has changed from the previous criteria of having an indefinite offer of employment. The transition to requiring a Labour Market Opinion from Service Canada is designed to curtail instances of abuse to this program.

Canadian Experience Class

This immigration program grants permanent residence to those people who have previously worked or studied in Canada. As of January 2, 2013, applicants require only 1 year of full time work experience in Canada to be able to qualify under this program.
Federal Skilled Trades

This new program was introduced on January 2, 2013, and allows certain trades to be eligible for permanent residence to Canada. There are 2 sub-categories of applicants: Category A with a cap of 100 applications per year and category B with no cap. There are a total of 24 eligible trades eligible to apply under this new category. This program is designed to alleviate Canada’s shortage of skilled trades people.

Provincial Nominee Program

These programs allow provinces to determine and select immigrants that will suit the needs of individual provinces. The volume of applications under the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is growing each year and each province features their own individual criteria for immigration under the PNP program. Most provinces feature Skilled Worker, international student and business categories but each province is difference so be sure to check the criteria for the province where you want to live.

Live-In Caregivers

The Live-In Caregiver program is designed for those who provide in home care to children or the elderly. Applicants must first obtain a work permit and complete 24 months of work experience in full time employment after which they and their dependents are eligible to apply for permanent residence.

Investor

This category has been suspended since July 1, 2012.

Entrepreneur

This category has been suspended since July 1, 2011.

Start Up Visa

On April 1, 2013, the Minister of Immigration introduced the new Start-Up Visa. The Start-Up Visa is designed to attract new, innovative entrepreneurs who have business proposals that will stimulate Canada’s economy. Applicants first need to partner with a government designated venture capital or angel investor company.

For the past decade Canada has been welcoming approximately 250,000 immigrants each and every year – on a per capita basis that is more than any other country in the world! Canada’s economic immigration program designates approximately 160,000 individuals per year including principal applicants AND their accompanying family members. Most individual applicants bring one to four accompanying dependants with them to Canada. So a target of 5000 principal applicants results in 15,000 -20,000 immigrants to Canada!

The message is clear, Canada’s doors are open for skilled economic immigrants. For more detailed information about immigrating to Canada please go to http://canadacountdown.ca.


Catherine Sas, Q.C. is a Vancouver immigration lawyer at Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre in Vancouver, BC Canada. Catherine has been practicing law for over 25 years, and has been voted Vancouver’s Best Immigration Lawyer by the Georgia Straight newspaper for 6 consecutive years.

To learn more about immigrating to Canada, becoming a permanent Canadian resident or bringing your family to Canada, email Catherine Sas or call her at 1-604-689-5444.

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