On Saturday, June 26th, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced in a news conference that the number of jobs considered for fast-tracking for skilled worker applications would be narrowed down to a list of 29 occupations and that a cap would be placed on the number of applications processed. The number of applications processed per year as of June 26th, 2010 is 20,000.

This means that after June 26th, only 20,000 applications will be considered for processing within the next 12 months and 1,000 of those applications under the 20,000 cap are designated for Federal Skilled Worker applications.

The jobs that made the list place a greater emphasis on economic recovery and include restaurant and food service managers, architects, biologists, pharmacists, dentists, chefs, cooks, specialist physicians and plumbers.

In order for an application to be considered for processing, the results of an official language proficiency test must be included as well as a valid offer of employment or one full year full-time or equivalent part-time paid and continuous work experience in one of the 29 professions within the past 10 years.

It’s safe to say everyone will be scrambling to get these applications underway and sent off as soon as possible in order to qualify to immigrate to Canada as a skilled worker. This also makes it especially important to have an immigration lawyer help you ensure that your paperwork is filled out properly and that no omissions or errors are made because it would be a shame to miss out on the opportunity because of a simple paperwork error or omitted requirement.

I frankly am surprised that these changes were made given our aging demographics, increased global competition and recent economic recession. Canada more than ever needs more and more skilled workers to meet its labor needs. Imposing an annual cap services would serve the opposite effect, limiting potential immigrant candidates for needed jobs.

We will have to see how this all plays out but it seems that the Conservative government likes to use “blunt instruments” when it comes to immigration policies to solve systemic problems. My prediction is that more damage than good will come out of these changes but only time will tell.

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