Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) summarized what it considers the successes of its reforms in recent years in a press release on Friday. CIC said that it expects that by the end of 2013, it will be able to process applications as they are received, and complete their processing within one year.
It said that this will open the door to the adoption of the Expression of Interest (EOI) model for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and possibly other economic immigration streams.
The EOI model requires applicants to submit a simplified preliminary application detailing their qualifications, and allowing provinces and employers to select the most promising of those applicants, who are then invited by CIC to submit a full application that includes documents proving their qualifications.
“The Government’s number one priority remains the economy and job growth. Immigration backlogs are detrimental to our ability to attract the world’s top talent,” said Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in describing the purpose of moving to a “just in time” EOI system of immigration admittance.
“With the decisive actions we’ve taken to tackle the backlog, we will finally be able to select immigrants who better meet the needs of the Canadian labour market. We will aim to process their applications in less than 12 months.”
CIC also detailed the measures it has taken in recent years to address a problem that has long afflicted the FSWP: the large volume of applications that exceed the program’s annual quota and lead to wait times as high as eight years:
- In 2008, only accepting FSW applications from individuals qualified in an occupation on the “priority occupations” list.
- In 2010, adding a quota to the number of new applications accepted.
- In June 2012, eliminating most of the FSW applications on the backlog that were received before February 27, 2008.
- In July 2012, temporarily pausing acceptance of new FSW applications, except for applicants with a qualifying job offer and those applying under the PhD stream.
These measures, said CIC, have reduced the FSWP backlog from 640,000 people in 2008 to 100,000 today.
CIC plans to re-start the FSWP in 2013, and admit 55,300 people over the year, approximately the same as the 55,000–57,000 quota for the program in 2012. It said that new rules for a revamped FSWP will be published later this year.