Permanent Residency of Canada Frozen


Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced in June 2012 a temporary freeze on accepting new applications to the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) and Immigrant Investor programs. This “temporary pause”, as Minister Kenney described it, will be effective starting July 1, 2012.
Mr. Kenney explained that by not accepting new applications, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will be able to better address those applications that have already been submitted, thus eliminating the programs’ current backlogs. These currently stand at approximately 110,000 applications for the FSW program, and 25,000 for the Investor program. In addition, the pause will give CIC the opportunity to make important changes to the programs before accepting new applicants. In this way, CIC believes that Canada will transition to a “faster, more flexible immigration system”.
The FSW program was expected to re-open its application quotas for the following year on July 1. Mr. Kenney was quick to add that despite the freeze, immigration levels to Canada will not be decreasing during this time period. Current applications will continue to be processed, meaning that “current immigration remains at historic levels”. Last year, Canada welcomed approximately 250,000 new temporary and permanent residents through its borders.
It is important to note that certain streams within the FSW program will remain open during this time. Individuals with offers of arranged employment, as well as those applying under the PhD stream, are still welcome to apply.
Intake of all FSW application types is currently expected to resume in January 2013, when a number of proposed changes to immigration programs are expected to become operational. Some of these proposed changes include:
 ■Restructuring the FSW points grid
 ■The creation of a Skilled Trades stream within the FSW program
 ■The introduction of new FSW language requirements
Individuals whose applications are submitted before July 1 should expect processing of their cases to continue normally. In the meantime, further information regarding changes to the FSW and other programs is forthcoming.
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