Intake caps and impending changes have applicants to Canada’s popular Federal and Quebec Skilled Worker programs working hard to ensure that their applications are submitted in a timely fashion. The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Canada’s biggest immigration program, has begun reporting on the numbers of applications received for the first time since its reopening in May 2013. Meanwhile, Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) applicants are under pressure to submit before July 31st, after which Quebec’s current immigration rules are set to expire. “For skilled workers looking to immigrate to Canada, the situation today is very exciting,” said Attorney David Cohen. “On the one hand, we have our most popular permanent residency programs open and accepting applications from around the world. On the other hand, the timeframe for submission is narrow.” Attorney Cohen added that “those individuals who receive visas under today’s skilled worker programs will arrive in Canada better prepared than ever before to make a smooth transition into their new home. For motivated, eligible applicants, there is really no time like the present.” The Federal Skilled Worker Program The FSWP opened its doors to applicants on May 4th, 2013. However, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has only recently begun reporting on numbers of applications that have been accepted for review. CIC placed a cap on FSWP applications for this year. For now, only 5,000 applications in total will be accepted for review. Applicants must have experience in one of 24 eligible occupations, and for each coccupation a maximum of 300 applications will be accepted for processing. On June 26th, 2013, CIC reported that just 65 applications have been received as of May 4th. Of these applications, the most popular occupation is Financial and Investment Analysts, with 28 applications received. The actual number of files awaiting acceptance at CIC offices is unknown. The program will remain open to applicants until caps are filled. The Quebec Skilled Worker Program On March 27th, 2013 the Quebec Immigration Minister announced that the government “is renewing its rules relating to the intake of applications according to the immigrant class”. These rules, which had been set to expire earlier in the year, will remain in effect until July 31st 2013. After that time, it is unknown what will happen to the QSW and other provincial immigration programs. There are three possible paths the government may choose with regard to the QSW program. It may choose to continue the program in its current form. There is also a possibility that the program will remain open but some rules or eligibility criteria may be changed. Finally, the government can choose to close the program for a set period of time. Because the future is unknown, many eligible applicants are preparing their files in time to submit before the end of July. Moving Forward Though the clock is ticking, there is still time for many eligible applicants to apply for immigration to Canada as either a skilled worker or through one of the country’s over 60 immigration programs.
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