Canada Begins Accepting Applications, Places Limits On Three Immigration Programs

In preparation of the launch of its new Express Entry immigration plan in 2015, the Canadian government has established new caps on three of its economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

The government will also begin accepting applications—under the new limits—for the three programs as of May 1st as it ramps up for the launch of 2015’s Express Entry plan.

In announcing the new limits on the three programs, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said the measures are being put in place to help ensure a “steady supply of skilled workers who are settling in Canada permanently, and helping to supplement the Canadian workforce in areas where there are skills shortages.”

Each of the three programs will receive individual caps, designed to try to fit the supply with demand:

  • The FSWP: with the program’s backlog of applications on schedule for elimination this year, the new limit of 25,000 applications for 2015 is supposed to “provide the appropriate number of applications” to meet labor market demands.
  •  In addition, the list of occupations eligible to apply under that program will double from 24 to 50 employment occupations
  • The FSTP: in an effort to meet Canada’s need for skilled trades people, the FSTP will be capped at 5,000 applications
  • all 90 skilled trades that are designated under the program’s regulations will be eligible for consideration, although sub-caps will remain for each individual occupation
  • The CEC: the cap for this program will be set at 8,000 applications—as of May 1, 2014—to cover the transition period leading into next year’s introduction of the Express Entry program

The immigration minister also pointed out that the 25,000 application limit of the FSWP was developed based upon labor market data from Employment & Social Development Canada, as well as input from the provinces and territories regarding their regional labor needs.

In announcing these new caps, Alexander also said that the applications for these three economic immigration programs will be the last ones accepted under the current immigration law, prior to the arrival of the Express Entry program in 2015.