On June 24, 2011, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced that Canada would be adjusting its intake of applications from economic immigrants “to further reduce the backlog and improve wait times.” Effective July 1, 2011, the changes will affect new applicants to the Federal Skilled Worker (“FSW”) Program, the Federal Immigrant Investor Program, and the Federal Entrepreneur Program.
The previous Ministerial Instructions, which were published on June 26, 2010, stated that FSW applicants who did not have an offer of employment would not be accepted for processing unless they fell under one of the 29 occupations listed in the instructions. In addition, these applicants were subject to a total cap of 20,000 per year and a sub-cap of 1,000 per year for each of the 29 listed occupations.
As of July 1, 2011, FSW applicants who do not have an offer of employment in Canada will now be limited to a total cap of 10,000 a year and a sub-cap of 500 per year for each of 29 listed occupations. This represents a 50% reduction in both the total number of FSW applicants (who are permitted to apply without an offer of employment in Canada) and in the number that may apply in each of the 29 listed occupations each year.
Minister Kenney is also introducing an annual cap of 700 on new Federal Immigrant Investor applications. Although last year, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) made changes that raised the minimum net worth and investment requirements, Minister Kenny claims that it continues to receive applications in excess of what is required. The annual cap on new applications will supposedly allow for progress on backlog reduction while ensuring that CIC has a sufficient volume of new files to meet its commitments.
Minister Kenney is also introducing a temporary moratorium on new Federal Entrepreneur Program applications. According to the announcement, wait times for this program currently stretch to eight years in some visa offices; by ceasing to accept new applications as of July 1, 2011, CIC will supposedly prevent further processing delays.
The announcement states that the Federal Entrepreneur Program will undergo a review in the coming months to ensure that Canada is better able to attract and retain innovative entrepreneurs. However, in recent years, only a small number of applicants has applied under the Federal Entrepreneur Program. Although time will tell, it is quite possible that the Federal Entrepreneur Program will never be reinstated.
The official news release appears here.