On June 29 2012 Citizenship and Immigration Canada published Operational Bulletin 438, which provides guidance on the recently issued ministerial instructions that came into force on July 1 2012.

The bulletin states that a temporary pause has been placed on new applications filed under the Federal Skilled Worker Programme, excluding applications received under the PhD eligibility stream and those with a qualifying offer of arranged employment. The temporary pause came into effect on July 1 2012. As of that date, the only Federal Skilled Worker Programme applications that will be accepted are those filed by:

  • skilled workers with a valid offer of arranged employment;
  • international students enrolled in a PhD programme at a provincially or territorially recognised private or public post-secondary educational institution in Canada who:
    • have completed at least two years of study towards a PhD;
    • are in good academic standing at the time that they apply; and
    • are not recipients of an award requiring them to return to their home country to apply their knowledge and skills; or
  • international students who graduated from a PhD programme at a provincially or territorially recognised private or public post-secondary educational institution in Canada who:
    • graduated no more than 12 months before the date that their application is received; and
    • did not receive an award which required them to return to their home country to apply their knowledge and skills (or did, but have satisfied the terms of the award).

A maximum of 1,000 applications from the PhD eligibility stream will be considered for processing each year. Applications will be considered in the order that they are received.

The first cap year for the PhD stream began on November 5 2011 and will end on October 31 2012. Unless otherwise indicated in a future ministerial instruction, the cap will be automatically reset on November 1 2012.

For further information on this topic please contact Henry J Chang at Blaney McMurtry LLP by telephone (+1 416 593 1221), fax (+1 416 593 5437) or email (hchang@blaney.com).

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