We have recently seen a flurry of announcements from Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister, Jason Kenney, detailing changes and proposed changes to Canada’s immigration system. The Government has stated that these changes are part of an overall effort to make Canada’s immigration system more flexible and more responsive to Canada’s labour market needs.

One significant proposed change is a regulatory one, designed to reduce the length of time a foreign national must work in Canada before being eligible to apply for permanent residence in Canada under the Canadian Experience Class (“CEC”).

Currently, to be eligible to apply, applicants under the temporary foreign worker stream of the CEC must have acquired two years of full-time work experience in Canada within the last three years. Under the proposed regulatory changes, the requirement would be reduced to one year of full-time work experience in Canada.

If this proposal is implemented, it will be greatly beneficial to foreign workers who are already in Canada on work permits, as they will be eligible to apply for permanent residence in half of the current time. Further, applicants should receive faster and more streamlined processing of their CEC applications.

There is no indication yet as to when this proposed change will come into effect, but we expect further details about the proposed changes to the CEC to be announced later in 2012.