Changes to Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act pertaining to skilled worker permanent resident applications have been announced. Specifically, the changes are designed to deal with the backlog of skilled worker applications. The Immigration Minister will identify occupations and skills that are required in Canada and applicants possessing experience in those occupations will be designated for processing. The changes give the Minister the authority to issue instructions to immigration officers on the processing of applications.

Applications received after February 27, 2008 will be processed under the new system. The goal is to reduce the backlog of skilled worker applications and decrease processing times of these applications.

Permanent resident applications made under provincial nominee programs, or where the applicant has arranged employment points, will continue to be processed.

This marks a return to an occupations based federal skilled worker program. The government will be able to use the legislation to prioritize the selection of skilled workers in occupations where there are shortages in Canada.

It is expected that the Minister's first set of instructions will be delivered in the Fall.

Announcement re Changes to Reduce Backlog