Canadian immigration minister promotes country's new visa system

Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney took an end-of-year interview as an opportunity to promote his department's new visa application system, a result of almost five years of reform.

Minister Kenney has long since spoken of his intention to transform the Canadian immigration system into a slicker, more efficient process and has taken drastic steps to achieve his goal, including cancelling almost 300,000 legitimate Canada visa applications and placing a yearlong moratorium on new applications through the most popular route. However, the minister announced at the end of last year that the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) will resume taking new applications in May and took the chance to tout the system's new Expression of Interest program similar to that already in place in Australia. 

Under the new system, applicants will advertise their skills and qualifications in a government-run database and Canadian employers as well as provincial or federal agencies can then select which applicants will receive a visa. "Applicants will go into this pool, and then employers or my department and or provinces will be able to fish out of that pool," said the minister. "It's like a dating site." Mr Kenney's major issue with the old system was applicants arriving in the country with skills or qualifications that did not apply in Canada. However, the new system will require applicants to detail their experience, qualifications and language capabilities in much more detail, allowing employers to better gauge their capabilities.

"An employer will be able to say 'look, we're doing a major mining development in Ontario, we need skilled mining engineers and we're unable to find them in Canada,'," explained the minister. With employers recruiting better-qualified staff from overseas, applicants will be granted permanent residents rather than temporary workers. "They would arrive in Canada as permanent residents with prearranged jobs and literally be going to work at their skill level within a few days of arrival."

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