Evaluation of the Federal Skilled Worker program

Federal skilled worker evaluation – Management response

Federal skilled worker evaluation – Management response
Key Finding Response Action Accoun-
tation Date
I. Program Relevance
There is a need for Federal skilled workers (FSW) because of the economic growth and the increasing rates of retirement which create skill shortages in the labour market. CIC agrees with this finding. The FSWP is intended to support longer-term and sustained economic growth.
  • No action required.
The FSWP is consistent with departmental and Government- priorities. The Program benefits the Canadian labour market and economy, mitigates some of the impacts of demographic changes, and helps to maintain a stable workforce. CIC agrees with this finding and will continue to monitor the outcomes and employment rates of FSWs and how they perform in the Canadian labour market and will, when required, make adjustments to the program to ensure it continues to meet departmental and Government- priorities.
  • In June, 2010 Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Ministers Responsible for Immigration approved the Joint FPT Vision for Immigration to Canada and agreed to advance discussions about a multi-year approach to immigration levels planning.
  • As discussions at FPT tables continue in 2010 on identifying shared objectives for immigration, CIC will be endorsing a strong and sustained FSW presence given the evidence around positive contributions and outcomes.
IB 2012
II. Program Design and Implementation
The revisions of the selection criteria have resulted in a system that is more transparent, objective, and easier to understand for applicants. CIC agrees with this finding. IRPA redesign of the FSWP was intended to make the program more transparent, objective and easier to understand. CIC continues to assess the outcomes of the FSWP and, when desirable and appropriate, will make improvements to the program to ensure that it continues to meet these standards.
  • The revisions of criteria have provided opportunities for CIC to provide simpler information to clients and the objective/transparent criteria is permitting us to do even more in terms of providing tools to prospective immigrants so that they can better identify their chances of success.
  • CIC will continue to add to the self assessment tools available to prospective applicants by rolling out a new tool to assist prospective applicants in determining which immigration category is the best choice for them and what criteria they will need to meet in order to qualify. It is a complement to the existing self-assessment tools for FSWs.
  • We are also introducing more risk based “tiers” of decision making and hope to leverage the objective criteria in permitting more centralized decision making (to be tested within the next 24 months from CIO Sydney).
SIO/ OMC/ CPR 2012
There are potential opportunities for improvement with respect to the assessment process and the number of points awarded for certain criteria.To improve the FSWP, consideration should be given to:
i) formal language testing;
ii) younger skilled workers;
iii) educational equivalencies and credential recognition in regulated professions; and
iv) adaptability criterion Arranged Employment Offers (AEO) points under two different criteria; spousal education; and relatives in Canada).

CIC agrees with this finding and will continue to conduct research on best practices internationally to ensure that our selection system is effective and efficient in meeting its objectives.

CIC has already instituted Ministerial Instructions (MI) to require third party language testing, effectively removing an applicant’s ability to present other written evidence thereby increasing the reliability, transparency and efficiency of the language assessment process.

To ensure that clear pathways to qualification recognition and workforce integration are in place, federal, provincial and territorial governments, regulatory bodies and other relevant stakeholders have begun the implementation of the Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications (the Framework), which was announced on November 30, 2009.

  • CIC is planning to hold consultations in Fall 2010 on potential changes to the FSWP selection criteria.
IB October 2010
  • CIC is pursuing regulatory changes to give permanence to the requirement to submit the results of a third party language test.
IB Publi-
cation February 2011
  • As part of the Framework, ten regulated occupations are targeted for implementation by December 31, 2010, and further progress is expected for an additional six occupations by 2012.
FCRO December 2010/ 2012
  • CIC’s Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO) is the federal lead on FCR initiatives overseas that provide pre-arrival support to prospective immigrants. On April 1, 2010, the FCRO signed a three-year Contribution Agreement with the Association of Canadian Community Colleges to deliver overseas in-person orientation services, beginning in fall 2010.
FCRO October 2010
  • Once credential assessment and recognition processes are established in Canada according to the four principles set out in the Framework, CIC can begin to examine the feasibility of moving credential assessment processes overseas.
Fraud in the FSWP is prevalent across the Canadian Visa Offices Abroad (CVOAs) visited. Some areas suffer from higher levels of fraud, which has an impact on the approval rates in different visa offices. In such cases, it takes longer to assess the genuineness of an application and the acceptance rate is also lower.

CIC is aware of the prevalence of fraud and is acting to mitigate its prevalence, incidence and scope.

The Department mitigates fraud by various means, including in-depth training of visa officers, in cooperation with the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) the deployment of Migration Integrity Officers (MIOs), ongoing risk assessment, and other fraud detection activities such as site visits, follow-up surveys, document verification, etc.

  • The Department is presently finalizing a Quality Assurance framework which will support our moving towards a more streamlined risk based decision making model.
OMC QA: Q4- 2010
  • Operations focus is to increase awareness of fraud in all of our business lines and to develop tools which will support integrated efforts on fraud.
OMC 2011- 2012
  • The roll out of GCMS will permit better data gathering on document verification and fraud and the development of a better cost model for this activity. Funding will come in part on refocusing our energy on high fraud movement away from low risk file work.
2011- 2012
Information regarding points is deleted in CAIPS for applicants whose interviews are waived. This makes it difficult to assess the impact of the selection criteria. CIC agrees with this finding.
  • CIC is in the process of rolling out a new case processing system, Global Case Management System (GCMS), which will be fully implemented by the end of March 2011.
GCMS Q1- 2011
  • The data deletion issue will not occur under GCMS.
  • Missions will process new cases in GCMS and complete processing of existing cases in CAIPS. It will vary by mission how long it takes to move fully to GCMS.
  • CAIPS will be phased out after the full implementation of GCMS.
  CAIPS Phase-out (TBD)
III. Program Impact
IRPA selection regime significantly affects the level of earnings of FSWs. IRPA FSWs have significantly higher incomes compared to pre-IRPA FSWs. CIC agrees with this finding and will continue to monitor the outcomes and the employment rates of FSW PAs and how they perform in the Canadian labour market.
  • No action required.
Selection factors are an effective predictor of economic performance. In particular, the economic performance of FSWs is closely linked to whether they have an AEO; as well as to their language abilities and work experience in Canada prior to obtaining permanent resident status. CIC agrees with this finding and will continue to monitor the outcomes of FSW PAs in general, as well as how they relate to the selection criteria in order to better inform program decisions.
  • No action required.
Although FSW with an AEO have better economic outcomes then those without an AEO, CVOA staff are not supportive of using AEOs as they currently exist because of serious concerns regarding the integrity of arranged employment offers and the amount of work devoted to processing those applications.

CIC, given the superior economic performance of applicants with an AEO, will continue to utilize AEOs despite the challenges they presently engender.

CIC is devoting efforts to tighten integrity measures related to AEOs given the superior outcomes related to this factor and the fact that the incentive for AEO fraud has increased since Ministerial Instructions were published in 2008. Those instructions make an AEO essential for applicants not included on the list of eligible NOCs, and still bring substantial points to those applicants who are on the list of eligible NOCs.

In response to these concerns, the Department held targeted consultations on some early options for addressing the integrity of the AEO process in 2009. The results of those consultations are being used to develop a refined set of proposals for improving the integrity of AEO issuance in Canada, and to support visa officers conducting verifications from CVOAs.

  • Consultations on regulatory changes to the FSWP selection factors, including AEO, will be held in Fall 2010.
IB Fall 2010
  • Planned improvements related to the sharing of information between HRSDC, Service Canada and CIC will help alleviate some of the processing challenges related to AEOs.
Service Canada
Winter 2011
Processing times show that IRPA was successful in reducing the time associated with the selection decision and final decision. However, this was largely offset by an increase in the time required to complete the paper screening, as the rate of applications received exceeded the capacity to process them.

CIC is taking action to harmonize intake with processing capacity.

It is important to note that the ability to assess the impact of regulatory changes on the streamlining of processing has been hampered by increasing volumes that far exceeded capacity.

Over the past decade the FSW backlog grew for a variety of reasons including increasing volumes of applications that far exceed processing capacity, the lowering of the pass mark for the FSW category resulting in an intake increase in 2003, the need to process applications in a dual-assessment method following a court ruling.

In 2008, Parliament approved changes to IRPA to help CIC better manage its immigration system by granting the Minister of CIC the authority to issue Ministerial Instructions (MI).

CIC issued MI in November 2008, which allowed CIC to limit the number of FSW applications to be processed based on eligibility criteria that correspond to Canada’s labour market needs. As a result, CIC has reduced the FSW backlog by more than 40% and reduced processing times to 6-12 months.

However, in the first three months of 2010, CIC witnessed a dramatic rise in the number of new applications, and oversubscription to certain occupations listed in the first set of MI. In order to avoid the creation of new backlogs and increased processing times, CIC issued new MI in June 2010, revising the list of occupations in demand and instituting caps for these occupations.

  • CIC will continue to monitor the intake of FSW applications, processing times and the status of backlog reduction efforts in order to ensure that the immigration system is responsive to the needs of the labour market and that CIC is able to meet its goal of eliminating the FSW backlog.
  • Additional capacity is being created in our delivery system by leveraging the GCMS which permits CIC to move workload to staff (rather than staff to workload) in a more cost effective manner. Already, efforts to focus overseas resources on fraud, and away from routine processing, have shown results in terms of processing times. We will continue to explore the potential for shortening processing times by requesting more evidence before a file is opened in our systems.
OMC, IR, SIO, CPR 2010- 2011
  • The institution of third-party language testing will help improve processing timelines. The requirement to submit the results of a third party language test has already been introduced in the MI and will be given permanence in regulations in upcoming regulatory changes.
IB Winter 2011
  • Further refinements, such as third-party tools to aid in the assessment of educational credentials are being explored.
IB 2011- 2012
  • CIC will begin an evaluation of the MI.
R&E 2010- 2011
As the PNP has expanded in recent years, the levels for the FSWP have been reduced, to ensure CIC adheres to the annual levels plan. Most Provincial governments prefer the PNP, citing perceived advantages such as greater responsiveness to immediate labour needs and provincial priorities, the ability to attract workers who wish to settle in destinations other than major urban centers and shorter processing times.

CIC agrees with the finding that the PNP brings advantages for Provinces and Territories, and their prospective immigrants. These advantages were intended and are designed to complement other economic immigration programs, such as the FSWP.

CIC will continue to work with provinces and territories to ensure the program continues to meet the objectives of all jurisdictions while respecting the IRPA, IRPR and relevant immigration agreements.

CIC will continue to work with PTs to ensure that our agreed to multi-year levels plans accommodate the needs of both the FSWP and the PNPs as they both respond to distinct and important needs.

  • CIC, in consultation with provinces and territories, is developing a strategic roadmap for immigration. Components of the strategic roadmap include the development of a common federal-provincial-territorial (FPT) vision for immigration as well as a multi-year levels planning (MYLP) system.
IB 2012
  • The Joint FPT Vision for Immigration to Canada was approved in June 2010 by FPT Ministers with Responsibility for Immigration. The Joint Vision recognizes the economic and social benefits of immigration to all Canadians, and guides program development and evaluation. Phase II of the development of the Joint Vision will include identifying shared objectives and a 3-5 year action plan. MYLP will be incorporated into Phase II with the goal of bringing forward to Cabinet a proposal to launch the first joint multi-year levels plan in 2012.
IB 2012
  • Via the economic working group, CIC will engage in multilateral discussions on a common quality assurance framework to enhance the consistency of nomination decisions which are compliant with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, its regulations and provincial/territorial program criteria.
IB 2012
  • CIC will begin a national evaluation of the PNP in Fall 2010, in cooperation with the PTs. In addition, PTs are required to conduct their own evaluations of their programs. Provinces and territories are required to share the results of their provincial evaluations with CIC.
IB/R&E (evalu-
ation only)
Fall 2011
IV. Cost-Effectiveness/Alternatives
The lack of standardized tools to aid in the assessment of AEOs, language, education, and work experience make it very difficult to achieve consistent, reliable and timely processing of applications.

CIC agrees with this finding.

CIC is making efforts to gain processing efficiencies where standardized tools exist and are feasible to implement.

Recent MI require all applications received on or after June 26, 2010, to be accompanied by a valid language test result. This tool will assist visa officers in making timely and reliable assessments against the language requirement.

With respect to assessing the reliability of an applicant’s work experience, CIC is not aware of any standardized tool that can help assess this particular factor.

  • With respect to AEOs, CIC, HRSDC and SC are working together to increase the sharing of information to reduce duplication of work related to this factor. This exchange is also expected to help increase the integrity of the AEO process.
Fall 2010
  • With respect to assessing the validity of educational credentials, CIC is exploring mechanisms that could help increase the consistency, reliability and timeliness of the assessment. If operationally feasible and affordable to implement system-, third-party tools could be integrated into the process.
2011- 2012

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