Long processing delays under Canada’s skilled worker program are pushing applicants to identify alternative options under provincial immigration programs. Most will likely face disappointment.
Acquiring permanent residence under Canada’s skilled worker program, the largest component of Canada’s immigration programs, falls under the federal domain. And with current backlogs of 800,000 applicants under all categories at Canadian missions abroad, processing delays often exceed the expectations and objectives of applicants and for Canada’s human resource managers. Delays to visa issuance at Canadian visa offices abroad in the leading source countries for immigrants to Canada including China, India, Pakistan and the Philippines routinely surpass five years in processing time under the skilled worker program.
Such realities are prompting potential applicants to explore provincial nominee programs as a possible answer to long processing delays to Canada.
Applying for admission to Canada as a permanent resident under the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) will follow a different and generally, a far more expedited process (12-18 months in most cases) than if the application is approved under the Federal skilled worker program. In some instances persons who are otherwise not qualified for admission under the Federal skilled worker program, may qualify for admission to Canada under a PNP and may even qualify for a temporary work permit in the interim, allowing for early entry to Canada for the applicant and their accompanying dependants.
But a few clarifications should be noted. First, most of the provincial programs require a sponsoring employer. The majority of employers are unwilling to offer qualified hiring packages to foreign nationals who are not able to attend a personal interview. Unless a potential employee is able to travel to Canada to attend a personal interview, or the employer is willing to include personnel recruitment as a part of their functions and travel to meet with potential employees in source countries, most applicants to Canada will not be able to qualify under the employer driven PNP programs.
For the provinces where immigration programs are not employer driven but are intended to increase population, such as Manitoba and Quebec, processing delays are routinely untenable.
Second, when faced with the option of applying for permanent residence under a PNP program or the Federal skilled worker program, the benefits of “expedited processing” all things being equal, do not outweigh the convenience to submit federally. This is often the case with clients of Immigration and Employment Attorney Colin R. Singer.
“The majority of human resource managers and individuals whom we assist, have a disdain for government and would readily prefer to avoid additional layers of bureaucracy unless the benefits are significant, which they are not. PNP programs in their own right have ongoing processing and resource issues that only add to this reality”, cautions Singer.
“And for employees with the right qualifications, a properly structured employment project will provide a foreign national with a work permit of up to 24 months and this is more than enough time to conclude the residence process under a federal submission without the employee having to leave the country”, explains Singer.
Perhaps the numbers will put matters in clearer perspective. Excluding the province of Quebec, Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs only account for approximately 4.5% of the number of applications filed each year for Canadian permanent residence under all categories. Last year some 13,329 newcomers, including applicants, spouses and children out of the total 251,511 who were admitted to Canada, were admitted under PNP programs.
Although the role of provincial immigration programs is expected to take on more prominence in the years ahead, such programs for the most part, are only intended to cater to individual employers wishing to hire low skilled workers in certain industries. Moreover, as experienced practitioners know all too well, the provinces impose an unwritten quota system when approving nominations for low skilled workers. “Politicians are uncomfortable with low skilled worker programs that offer permanent residence because such individuals are less likely to change vocations and more inclined to draw upon public assistance when the economy falters. In the Province of Alberta for example, the number of approvals for low skilled workers is only in the hundreds” warns Singer.
For the vast majority of the close to 800,000 would-be-immigrants currently undergoing the processing of their permanent residence applications at Canada’s visa offices as well as for new applicants intending to relocate to Canada in the future, Canada’s provincial nominee programs are not a viable option.
Interested readers are invited to contact Attorney Colin R. Singer, CHRP (Toll Free in North America 1-888-817-2011) or by email – [email protected] to discuss any issue related to the foregoing.