Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Temporary foreign workers and foreign student graduates can apply for citizenship under a new immigration class that rewards people for their Canadian experience, the government announced on Tuesday.

The program, known as the Canadian Experience Class, will also allow qualified applicants to seek permanent residency while continuing to work or study in Canada.

Under the old rules, they would have to leave the country and apply to immigrate.

“Choosing newcomers based on knowledge of our labour market and experience within Canadian society would make Canada a more attractive destination for skilled individuals from around the world,” Citizenship and Immigration Minister Diane Finley said.

“International students and skilled workers would be more likely to choose Canada if they knew their time in Canada and contribution to Canadian society would assist in their eligibility to apply to stay permanently.”

Finley said the program will be implemented in October.

Applicants would have to meet certain qualifications. Temporary workers would need at least two years of work experience in managerial, professional and technical occupations and skilled trades. They would also need moderate language skills.

Student qualifications would include having graduated from a Canadian college or university, having one year of skilled, professional or technical work experience, and moderate or basic language skills.

Critics call the program unfair because it excludes many temporary foreign workers such as unskilled labourers, factory workers and farmers.

With files from the Canadian Press

Reference: CBC.ca