Press Room

Law Eliminating Skilled Worker Backlog Goes Into Effect

The federal government’s proposed legislation eliminating the longstanding backlog of applications in the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) class is now in force, with an effective date of June 29, 2012.

The legislation terminates all FSW applications made before February 27, 2008 (FSW backlog applications) for which, prior to March 29, 2012, no decision has been made establishing whether the applicant meets the selection criteria and other requirements for permanent residence in the FSW class. According to operational instructions issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) on June 29, 2012 (OB 442), the application fees originally submitted will be returned to the person who paid them.

According to the same instructions, FSW backlog applications for which a decision has been made prior to March 29, 2012 establishing whether the applicant meets the selection criteria will continue to be processed to a final decision.

The instructions also deal with FSW backlog applications for which a selection decision was made on or after March 29, 2012. CIC will continue to process such applications only if a “final decision” was made on the application before June 29, 2012. If no final decision was made before that date, the application will be terminated and the fees paid to CIC will be returned to the person who paid them.

The instructions set out specific requirements for establishing whether or not a decision has been made as to whether the applicant meets the FSW selection criteria and for establishing that a final decision has been made on an application.

CIC has indicated that it will initiate fee returns and communications with affected applicants in “due course.”

CIC’s instructions also note that the legislative provisions eliminating the backlog are currently being challenged in the Federal Court and that the result of that litigation could affect how the terminated FSW applications are handled in the future.

For further information on the affect of the new legislation on FSW applications, or with respect to the FSW Program generally, please contact the immigration law specialists at Green and Spiegel LLP.