Canadian Immigration to introduce language tests in Provincial Nominee Program

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Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced 11 April that the government would introduce changes to the country's provincial immigration programs. From 1 July 2012, most Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) applicants for semi- and low-skilled professions will be required to undergo mandatory language testing. The test will determine applicant's listening, speaking, reading and writing abilities and they will be required to meet a minimum standard across all four of these categories. This will make it more difficult to apply under the Provincial Nominee Program in future. If you wish to come under the Provincial Nominee Program you may wish to apply sooner rather than later to avoid the new language requirements.

Additionally, Kenney said that further changes will be made to the PNP to continue to focus on economic streams. This announcement follows the department's announcement to create a new Skilled Trades Program for tradespeople.

"As a result, immigrants coming to Canada under PNPs will arrive with much better language skills and will be selected for the impact they can have on Canada's economy," said Kenney.
"We have supported enormous growth in the number of provincial nominees in recent years because it makes sense for the provinces and territories to have the flexibility to meet regional needs. Saskatchewan has successfully used the program and has actively recruited immigrants with the skills needed here."

"Newcomers play a significant role in building and maintaining the highest quality of life in our province and in our country," said Saskatchewan Immigration Minister Rob Norris. "The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to building the best provincial immigration program to meet our economic and labour market needs."

The PNP is currently Canada's second largest economic immigration program, with around 42,000 people expected to be admitted this year. Each province and territory is responsible for the design and management of their own PNP.

The PNP allows provinces and territories to nominate business immigrants who will live and work in Canada and receive Canadian permanent residency. Provincial Nominee applications are given preference over other skilled visa applicants by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). If you choose to immigrate to Canada as a provincial nominee, you must first apply to the province where you wish to settle and complete its provincial nomination process. After you have been nominated by a province or territory, you have to make a separate application to CIC for permanent residency.

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