Canada Continues Recruiting Skilled Immigrants To Benefit Economy
A recent meeting of Canadian immigration ministers at the federal, provincial, and territorial (FPT) levels has reconfirmed the government’s priority on skill-stream immigration. FPT governments will continue to recruit skilled immigrants, while assisting their integration into Canadian society and their successful contribution to the economy.
Co-chairing the meeting were citizenship and immigration minister Chris Alexander and Thomas Lukaszuk , Alberta’s current Jobs, Skills, Training Labour Minister. All provinces and territories were represented, with Québec acting as an observer as per the 1991 Canada-Québec Accord Relating to Immigration and Temporary Admission of Aliens, which made the province responsible for its own immigration policies.
Attendees discussed their involvement in the new Expression of Interest (EOI) recruitment model. EOI will complement the work of the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) in attuning Canada’s immigration system to the demands of the economy. As Lukaszuk stressed, the PNP has already proven vital “in building Canada’s permanent workforce and in addressing labour shortages and skill gaps across the country.” In 2012, the program admitted nearly 41,000 immigrants, spouses, and dependants — a substantial increase from 13,500 in 2006. The Provincial Nominee Program has also improved the distribution of skilled immigrants across Canada. In 2000, only 20 percent of economic immigrants intended to locate outside Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. In 2012, this figure rose to 42 percent.
The FPT meeting indicates that EOI will further this progress. By granting governments and employers access to applicants, EOI will accelerate the entry of skilled immigrants into Canada to fill jobs not already held by Canadian residents. Lukaszuk assures that “provinces and territories will continue to work with the federal government towards developing an Expression of Interest immigration system that is responsive to our regional labour market needs.” FPT immigration ministers will collaborate with Canadian employers on EOI for an expected launch date in January of 2015.
Also discussed at the meeting was the FPT Vision Action Plan, another Canadian immigration initiative designed to serve Canada’s economic needs. Consistent with the goals of EOI, the Vision Action Plan aims to make economic immigration more efficient by prioritizing labour market demands and optimizing the socioeconomic integration of new immigrants. Further measures to help new immigrants integrate and contribute to the economy will include better services prior to entry, acceptance of foreign qualifications, language instruction opportunities, and services to help new arrivals connect with their communities. From 2014-2015, the Canadian Government will be investing close to $600 million to aid the settlement of newcomers outside Québec.
Economic stream immigrants made up 62 per cent of immigration in 2012. FPT governments hope to increase this statistic to 70 percent in the coming years. As Alexander reaffirms, “[t]he Government of Canada’s number one priority remains economic growth and job creation. Immigration plays a key role in Canada’s long-term prosperity and we are committed to seeing newcomers succeed across the country. With our provincial and territorial partners, we look forward to launching the Expression of Interest system together next year.”
FPT immigration ministers will reconvene before the end of 2014.
To speak with a Canadian immigration lawyer, contact First Immigration Law Firm at 1 (855) 360-4333 (toll-free in North America) or 1 (514) 360-4333 (internationally)