Ottawa to ease path to permanent residency for skilled workers, students

express-entry-draws-2015-001Significant changes (the above chart shows the number of invitations and minimum score for all draws to date before the changes announced this week):

The federal government is changing its electronic immigration-selection system to improve the chances of international students and some high-skilled foreign workers to become permanent residents.

The changes to the Express Entry system, which scores and ranks applicants based on factors such as age, language ability, education and work experience and then matches them with Canadian employers, will take effect on Nov. 19. The changes announced in a news release on Monday will make it easier for some highly skilled workers already in the country and international students who completed their postsecondary education in Canada to get an invitation to apply for permanent residence.

“This is a re-balancing of the points for permanent residency,” said Danielle Lovell, a Vancouver-based immigration consultant. “I think the re-balancing … is an effort to continue to have Express Entry be about high-skilled workers.”

Under the Express Entry system introduced by the previous Conservative government, employers who offer jobs to foreigners must get government approval through a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which requires them to prove they could not find a Canadian to do the job. While the LMIA was meant to target abusers of the low-skill temporary foreign worker program, Canadian tech firms had to go through the same time-consuming process even when the only people with the required skills were outside Canada.

The upcoming changes to Express Entry reduce the importance of obtaining an LMIA for high-skilled workers. Some workers already in Canada on a temporary LMIA-exempt work permit and who want to stay permanently will no longer need a LMIA to get job-offer points in the Express Entry system. This includes people working in Canada under the terms of the North American free-trade agreement and workers in Canada temporarily under an intra-company transfer. Applicants must have been working in Canada for at least a year to apply.

These workers will also be in a better position to compete against Express Entry applicants who are still required to obtain an LMIA, as the number of points given for the assessment will be reduced. Previously, job offers supported by an LMIA were worth 600 points; as of Nov. 19, the same offers will be worth either 200 points for senior manager positions or 50 points for all other jobs.

The changes are aimed at making it easier for highly skilled foreign workers to become permanent residents.

…The Canadian tech sector has pressed Mr. McCallum to help it obtain much-needed foreign talent. Allen Lau, CEO and co-founder of the online publishing platform Wattpad, said that while the sector is investing in and training local talent, the demand outpaces the Canadian supply.

“Canada’s innovation economy competes on a global scale for top talent. [The] announcement by Minister McCallum makes it easier for high-growth companies like Wattpad to attract skilled workers and remain competitive,” Mr. Lau said. “Minister McCallum heard our concerns and took action.”

Major changes are also on the way for international students hoping to become permanent residents through the Express Entry system. Applicants who obtained a postsecondary degree, diploma or certificate in Canada will be awarded up to 30 additional points. Under the previous system, no points were awarded for this.

“In a competitive system, 30 points can be the difference between being selected and not,” said Noah Turner, a Montreal-based legal adviser.

Finally, applicants will have 90 days to complete their permanent-residence application if they get an invitation from the government, up from 60 days under the previous requirements.

Source: Ottawa to ease path to permanent residency for skilled workers, students – The Globe and Mail

Canada needs to fast-track immigration to bring in crucial tech talent

Another advocate makes the case (Express Entry aims for six months or less) and the messages coming out of recent consultations are of note:

In media coverage and casual conversations with CEOs, investors and skilled professionals, this sentiment is brought up constantly. I’m not surprised. With the state of the European Union after the Brexit vote, and the possibility of a Trump presidency in the United States, it’s easy to see why people might look to Canada as a haven from the uncertainty bubbling around the world.

While some people are clearly exaggerating their desire to pull up stakes, there is evidence that many skilled professionals are seriously considering moving to Canada right now. This offers Canadian startups an unprecedented opportunity.

It’s clear that the startup sector wants access to hire top foreign talent. I recently joined Globe and Mail reporter Sean Silcoff, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Immigration Arif Virani and co-founder of Blankslate Partners Danielle Lovell at Startup Canada’s Day on the Hill event to discuss the talent-acquisition challenges faced by startups.

The discussion was eye opening for Mr. Virani. He heard about the protectionist and cumbersome hoops that startups must jump through to get skilled workers for key roles. These range from nitpicking on forms to outright hostility from some government officials, who criticize these companies for their inability to find “the right Canadian.”

It’s not because of the startups’ lack of effort. We’re competing with the world for brain power. We’re expecting to have to fill 182,000 information and communication technology positions by 2019. Unfortunately, homegrown talent will not be enough to fill these jobs.

Fast-tracking immigration for startups is a way to solve this.

For our innovation economy to thrive, government and industry need to work together. Canada produces all the right elements, but to remain competitive, we must take the right steps at pivotal moments. Attracting the right talent will determine whether our blossoming innovation hubs succeed or fail.

New Zealand and France are among the countries that have introduced fast-track programs to attract and retain tech talent. Internationally, demand for talent outpaces supply. In the United States alone, there are 1.42 job postings for every skilled technical job seeker. But every country competes fiercely for talented workers. Canada’s Express Entry system usually keeps prospective employees waiting at least six months. In that amount of time, most applicants will have moved on to other opportunities. Our system is broken.

I have argued that Canada’s leaders need to pivot our economy toward innovation. There are many reasons I believe this. For one, foreign labour in the innovation economy functions differently than it does in the industrial economy. In the industrial economy, foreign labour takes jobs away. In the innovation economy, bringing in the right talent from outside can create bigger and better companies, the network effects of which begin a virtuous cycle.

At the panel discussion in Ottawa, Mr. Virani said creating a system that allows startups to bring in the right people in less than a month would be impossible.

I challenge him and Immigration Minister John McCallum to think like the innovation economy leaders who view impossible as a starting point. Together, we can reform this system and give Canadian startups anotherrecruiting advantage.

Source: Canada needs to fast-track immigration to bring in crucial tech talent – The Globe and Mail

Why kicking me out of the country is bad for Canada’s economy

One personal account of the impact of Express Entry by an international student, Murad Hemmed:

As of June 16, 2017, I will no longer be welcome in Canada. On that date, my Post-Graduate Work Permit expires, and I have to leave the country. There’s no telling when—if—I’ll be able to return.

I arrived in Toronto on September 12, 2010. As a precocious (read: full of himself) teenager, I thought I was headed for the Ivy League. Then reality set in: I couldn’t afford a U.S. education. Luckily, the self-styled “Harvard of the North” accepted me, so to the University of Toronto I came. It helped that I had an aunt in the city who generously agreed to put me up for the duration of my degree. (A decision I’m sure I gave her cause to regret, with my tendency to return home in the wee hours and my litre-a-week ice cream habit.) Once here, though, Toronto quickly became home. I have a job, an apartment and relationships here. Bombay, the city of my birth, is a place I haven’t called home in years. India, the country of my citizenship, holds no special place in my heart.

Until quite recently, it would have been relatively simple for me to stay. But changes to Canada’s immigration policies that took effect last year have made the path to becoming a permanent resident much more difficult for international students. It’s a sucker punch for the thousands of young people who have bought into Canada’s “nation of immigrants” tag line, who hope that their personal and financial commitment to this country will be recognized and rewarded. It makes little sense to court bright foreign talent to enrol in Canada’s universities, educate them and allow them to integrate, only to uproot them and send them away. But this isn’t just a sob story; it’s an economic issue.

The problem was caused by trying to solve another one. In January 2015, the previous Conservative government implemented a new permanent residency system, called Express Entry, to speed up processing times and prioritize economic immigration. Businesses would be able to hire foreigners with special, in-demand skills without replacing Canadian workers. As part of the overhaul, the government also took a separate program commonly used by international students to gain residency and lumped it in with the Express Entry process. Now, applicants like me are up against everyone else who wants to immigrate to this country.

I’m currently putting together an application for permanent residency. I’m collecting documents, consulting lawyers and comparing notes with friends who are doing the same. Come June, I’ll create a profile for myself in Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s online Express Entry database. Then I’ll wait to be chosen, either by Ontario or in one of the monthly draws from the Express Entry pool. Under the current system, my qualifications and skills are converted into points—the more I have, the better my chances. I score the maximum for being young and for my excellent English. My degree earns me a few more, but there are no extra points for earning it in Canada. Add it all up, and I have fewer than 450 points, the lowest the bar for entry has ever dropped. I’d get an extra 600 points if I qualified for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), a document showing my employer can’t find a Canadian to do my job. That’s a requirement engineers and software developers can often meet; journalists, not so much.

Look: Canada can probably do without me, personally. But I’m not the only young person facing this predicament, and losing potentially thousands of international students each year isn’t good for the country or its companies. According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education, 51% of international students plan to apply for permanent residency. We’re Canadian-educated, so our degrees and qualifications need no translation. We’re culturally integrated and linguistically compatible. We’ve paid hundreds of thousands into the public purse in the form of frankly ridiculous international tuition fees, and we have acclimatized to Canadian winters. We know that coffee is spelled “Tim Hortons” and that poutine is a superfood.

Consider the country’s demographics, too. “Canada has a shortage of talented 20-somethings in all areas,” says Mike Moffatt, an assistant professor in the Business, Economics and Public Policy group at Ivey Business School at Western University. “We need people who are going to be working for the next 30 to 40 years, paying into CPP [and] creating economic growth to allow the baby boomers to have the full pensions they’re expecting.” The demographics issue is particularly acute in mid-size cities like London and Windsor, Ont., which have trouble retaining young people and desperately need 20- and 30-somethings to start families and lift the local economy.

We’re also incredibly valuable to our employers. Vancouver tech startup Mobify has hired a number of international students. Some don’t meet the LMIA requirements because they work in non-technical fields. “But they’re highly valuable to us, because they’re already here and they have that knowledge and skill base,” says Tanya Kensington, the company’s senior director of people and culture. The spouse of one Mobify employee recently had to go back to school to allow the couple to stay in the country.

Ontario has its own program for international students with job offers, which allows applicants to potentially skip the LMIA requirement. But Toronto lawyer Stephen Green says employer approvals aren’t being processed fast enough. “If you go to the website, they say you get an answer in 90 days,” he says. “You don’t! So [they’re] giving out misinformation, and suddenly everyone’s freaking out. And we’re losing amazing people.” In any case, the allocation for that scheme fills out rapidly—Ontario stopped accepting most classes of applications on May 9 this year.

The new federal Liberal government seems to be aware of the issue. On March 14, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship John McCallum signalled that making it easier for international students to gain residency would be part of a broader review of the Express Entry system. “I believe international students are among the most fertile source of new immigrants for Canada,” he told reporters, saying he wanted federal-provincial talks on the matter. Ideally—from my own selfish perspective—that would mean a quota or a program specifically for international students. The government could also follow the advice of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, which recently recommended that applicants be awarded points for earning a Canadian post-secondary degree. Whatever form the changes take, the immigration lawyers I’ve spoken to—both as a journalist and as a client looking at my options—have suggested they are likely to come within a year.

In the meantime, it’s possible that I could obtain permanent residency under the current system, if the bar falls low enough. But for now, I’m filling out my forms, resigned to the fact that I may well have to book a plane ticket to Mumbai in the coming months. One-way.

Source: Why kicking me out of the country is bad for Canada’s economy

Express Entry: Food talent a hot commodity for immigration to Canada in 2015

The first report on Express Entry.

From a diversity and inclusion perspective, interesting that the mix has changed towards more ‘anglosphere’ immigrant countries (USA, UK, Ireland) among the top six, while Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Egypt were out of the top ten (Australia’s change to a comparable system resulted in a similar change, which may have been an unwritten objective):

Canada’s new economic immigration selection system has lived up to its “just-in-time” billing by processing most applications from start to finish within the government’s target of six months.

According to the one-year report card on the Express Entry system, 80 per cent of cases were processed within that time frame — from the day a complete application was received until a final decision was made by an immigration officer.

“Over 31,000 invitations to apply to permanent residence have been issued to a diverse range of highly skilled immigrants and almost 10,000 individuals (principal applicants and their family) have already landed in Canada as permanent residents,” said the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada review.

“Key findings indicate that professors were in the top 10 occupations list and that many international students fare well in Express Entry.”

Some 2,356 applicants invited to immigrate last year were “food service supervisors,” followed by 2,295 cooks. Together the two occupations accounted for 16 per cent of those who got a pass for permanent resident status in Canada.

Information systems analysts, software engineers, computer programmers and interactive media developers, university professors and lecturers, retail sales supervisors, graphic designers and illustrators, financial auditors and accountants, and financial investment analysts rounded up the top ten.

Under the Express Entry system, implemented in January 2015, each applicant completes a profile that is then added to a pool of candidates, where they are ranked against one another based on points awarded for personal attributes such as education, language skills and work experience.

A positive labour market impact assessment — a government certification that shows a candidate’s skills are in short supply in Canada — automatically boosts an applicant’s score by 600 points.

There were a total of 23 draws, each with a different cutoff ranging from a low of 450 points to a high of 886. As of this January, there were 60,042 profiles in the pool, with 22.5 per cent of them having a score between 400 and 449, and 36.4 per cent of a score between 350 and 399.

In 2015, 191,279 profiles were created in the pool, but 88,048 of them were removed because the applicant did not meet the criteria for any of the four economic immigration classes: provincial nominees, federal skilled workers, federal skilled trades and Canadian experience class.

Of the remaining candidates, only 31,000, or 30 per cent, received an invitation to immigrate here. Their top three destination provinces were Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia. Only eight cases were headed to Nunavut.

More than 78 per cent, or 22,111, of the successful candidates were already living in Canada when they applied — a sign of the advantage the new system awards those already working here, who have a positive labour market impact assessment in their line of work, or have graduated from a post-secondary program in Canada.

However, the number of French-speaking applicants is still small, representing just 1 per cent of all profiles in the pool and just 2 per cent of those invited to become permanent residents.

As in 2014, India, China and the Philippines remained the top three immigrant source countries, accounting for 41 per cent of successful candidates.

However, in 2015, people from the United Kingdom (5.8%), Ireland (4.3%) and United States (3.4%) also made the top six, while Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Egypt were bumped out of the top 10.

Source: Food talent a hot commodity for immigration to Canada in 2015 | Toronto Star

Canada’s tech startup sector wants easier access to hire top foreign talent

Yet some more expected tweaks to Express Entry:

After winning a big concession in the budget on taxing stock options, Canada’s tech startup sector is braced for its next battle: urging Ottawa to fix immigration rules that limit its ability to hire top foreign talent.

The Express Entry system brought in by the last government in 2015 “is fundamentally too rigid” and leaves employers waiting up to six months to discover if they can bring skilled foreign talent to Canada, said Tobi Lutke, CEO of Ottawa-based software firm Shopify Inc. “That puts us at a huge disadvantage for recruiting internationally.”

Under policy changes enacted by the Conservatives, employers now must validate a job offer by getting government approval for a “Labour Market Impact Assessment” – showing it couldn’t find Canadians to do the job. While that approach targeted abusers of the temporary foreign worker program, it meant fast-growing tech firms searching for the best employees globally had to submit to the same drawn-out process, only to be told in many cases by Ottawa that they should just hire a Canadian.

“It was a misguided approach,” said Sarah Anson-Cartwright, director of skills and immigration policy for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Immigration Minister John McCallum wasn’t available to comment. But a department spokesman said the government plans to review the Express Entry program “to see how it can be improved for potential immigrants such as top-level foreign executives. The review will include, likely among other things, the LMIA requirement.”

Tech startup leaders say the rules not only add delays but that the process lacks transparency and consistency, imposes needless bureaucracy and lacks an appeals process. In many cases, would-be recruits choose other offers rather than waiting. Foreign students awaiting government approval for their job offers sometimes must leave Canada when their study visas expire.

Six out of 10 employers surveyed by the Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC) last year said the immigration changes under the Tories had hindered their strategy planning and recruiting. One out of six opted to create the jobs abroad instead.

Curious to know the relative competitiveness of Canada vis-a-vis the US, given my understanding of the problems Silicon Valley has in hiring global talent.

Source: Canada’s tech startup sector wants easier access to hire top foreign talent – The Globe and Mail

Ottawa needs to build on recent immigration reforms

Michel Beine, Robin Boadway and Serge Coulombe, authors of the C.D. Howe Institute publication, Moving Parts: Immigration Policy, Internal Migration and Natural Resource Shocks, argue for a return to the human capital approach to immigration, as per the original policy rational behind IRPA in 2001:

Finally, the new permanent immigration policy prioritizes skills in demand. That preference may decrease the immigration of workers whose skills may be more important in the longer term. The government should address these potential negative consequences as it plans its reforms. Immigration Minister John McCallum recently said he will adjust the express-entry system to facilitate the entry of recent international graduates of Canadian universities into the permanent immigration system. This fixes one of the unintended consequences of the previous government’s reforms.

More consideration should be given to attract immigrants with skills the Canadian economy may need in future, while in less demand today. And the government should continue to promote economic opportunities for Canadian residents seeking employment in their own province or moving to other provinces in search of better opportunities. That could mean policies such as reforming EI to encourage workers to move where the jobs are, or introducing more competition in the airline market to ease travel within Canada.

Canada has historically had an immigration system driven by evidence, not political dogma. The new government should continue with that approach and build on its predecessor’s immigration reforms to help both existing Canadians and businesses that need workers.

Source: Ottawa needs to build on recent immigration reforms – The Globe and Mail

Ottawa looks to ease international students’ path to permanent residency

Appears that the government has heard these entreaties, as well as believing in the policy merits of encouraging a pathway to permanent residency and citizenship for students, with changes to Express Entry expected:

The Liberal government is moving to make it easier for international students to become permanent residents once they have graduated from Canadian postsecondary institutions.

Immigration Minister John McCallum said he intends to launch federal-provincial talks to reform the current Express Entry program, a computerized system that serves as a matchmaking service between employers and foreign skilled workers. Thousands of international students have been rejected for permanent residency because the program favours prospective skilled workers from abroad.

“We must do more to attract students to this country as permanent residents,” Mr. McCallum told reporters after meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts Monday. “International students have been shortchanged by the Express Entry system. They are the cream of the crop in terms of potential future Canadians and so I certainly would like to work with my provincial and territorial colleagues to improve that.”

Mr. McCallum said international students are ideal immigrants and should be recruited by Canada.

“I believe international students are among the most fertile source of new immigrants for Canada. By definition, they are educated. They speak English or French,” said the minister.

“They know something about the country, so they should be first on our list of people who we court to come to Canada,” he minister.

International students have been uncertain about whether they will be able to stay in Canada after they finish their studies since the former Conservative government introduced the Express Entry system on Jan. 1, 2015. Prior to that, they had a clear path to permanent residency.

To be able to apply for permanent residence under Express Entry, however, graduates have to reach a certain number of points, with levels changing from month to month. Those with the highest points in any given month are more likely to be successful.

Evan Green, a Toronto immigration lawyer who has helped international students apply for permanent residence, was cautious about the promise to adjust how applications are processed.

The government is projecting fewer economic applicants overall, and so international students may face more competition for the available spots.

“The target for 2015 was 181,300 in the economic class and this year it’s 160,600,” he said.

Still, a few simple adjustments could make it easier for international students to settle in Canada, he said. Giving graduates specific points for education and work experience in this country would be a start. That’s how the prior system worked.

“You had people who paid for their own education, had Canadian work experience, they’re pretty good immigrants,” he said. “They could adjust it so that work experience on your postgrad work permit could be worth more.”

Making the system easier to navigate is crucial to Canada’s economy and its universities, said Paul Davidson, the president of Universities Canada. International students contribute in excess of $10-billion in GDP to the economy, more than wheat and more than softwood lumber, he said.

“It’s a global competition,” he said. “Being able to offer a commitment that students can stay here after they graduate is part of the pitch Canadian universities make to attract top talent.”

Source: Ottawa looks to ease international students’ path to permanent residency – The Globe and Mail

Changing Immigrant Characteristics and Entry Earnings: StatCan Study

Key takeaway of this study: Canadian work experience makes the largest difference in short-term (less than 2 years) economic outcomes, and provides an evidence-base for policy changes that reward it (e.g., Express Entry points). In the longer-term, education and age are more significant (View):

Immigration selection policies changed significantly during the 1990s and 2000s, at least in part to improve immigrant entry earnings. After the decline in both relative (to the Canadian-born) and absolute entry earnings during the 1980s and early 1990s, there was a strong desire to improve the economic outcomes of immigrants shortly after their landing. Changes in selection policies and other factors altered immigrants’ characteristics across a number of dimensions, including demographics, source region, work experience and geographic distributions. This paper examines whether immigrants’ earnings immediately after their landing improved as a result of these changes and, if so, which characteristics contributed the most to this improvement.

Among all new immigrants, abstracting from economic cyclical variation, entry earnings—defined as earnings in the first two full years after landing—remained more or less constant throughout the 1990s and 2000s. The situation was very similar for principal applicants (PAs) in the economic class. During the 1990s, rising educational attainment at landing and the increasing share of immigrants in the economic class increased entry earnings. During the 2000s, a much more complex period in terms of immigrant selection, the factors that positively influenced immigrant entry earnings included changing distribution by immigration class, notably the rise of the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP); changing source region; and, for immigrant women, rising educational attainment at landing. These factors were offset by less favourable economic conditions in destination cities and regions in the late 2000s.

However, one factor dominated all others: the rise in the share of new immigrants who had Canadian work experience, often in high-paying jobs, prior to obtaining permanent residency. Changes in this factor tended to increase entry earnings during the 2000s far more than any other variable studied. The increase in pre-landing Canadian work experience accounted for most of the positive effect of the rise of the PNP on entry earnings during the 2000s, since the increase in work experience was heavily concentrated among provincial nominees. Furthermore, differences in pre-landing Canadian work experience between provincial nominees (with more Canadian work experience) and skilled workers (SWs) (with less) accounted for virtually all of the entry earnings advantage that the provincial nominees held over the SWs during the 2000s. While other factors, such as differences in geographic distribution (more settled in the West), educational attainment at landing, unemployment in the destination regions and cities, and source region, contributed, either in a small positive or negative manner, to the entry earnings differences between provincial nominees and SWs, their contribution paled in comparison with the pre-landing Canadian work experience factor. Once adjusted for differences in pre-landing Canadian work experience, entry earnings were virtually identical between provincial nominees and SWs. These conclusions were found for all new immigrants, as well as for PAs in the economic class, and were evident for both men and women.

It is likely that the pre-landing Canadian work experience variable used here captures at least three effects. First is the effect of Canadian work experience on earnings early in immigrants’ working life after landing. Employers appear to be more willing to remunerate such experience relative to foreign work experience. Second, this variable may also reflect a selection effect. When immigrants are selected from the pool of temporary foreign workers, they come with information regarding how well they performed in their jobs in Canada. If an employer seeks to change the status of temporary foreign workers to a permanent one, it is likely because they have done well in their jobs. Hence, much of the effect on entry earnings could be because of this selection process. Third, during the 2000s, many of the workers on temporary visas who attained permanent status worked in high-paying jobs.

Source: Changing Immigrant Characteristics and Entry Earnings

Express entry, foreign worker reforms attract ‘fewer’ skilled workers: chamber report

Express Entry Draws 2015.001Another item on Minister McCallum’s to do (or at least consider) list, passage below on Express Entry (the above chart shows the 23 rounds in 2015, and how the program has settled at around 1,500 invitations per draw, with a minimum score of about 40 percent of the total possible 1,200 points):

“The concept of attracting ‘the best and the brightest’ is missing in action,” says the new report, “as the competitive model of Express Entry is currently undermined by the protectionist policy embodied in the labour market impact assessment tool.”

As CBC reported in September, businesses say the labour market impact assessment (LMIA) — a new requirement borrowed from the newly reformed Temporary Foreign Worker Program — is the biggest flaw with Express Entry.

Under Canada’s new immigration system, highly-skilled foreign workers not only have to line up a job before applying to come to Canada but their job offer has to be backed by what the government calls a positive LMIA. That assessment is a document all employers now need to hire a foreign worker over a Canadian one.

The chamber calls the introduction of this new requirement a “misstep” that has made it “extremely challenging” for businesses to attract highly-skilled workers such as video game developers, top-flight researchers and workers in the trades.

Chamber calls for ‘sober, thoughtful review’

The 32-page report titled “Immigration for a Competitive Canada: Why Highly Skilled International Talent Is at Risk” lays out what Canadian businesses see as “missteps” with the immigration changes and offers 20 recommendations.

The recommendations include:

  • Removing the new requirement of a labour market impact assessment from the Express Entry system.

  • Tweak the points system under Express Entry to benefit high skilled workers applying under the International Mobility Program.

  • Reduce processing times for study permits and visas.

Source: Express entry, foreign worker reforms attract ‘fewer’ skilled workers: chamber report – Politics – CBC News

New rules make it ‘nearly impossible’ for employers to keep foreign graduates on staff

The Liberal government will likely look at this issue as part of reviewing the overall Express Entry point system, along additional points for family siblings and restoration of pre-Permanent Resident time credit:

When Jorge Amigo chose to come to Canada for university, he hadn’t expected to want to spend his life here.

“My decision to come here as a student had nothing to do with immigration,” says Mr. Amigo, 33, who’s from Mexico City. “But after living here for a few months, I realized I loved this place and I wanted to stay.”

Before Ottawa’s points-based Express Entry system was introduced on Jan. 1, international students with a year of Canadian skilled work experience were almost guaranteed to stay by getting permanent residency under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). But with the change, Mr. Amigo – who has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of British Columbia, an impressive post-graduate résumé and a job with a booming Vancouver-based tech company – fears he may have to leave when his work permit expires in June.

With the new system, it’s nearly impossible for most international student graduates such as Mr. Amigo to get permanent residency under Express Entry – unless their employers can prove that no Canadians can do the job, immigration lawyers say.

“Tens of thousands of students are now heartbroken, stressed and don’t know what to do with their lives because they were misled by the government,” says Vancouver immigration lawyer Zool Suleman. “Employers are looking to lose a group of well-educated students who would be a benefit to the labour market.”

The online system, intended to eliminate a massive backlog of immigration applications from outside of Canada, now makes students compete in a points-based system with everyone else trying to get permanent residency.

“They shouldn’t have included [the CEC] in the Express Entry system because there never was a backlog with it – they never even met their quotas,” says Matthew Jeffrey, an immigration lawyer in Toronto. “These are the ideal immigrants because they’re educated in Canada and they have skilled work experience in Canada and they usually still have that job – they hit the ground running.”

Under Express Entry, applicants get points for education, age, work experience and their skills in English and French. If an applicant’s points are over the minimum score set by the government, they’re invited in.

“The problem for people who came in as students is they can’t rank very highly in the pool,” Mr. Jeffery says, a Toronto immigration lawyer. “They’re young and they only have a year or two of work experience, so their score from the beginning is going to be low.”

Source: New rules make it ‘nearly impossible’ for employers to keep foreign graduates on staff – The Globe and Mail