Canadian Immigration Minister Chris Alexander uses the analogy of a dating site when speaking about his government’s new immigration system, wherein skilled workers will be matched to vacant jobs.
The new “expression of interest” system is currently in construction ahead of its scheduled launch in 2015. It will be a complete departure from Canada’s previous “first come, first served” skilled immigration system of the past, according to officials.
Applicants seeking to immigrate to Canada would first be required to complete a questionnaire regarding their work experience, education, language and other relevant characteristics. That information would then go into a national database that could be accessed by both provincial and federal governments, as well as employers.
Employers would take on a much more proactive role in the immigration process, as it would become their responsibility to screen, interview and select candidates. Only those selected to fill vacancies would be granted permanent residency.
“We are moving from defence to offence,” said Minister Alexander. “We’re moving from a passive system to a proactive system. We’re moving from a system based on processing whatever applications showed up, to a system focused on recruitment of the people that we know we need.”
The new system is expected to shorten processing times from two years to around six months. However, employers say that even six months is much too long for a system aiming to address their needs. A similar system in place in Australia currently processes applications in about 60 days.
The new expression of interest program will affect all applicants who would formerly apply under the Provincial Nominee programs, the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Skilled Trade Class, Canadian Experience Class and Business Class.