Ahead of launching the express entry immigration program on January 1st 2015, the federal government has been consulting with a nine-member group that represents some of Canada’s biggest employers. Two of these members have expressed concerns over the new system and say that they will ‘wait and watch’ how it will unfold.
According to the Canada Gazette, the nine-member group was formed in 2013 to provide the government with information and feedback on the development of the new express entry system. The nine member group consists of the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, the Canadian Construction Association, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Information and Communication Technology Council, Canadian Restaurants and Food Services Association, The Immigrant Employment Council of B.C., Irving Shipbuilding, Oil Sands producer Syncrude Canada, and Hylife Ltd.
The new express entry system allows skilled immigrants to apply online for jobs in 50 occupations after which they will be matched based on “scores that reflect their human capital and ability to succeed in the Canadian economy”. The best-matched candidates with the highest rankings will then be allowed to apply for permanent residency in Canada. The entire application process will be strictly online, though paper applications will be accepted from people with disabilities. All applications will be processed within six months.
It has been estimated that in 2015 about 260,000 to 285,000 new permanent residents will arrive in Canada under this system, and that the online application system will cost the government $6.7 million over a period of ten years.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce showed its support for the new system, saying that it helps filling up vacancies for which there are no Canadian applicants.
However, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) does not seem too happy with the changes. Their main concern is over tightening of rules for the temporary foreign workers. “That is our criticism of the express entry system, that it still prohibits lower-skilled workers from coming to Canada and taking the jobs that are going begging in our economy. Decades ago, when many of our ancestors came to Canada, they didn’t come to Canada to take jobs in a lab. They came to work on a farm,” said Dan Kelly, CEO of CFIB.
The CFIB, which represents 109,000 small businesses, is also unsure about how the system will work. While employers have been briefed about the new online system by the government, it still remains to be seen how efficient the matching of skilled workers with vacancies is going to be. “The reality is, until we actually have employers experiencing the process, we don’t really know — and neither does the government — how well it will work,” says Anson-Cartwright of CFIB.
The apprehension stems from the fact that employers are not allowed the same “privileged access” to the online system that the local governments have. The employers have to simply rely on the government to provide them with suitable matches as they cannot themselves search the express entry pool. “You’d rather see more detail and have a chance to make your own assessment, rather than waiting on individuals to pop up through virtue of how they’ve designed the job system,” says Anson-Cartwright.
Source: cbc.ca News
Canada must recognize the potential economic advantage that immigrants bring if it wishes to remain globally competitive, according to one of the country’s top economists.
In a recent piece for the Globe and Mail, Royal Bank of Canada chief executive officer Gordon Nixon, calls for more efforts to tap into under-utilized immigrant skills. He points to a recent RBC study which found that if newcomers earned equal wages to their Canadian-born counterparts, personal income in Canada would increase by $31 billion.
Nixon first calls out employers, saying that more needs to be done to promote diversity in the workplace and embrace international experience.
“A work force with global experience is a competitive advantage,” argues Nixon, who is also chair of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council. “International experience is an asset to business. Too often, we hear that newcomers with no Canadian experience would be hard to fit into the Canadian work force. In truth, international experiences relate directly to the modern Canadian context.”
Secondly, states Nixon, governments need to continue the work that they are doing with other levels of government, as well as stakeholders in the community. More funding should go toward skills assessment and training, as well as community support services and cultural activities.
Immigration has helped make Canada the country it is today. We must not forget that part of our heritage if we wish to continue to contribute and compete in the interdependent global marketplace.
“The lesson of our history is clear and points the way to future economic prosperity and success: Canada has relied on diversity and immigration to build a prosperous economy and will continue to do so in the years ahead. We are good at it, but we need to get better to maintain that competitive edge.”
Source: Globe and Mail