Beginning January 2015, skilled applicants with the right educational qualifications, experience, skills, and abilities need not wait for years to immigrate to Canada. The Canadian government is set to launch a new Express Entry immigration system that is designed to attract skilled immigrants to the country. The new system is expected to reduce the immigration waiting period to just a few months. Linked to the employment requirements of business and companies in Canada, the system will facilitate faster immigration of individuals with experience in senior management positions and exposure to international markets.
The Express Entry immigration system is designed on the lines of Australia’s Skill Select and the point-based system currently operating in New Zealand. Canada’s Immigration and Citizenship Minister explained that the new system will focus on active recruitment as opposed to the passive processing approach of the earlier system. The Express Entry system, according to the Minister, moved away from a first-come first-served approach and was designed to cater to the demand for professionals in Canada.
Speaking at a HR conference, the Minister admitted that the existing system had become outdated and archaic. Describing the new system as a game changer, the Minister said that the mechanical and robotic way of accepting applications will be replaced by a system where, as in Australia and New Zealand, skilled immigrants will be identified on the basis of defined selection criteria and invited to immigrate to Canada. The Express Entry system incorporates the “Expression of Interest model” that is currently in use in many other countries. The new system is expected to significantly reduce the duration of the immigration process for skilled economic and business immigrants. Under the new system, the processing of papers is expected to be completed within a period of just six months
The Express Entry system will allow applicants to submit an Expression of Interest indicating their personal and professional details along with their resume. The information will be saved in a Canadian government database. A Canadian employer, upon providing adequate proof of non-availability of Canadians for a particular job and submission of a labor market impact assessment for the same, can access the Citizenship and Immigration Canada database for selection of suitable foreign candidates. Canadian businesses and companies will be permitted to invite and offer jobs to skilled immigrants from all over the world. Further, the system is designed to give priority to immigrants with job offers from Canadian enterprises and firms with respect to invitations for permanent residence in Canada. The new system is expected to cover all existing programs for skilled immigrants including programs for skilled workers, skilled trades, and the Canadian experience program.
An important feature of the new system is that applicants who were not selected by Canadian firms to apply for jobs will be, after a period of time, removed from the Citizenship and Immigration Canada database. This feature, included to ensure Canadian firms and companies get access to most suitable skilled candidates at all times, makes no distinction between early applicants and those who applied later.
A CIC study indicated that new immigrants were uncertain about the effectiveness of the proposed system with a majority opining that the Canadian government should accord priority to providing suitable employment to skilled immigrants already living in Canada. Immigration experts were waiting for the government to provide details about the functioning of the Express Entry system after its rollout.
The Express Entry system is being viewed with a lot of interest in countries like India where a large number of skilled workers are interested in moving to Canada. More than 33,000 Indians immigrated to Canada in 2013 with more than half shifting to Canada for economic or business purposes. Provinces like British Columbia have a large Indian population and such provinces are the preferred destinations for new immigrants. Other provinces like Vancouver are seeking to attract skilled immigrants possessing experience and knowledge in the field of technology.