Citizenship and immigration minister Chris Alexander says Canadian employers should use the Express Entry program to fill jobs for which no suitable local candidates have been found, and that they should include Express Entry in their HR strategies.
The Express Entry Program is Canada’s new immigration system that provides highly skilled immigrants an accelerated path to permanent Canadian residency.
Alexander also pointed out that through Express Entry, employers would be able to get a “higher calibre of immigrant” even if it means going through the tedious process of getting a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which is required to prove to the authorities that no Canadian citizen was available for the job.
The Express Entry immigration system was launched by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) in January, and accepts online applications from candidates who are ranked on the basis of points achieved in areas like education, age, work experience, and language skills.
The highest ranking candidates qualify under one of the federal economic immigration programs and are sent invitations to apply for permanent residence by CIC. About 11,000 such invitations have been sent out since Express Entry’s launch in January.
The CIC claims that in 80% cases, it will take a maximum of six months to process applications for permanent residence under the new system, compared to traditional permanent residence applications which take 12-14 months to process. It is estimated that most skilled immigrants will enter Canada through Express Entry by the year 2017.
However, the Express Entry program has been criticised for reducing the prospects of foreign students studying in Canada. The new system does not give sufficient credit for their Canadian qualifications and work experience, forcing them to obtain a LMIA in order to get selected under the Express Entry pool. The LMIA almost guarantees a candidate’s selection for an invitation to apply since it is worth 600 points – half the maximum of 1,200 points.