The shortage of optometrists in Canada is forecast to last for at least nine more years despite record levels of immigration to the country, providing many Canada job opportunities for foreign nationals to gain their permanent residence under occupation-targeted Express Entry draws.
The Job Bank job-hunting and career-planning website forecasts that even with new graduates and immigrants entering the field at current levels there will be 700 jobs that will go begging for a want of qualified candidates to do the work.
“For optometrists, chiropractors and other health diagnosing and treating positions, over the period 2022 – 2031, new job openings arising from expansion demand and replacement demand are expected to total 17,900,” notes Job Bank.
“The labour shortage conditions seen in recent years is expected to persist into the 2022 – 2031 period.”
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced earlier this year that Canada’s Express Entry system will begin targeting 82 jobs in healthcare, technology, trades, transport and agriculture this summer – including optometrists.
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The flagship Express Entry selection system has previously only conducted draws based on immigration programs, not by targeting specific occupations.
Under the changes announced at the end of May, the Express Entry streams, including the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program, Federal Skilled Trades (FST) program and Canadian Experience Class (CEC), as well as parts of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) will now be more responsive to labour market needs.
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Immigration Minister Sean Fraser is hoping that opening up the Express Entry system to these occupation-targeted draws will help alleviate Canada’s labour shortages.
“Everywhere I go, I’ve heard loud and clear from employers across the country who are experiencing chronic labour shortages,” said Fraser.
“These changes to the Express Entry system will ensure that they have the skilled workers they need to grow and succeed. We can also grow our economy and help businesses with labour shortages while also increasing the number of French-proficient candidates to help ensure the vitality of French-speaking communities.”
700 Optometrist Jobs Are Expected To Go Begging For A Want Of Workers In The Next Nine Years
Job Bank, the federal job-hunting and career-planning website, is already ranking the job prospects for optometrists as “very good”, its highest rating, throughout the country over the next three years.
Foreign nationals seeking to get their permanent residence through an occupation-targeted Express Entry draw will need at least six months of continuous work experience in Canada or abroad within the past three years in one of these occupations to be eligible.
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The opportunities are certainly there for optometrists, categorized under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 system with the code 31111.
The Indeed.ca job-hunting website had 592 job postings for optometrists in late July, with some of those job postings being for multiple positions.
Optometrists In Canada Can Earn A Median Annual Income Of Up To $167,858
In Canada, the median annual wage for optometrists is $86,115 but that varies from a low of $27,446 right up to $167,858, reveals Job Bank.
Canada first signalled its intention to start occupation-specific draws through Express Entry in June last year, when changes were made to the Immigration, Refugee and Protection Act to allow invitations based on occupations and other attributes, such as language ability.
The majority of Canada’s provinces have been issuing occupation-specific invitations for several years.
Under the changes to the act, the immigration minister is required to consult provinces and territories, members of industry, unions, employers, workers, worker advocacy groups, settlement provider organizations, and immigration researchers and practitioners, before announcing new categories.
IRCC must also report to parliament each year on the categories that were chosen and the reason for the choices.
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) says the number of occupations facing shortages doubled between 2019 and 2021. From 2018 to 2022, federal high skilled admissions accounted for between 34 and 40 per cent of overall French-speaking admissions outside Quebec, which manages its own immigration intake.
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