Canada is having trouble recruiting and retaining skilled workers and the Information Communication Technology industry is feeling it more than most.
While the new Liberal government conducts a review of all of Canada’s immigration policies, the ICT sector is struggling to fill 100,000 positions, according to the Information and Communications Technology Council.
The government review is looking at ways of making it easier for employers to recruit under the Express Entry system, while at the same time making the process of getting a visa quicker for international students who graduate from Canadian universities.
A streamlining of the whole process is promised but in the meantime businesses are struggling.
Currently, start-ups are particularly finding it more difficult to recruit the talent they need for business growth.
ICT industry experts such as SOTI CEO Carl Rodrigues are fed up of seeing talent leave for America because Canada cannot compete with the salaries and perks being offered in Silicon Valley.
Simply retaining the students who are already here would be a good way to start. Of the more than 300,000 international students currently in the country, half have plans to seek permanent residency. But that process can often be long-winded, with reports suggesting that, even with a job offer, it can take up to two years via the Express Entry system. If a visa and job is available in another country sooner, why wouldn’t a candidate take it?
It is understood the government wants to streamline this by tweaking Express Entry, giving better weighting to international students and less to the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which could be eliminated completely.
Recently published data shows that newcomers to Canada are significantly more likely to start their own companies.
Released in March 2016 and entitled Immigration, Business Ownership and Employment in Canada, the new study concludes that ‘rates of private business ownership and unincorporated self-employment are higher among immigrants than among the Canadian-born population’. The study uses data from the new Canadian Employer-Employee Dynamics Database, which you can access here.
In a world where technology and ideas are evolving faster than ever before, immigration policies are struggling to keep pace with the changes in the requirements of the human capital marketplace. Canadian companies need to be able to recruit and retain high quality staff, or at least not have barriers put in their way by government immigration policies.
Without a constant process of reviewing, tweaking and overhauling policy, Canada will only fall further behind the international competition.
Canada’s immigration authorities are currently reviewing all of the current federal immigration streams. The changes being considered include:
- Re-designing the Temporary Foreign Workers Program to meet the needs of employers while protecting the Canadian labour market.
- Re-designing Express Entry to be more fluid and more flexible.
- Eliminating the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) requirement for businesses that wish to hire candidates using Express Entry that are currently working in Canada under the International Mobility Program.
- Revising the assessment process for international students working under the Post-Graduate Work Program (PGWP), to qualify under Express Entry.
- Improving the Caregivers Program by:
a) Reducing processing delays
b) regulating businesses that deploy caregivers.
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