Before Ottawa’s points-based Express Entry system was introduced earlier this year, international students with a year of Canadian skilled work experience were guaranteed a pathway to permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). However, under Express Entry it is now nearly impossible for most international student graduates to become permanent residents unless their employers can prove that no Canadians are available for the position.
The Express Entry system requires students to compete under the points-based system with everyone in the express entry pool. Applicants receive points for a number of factors including education, age, work experience and language abilities in english and french. Applicants who reach the minimum score under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) set by government will receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence. Students with only a few years of experience in the pool cannot score sufficiently high to receive an invitation to apply.
There are two options for applicants to secure the additional 600 bonus points – which would essentially guarantee an invitation. They either need a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) confirming their approved hiring by an employer in Canada or they must receive nomination from a province or territory.
The [LMIA] requirement was intended to curtail the rampant abuse by Canadian employers in many industries of using low-skilled workers to replace Canadians. Instead the unintended effect is that it is now much harder for Canadian companies who face legitimate shortages to hire foreign workers.
Additionally employers must pay a $1,000 application fee and post the job for at least 30 days to prove that no Canadians are available. Employers must also be willing to provide access to government of their personnel records proving that they have a transition plan to hire Canadians in the future. This is especially difficult for small businesses.
The other option is for an employer to pursue provincial or territorial nomination. However PNP programs are quota based and the selection criteria is not transparent, as immigration authorities in the provinces may pick and choose individual candidates.
During the election, the new Liberal promised to “make changes to the Canadian Experience Class to reduce the barriers to immigration that have been imposed on international students. It remains to be seen when and how this will take place.
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