New Canadian immigration programme edges nearer

On Wednesday, Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) immigration ministers reiterated their commitment to actively recruit economic immigrants that have the skills the Canadian economy needs most.

Canadian passportCanada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander and Alberta’s Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk co-chaired a meeting of FPT ministers responsible for immigration, and economic immigration was a top priority for all ministers around the table.

The ministers agreed to continue collaborating on building the new active recruitment model which is known as the Expression of Interest(or EoI) system – a similar system to that already used in Australian and New Zealand. It is intended to transform Canada’s immigration system into one that is more responsive to labour market needs.

EoI will provide governments and Canadian employers access to skilled foreign workers and expedite their entry into Canada for jobs that aren’t being filled by people already in Canada. Ministers agreed to engage jointly and intensively with employers on EOI prior to the new system launch in January 2015.

“The Government of Canada’s number one priority remains economic growth and job creation,” explained Minister Alexander. “Immigration plays a key role in Canada’s long-term prosperity and we are committed to seeing newcomers succeed across the country. With our provincial and territorial partners, we look forward to launching the Expression of Interest system together next year.”

When it’s introduced, the EoI system will complement the Provincial Nominee Programme which will continue to be a key mechanism to allow provinces, territories, and employers to meet regional labour market needs. Almost 41,000 provincial nominees (including their spouses and dependants) were admitted to Canada through the PNP in 2012, up from approximately 13,500 in 2006.

“Immigration, and selection through Provincial Nominee Programs, plays an important role in building Canada’s permanent workforce and in addressing labour shortages and skill gaps across the country,” said Lukaszuk. “Provinces and territories will continue to work with the federal government towards developing an Expression of Interest immigration system that is responsive to our regional labour market needs.”

Canadian Immigration

The immigration ministers also endorsed a plan to improve settlement outcomes for newcomers across Canada. It includes improved pre-arrival services, foreign qualification recognition, language learning for newcomers who are not in the workforce and ways to encourage newcomers to become more connected to their communities.

The ministers also reviewed progress to date on the FPT Vision Action Plan, reiterating the continuing need to align immigration levels with economic demand, build a fast, flexible economic immigration system focused primarily on meeting labour market needs across Canada, and improve social and economic settlement and integration outcomes for newcomers to Canada.

Under the Canada-Québec Accord relating to immigration and temporary admission of foreign nationals, Québec fully assumes sole responsibility for establishing immigration levels, and for the selection, francisation and integration of immigrants. In areas under its responsibility, Québec develops its policies and programs, legislates, regulates and sets its own standards. Québec is an observer at FPT meetings.

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