Job creation for people moving to Canada is a top priority along with retaining the best international talent to fill skills shortages in key occupations, according to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.
‘Our top priorities are job creation, economic growth and long term prosperity. Attracting and retaining the best international talent to fill skills shortages in key occupations is critical to Canada’s economic success. Our regulatory partners are vital to ensuring newcomers can start working in their fields faster,’ he told the Canadian Network of National Associations of Regulators Conference.
He said that the government has worked with provincial and territorial governments, and the regulatory community to improve foreign credential recognition. In 2010, service standards were established allowing internationally trained professionals in eight priority occupations to have their qualifications assessed within one year, anywhere in Canada. The government is currently improving foreign qualification recognition for six more target occupations.
Earlier this year Kenney and Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, launched a three year pilot project that will develop and test innovative projects to provide financial assistance, commonly known as micro-loans, to internationally trained professionals.
Kenney also announced a proposed new requirement whereby applicants wanting to immigrate as Federal Skilled Workers will have their foreign education credentials assessed and verified by designated organizations before they arrive in Canada. This is an important step to address the problem of immigrants arriving and not being able to work in their field.
‘Our improvements will help immigrants position themselves to succeed in our economy. We will continue to work with regulators to improve the process for assessing and recognizing newcomers’ qualifications for licensure in their professions soon after they arrive in Canada. Working together, we can speed up the integration of newcomers into the Canadian labour market,’ Kenney said.
According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)’s 2012 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration, CIC plans to admit a total of 240,000 to 265,000 new permanent residents in 2013, for the seventh straight year. This represents the highest sustained level of immigration in Canadian history.
In particular, the 2013 Immigration Levels Plan makes room for the rapid growth in the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). The CEC, which was created in 2008, facilitates the transition from temporary to permanent residence for those with high skilled work experience in Canada, including international students and temporary foreign workers.
Admissions under the CEC have increased from about 2,500 people in 2009 to more than 6,000 in 2011, with more expected this year than ever before. In 2013, CIC intends to accept a record high of up to 10,000 permanent residents through this popular programme.
‘Immigration plays a vital role in our country’s long term prosperity. Our 2013 Immigration Plan will build on our economic success by bringing in more of the world’s top talent who already have a successful track record in Canada,’ explained Kenney.