More than 20,000 people are arriving in Canada better prepared for the labour market since the introduction of the Canadian Immigrant Integration Programme, it has been announced. The programme allows immigrants with federal skilled worker visas and provincial nominees to benefit from advice before they even leave their home country.

It has been funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) since 2010 and is managed by the Association of Community Colleges (ACCC) and has offices in the Philippines, China, India, and the UK.  ‘Our government is committed to helping newcomers succeed. By giving immigrants a better understanding of what to expect before they arrive in Canada, we can help ensure they can more quickly contribute fully to Canada’s economic growth and long-term prosperity,’ said Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism.

A recent evaluation found that 91% of participants strongly thought that CIIP services were useful and 99% said it had improved their understanding of how to find suitable work in Canada. ‘This programme eliminates the guess work for new immigrants by equipping them with essential information and tools needed to live, find work and establish ties in Canada,’ said ACCC president James Knight. ‘Employers who are trying to address increasing demand for skilled workers also benefit,’ he added.

The orientation session focuses on credential recognition, the labour market and basic settlement information and provides one on one counselling sessions so that participants develop a personal action plan. ‘Coming to CIIP was the best decision I have ever made. Though I totally believed in my choice to go to Canada, getting there and knowing what to do was better laid out to me by CIIP,’ said Patricia Soyao, a 28 year old nurse from the Philippines and the 20,000th graduate of the programme who will arrive in Canada in April.
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Immigrants receive referrals to colleges or organisations serving newcomers in the province of destination, as well as information on labour market and settlement support while still in their home countries. They also receive referrals to employers and regulatory bodies in their field and it is worth noting that since 2010, CIC has invested $15 million in the Canadian Immigrant Integration Programme.