The very first draw on January 31, 2015 required a high score of 886 out of 1200 to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) was a little shocking. The actual number of candidates invited was 779. The very first question I received during discussions with clients was “You mean 779 in BC? Canada?” to which I answered “I don’t think so. It’s open to everyone globally interested in submitting their application for immigration.”
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced its first picks for Skilled Worker Express Entry this past weekend. The folks who received an Invitation to Apply (ITA) have the “golden ticket” to proceed with their permanent resident (PR) application to Canada. They must complete the rest of their submission online within 60 days to receive permanent status in Canada.
This first group of applicants are gave us a glimpse of the direction of how the immigration priorities will be. As with every new government policy/program, the practicalities will still take some time to unfold. There still isn’t a lot of information available and (hopefully) there will be adjustments to be made to the selection emphasis.
Only very narrow definitions of job offer and eligibility are being considered by CIC right now. There is no mechanism for those who don’t have a validated job offer to immigrate to Canada.
Your employees can’t do this alone.
Many industries with highly qualified talent will be caught off guard as they did not see this coming. There are lots of foreign workers who have qualified for work permits through various international agreements such as NAFTA or working holiday programs who will not qualify or receive an ITA. Despite the popularity of Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Express Entry does not appear to recognize everyone with work experience gained in Canada. In the past, programs like CEC made it possible for foreign workers to qualify for PR as long as they were performing skilled work. Although the CEC still currently exists under Skilled Immigration, these individuals will not be able to immigrate without employer assistance. While they could have applied on their own prior to Express Entry, these applicants will now need their employers to support a PNP or LMIA on their behalf.
Temporary leads to permanent
Perhaps the next draw and the future ones will be adjusted to account for those who currently possess different kinds of valid temporary work permits. Otherwise, there will be quite a bit of fallout. The re-recruitment efforts, loss of talent and potential backlash from specialized industries will require more examination. If those who are currently contributing to the Canadian economy already aren’t eligible, how will Canada continue to position itself as a destination for mobile talent? As a country that needs knowledge workers, we will lose the very jobs we are trying to create in the economy.
The ITA pool will be constantly refreshed and continually updated with new applicants and (hopefully) the policy makers will be looking at practical considerations from different angles. Our economy needs skilled labour for employers – whether they are temporary or permanent to start. While permanent jobs is the ultimate goal, the smaller initial step of hiring on a temporary basis is the stepping stone for Canadian employers to start.