From 2014, under Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker programme, those seeking permanent residency will first file an “Expression of Interest” on a dedicated web page, advertising their skills and qualifications. Employers can then select from the pool of candidates and invite them to submit a full job application.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada believes the system will eliminate application backlogs that have become synonymous with the country’s immigration department while still accepting qualified applicants.
“This is the future as opposed to the past, where we would tell people to apply, to get in the back of an eight-year-long queue”
Speaking with The Globe and Mail, Immigration Minister Jason Kenny said: “This is the future as opposed to the past, where we would tell people to apply, to get in the back of an eight-year-long queue, [but] never assess whether their overseas education was relevant to the Canadian system, eventually bring them to Canada and drop them in the middle of the labour market, typically one of the three biggest cities, to sink or swim,” he said.
The International Language Academy of Canada (ILAC), one of the country’s top English language schools, says the reform will benefit Canada’s international education sector.
“Students who complete English language training and higher education in Canada are ideal candidates for the proposed programme, since they have already passed the most difficult part of the screening process: adapting to a new culture,” Bogumila Lapinski Anaya, head of public relations and communications told The PIE News.
ILAC channels about 700 international students a year to post-secondary institutions through its university pathway programme. “Many of our students hope to find work and perhaps even immigrate to Canada after graduation and an online job matching service will help qualified candidates connect with legitimate employers.”
However, Jennifer Humphries, vice-president of the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) questions how effective the programme will be, given the Provincial Nominee Program already does a similar job in provinces.
“Canada has done this before. We’ve always looked at what are our needs, but now it’s maybe a more explicit match-making set up,” she told The PIE News. “Whether it will have that much impact on students though I’m not sure, because there are other measures that are really opening the door for students.”
Canada is trying to improve its immigration system to attract more foreign students. The government said last month that it would grant permanent residency to 10,000 skilled foreign graduates and workers this year, up from 7,000 in 2012. Educators recruiting overseas will also be required to register with the federal government if new proposals to protect students are actioned in February.