Post-coronavirus recovery starts with immigrants and international students
International students and new immigrants will be critical in Canada’s economic recovery that has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Institutions across the country, who regularly make a difference in their local communities, are best placed to train newcomers and Canadians to integrate into the labour market, a paper by Colleges and Institutes Canada suggests.
The pandemic has affected travel worldwide, and Canada is no exception. In March 2020, Canada introduced travel restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. Despite this, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) continued to process applications for permanent residence. Regular Express Entry draws were also held. This is because Canada needed to continue attracting eligible highly-skilled individuals to make the journey to the Great White North, as they prepare for economic recovery.
In addition, international students are exempt from these travel restrictions. New students are also able to apply for and obtain study permits. Canada recognizes the importance of international students to its future workforce.
Canadian employers and small businesses will benefit greatly from safely reopening our borders to new immigrants and international students. This will help in addressing their labour needs.
This need for immigration is not new. Prior to the pandemic, Canada still aimed to welcome increasing numbers of new immigrants every year, and employers and industry leaders have called for more effective immigration programs. This is because Canada has an aging population creating labour shortages. The pandemic only amplified the need for new talent.
The majority of labour shortages are for occupations that require at least a college diploma or an apprenticeship, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). The CFIB also suggested that small businesses often rely on immigrants and temporary workers to succeed.
Newcomers will have access to short-term programs and ‘micro-credentials’ that will help them quickly integrate in the labour market by updating their skills. Canadian citizens may also enrol in these training options. These options help newcomers to develop the skills necessary to get jobs.
Options to immigrate to Canada for skilled workers
People with skilled work experience have many options to choose from when immigrating to Canada. According to the latest Immigration Levels Plan for 2021-2023, Canada aims to welcome over 400,000 new permanent residents every year. Around 60 per cent will immigrate as skilled workers.
The main way for skilled workers to immigrate to Canada is through the three main economic class immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). These programs are managed by the Canadian federal government’s main application management system called Express Entry.
Those who are eligible for the Express Entry system can create a profile and enter their details. Based on the information provided, candidates are given a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. The highest-ranking candidates are invited to apply for permanent residence in regular Express Entry draws.
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