Express Entry – How It Works and the Ranking System

Express Entry will manage applications for permanent residence under these federal economic immigration programs:

Provinces and territories will also be able to recruit candidates from the Express Entry system through their Provincial Nominee Programs to meet local labour market needs.

Ministerial Instructions set out the rules for governing the Express Entry application management system.

The Express Entry system has two steps:

Step 1) Potential candidates complete an online Express Entry profile

Potential candidates will complete an online Express Entry profile. This is a secure form that they will use to provide information about their:

  • skills,
  • work experience,
  • language ability,
  • education, and
  • other details that will help us assess them.

Those who meet the criteria of one of the federal immigration programs listed above will be accepted into a pool of candidates.

Anyone who does not already have a job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) (if you need one), or a nomination from a province or territory, must register with Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC) Job Bank. Job Bank will help connect Express Entry candidates with eligible employers in Canada.

Candidates are also encouraged to promote themselves to employers in other ways, such as using job boards, recruiters etc.

In most cases when there is a job being offered to a candidate, employers will need an LMIA from ESDC. The LMIA process ensures employers have made an effort to hire Canadians for available jobs. There will be no LMIA fee for permanent resident applications.

Step 2) The highest-ranking candidates in the pool will be invited to apply for permanent residence

Candidates will be ranked against others in the pool using a point-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System. Points are awarded using the information in their profile.

Candidates with the highest scores in the pool will be issued an Invitation to Apply. Candidates will be awarded points for:

  • a job offer, and/or
  • a nomination from a province or territory, and/or
  • skills and experience factors.

A candidate can get additional points for:

  • a job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment, or
  • a nomination by a province or territory

These additional points will make a candidate rank high enough to be invited to apply at the next eligible draw of candidates.

If someone is invited to apply, they will have 60 days to submit an online application for permanent residence.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada will process the majority of complete applications (meaning those with all the necessary supporting documents) in six months or less.

Candidates can stay in the pool for up to 12 months. If they do not get an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence within 12 months of submitting an Express Entry profile, they may submit a new profile. If they still meet the criteria, they can re-enter the pool. This will prevent backlogs and ensure quick processing times.

Express Entry – Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) criteria

A) Summary of points per factor for Express Entry candidates
A. Core / human capital factors Points per factor – With a spouse or common-law partner Points per factor – Without a spouse or common-law partner
Age 100 110
Level of education 140 150
Official languages proficiency 150 160
Canadian work experience 70 80
B) Summary of points per factor for Express Entry candidates
B. Spouse or common-law partner factors Maximum 40 points
Level of education 10
Official language proficiency 20
Canadian Work Experience 10
A. Core/human capital + B. Spouse or common-law partner factors Maximum 500 points (with a spouse or common-law partner) Maximum 500 points (without a spouse or common-law partner)
C) Summary of points per factor for Express Entry candidates
C. Skill Transferability factors Maximum 100 points
Education Maximum 50 points
With good/strong official languages proficiency and a post-secondary degree 50
With Canadian work experience and a post-secondary degree 50
Foreign work experience Maximum 50 points
With good/strong official languages proficiency and foreign work experience 50
With Canadian work experience and foreign work experience 50
Certificate of qualification (for people in trade occupations) Maximum 50 points
With good/strong official languages proficiency and a certificate of qualification 50
A. Core/human capital + B. Spouse or common-law partner + C. Transferability factors Maximum 600 points
D) Summary of points per factor for Express Entry candidates
D. Additional points (maximum 600)
Arranged employment 600
PN nomination 600
A. Core/human capital + B. Spouse or common-law partner factors + C. Transferability factors + D. = Grand total – 1,200

CRS – Core factors

Core / human capital factors With a spouse or common-law partner (Maximum 460 points) Without a spouse or common-law partner (Maximum 500 points)
Age Number of points (100 maximum) Number of points (110 maximum)
17 years of age or less 0 0
18 years of age 90 99
19 years of age 95 105
20 to 29 years of age 100 110
30 years of age 95 105
31 years of age 90 99
32 years of age 85 94
33 years of age 80 88
34 years of age 75 83
35 years of age 70 77
36 years of age 65 72
37 years of age 60 66
38 years of age 55 61
39 years of age 50 55
40 years of age 45 50
41 years of age 35 39
42 years of age 25 28
43 years of age 15 17
44 years of age 5 6
45 years of age or more 0 0
Level of Education With a spouse or common-law partner – Number of points (140 maximum) Without a spouse or common-law partner – Number of points (150 maximum)
Less than Secondary school (high school) credential 0 0
Secondary school (high school) credential 28 30
One-year post-secondary program credential 84 90
Two-year post-secondary program credential 91 98
Post-secondary program credential of three years or longer 112 120
Two or more post-secondary program credentials AND at least one of these credentials was issued on completion of a post-secondary program of three years or longer 119 128
University-level credential at the Master’s level OR an entry-to-practice professional degree. CIC only accepts as an entry-to-practice professional degree, those degrees issued in relation to an occupation listed at NOC Skill level A and for which licensing by a provincial regulatory body is required. 126 135
University-level credential at the Doctoral level 140 150
Official languages proficiency – first official language
Reading, writing, speaking and listening total points for each ability:

  • 32 with a spouse or common-law partner
  • 34 without a spouse or common-law partner
With a spouse or common-law partnerMaximum 128 points Without a spouse or common-law partner Maximum 136 points
For each ability 32 34
Less than CLB 4 0 0
CLB 4 or 5 6 6
CLB 6 8 9
CLB 7 16 17
CLB 8 22 23
CLB 9 29 31
CLB 10 or more 32 34
Official languages proficiency – second official language
Reading, writing, speaking and listening total points for each ability:

  • 5.5 with a spouse or common-law partner
  • 6 without a spouse or common-law partner
With a spouse or common-law partnerMaximum 22 points Without a spouse or common-law partner Maximum 24 points
For each ability 6 6
CLB 4 or less 0 0
CLB 5 or 6 1 1
CLB 7 or 8 3 3
CLB 9 or more 6 6
Canadian work experience With a spouse or common-law partnerMaximum 70 points Without a spouse or common-law partner Maximum 80 points
None or less than a year 0 0
1 year 35 40
2 years 46 53
3 years 56 64
4 years 63 72
5 years or more 70 80
Subtotal – Core / human capital factors Out of 460 points Out of 500 points

CRS – Spouse or common-law partner factors (if applicable)

Spouse or common-law partner factors With spouse or common-law partner – number of points per factor Without spouse or common-law partner (0 points – does not apply)
Spouse’s or common-law partner’s level of education 10 0
Less than secondary school (high school) credential 0
Secondary school (high school) credential 2
One-year post-secondary program credential 6
Two-year post-secondary program credential 7
Post-secondary program credential of three years or longer 8
Two or more post-secondary program credentials AND at least one of these credentials was issued on completion of a post-secondary program of three years or longer 9
University-level credential at the Master’s level OR an entry-to-practice professional degree. CIC only accepts as an entry-to-practice professional degree, those degrees issued in relation to an occupation listed at NOC Skill level A and for which licensing by a provincial regulatory body is required. 10
University-level credential at the Doctoral level 10
Spouse’s or common-law partner’s official languages proficiency – first official languageReading, writing, speaking and listening– total points for each ability Maximum 20 points 0 (does not apply)
For each ability 5
CLB 4 or less 0
CLB 5 or 6 1
CLB 7 or 8 3
CLB 9 or more 5
Canadian work experience Maximum 10 points 0 (does not apply)
None or less than a year 0
1 year 5
2 years 7
3 years 8
4 years 9
5 years or more 10
Subtotal – Core / human capital + Spouse or common-law partner factors 500 500

CRS – Skill transferability factors

Skill Transferability factors Maximum 100 points for this section
Education Maximum 50 points for Education
With good official language proficiency and a post-secondary degree Maximum 50 points
Points for CLB 7 or more on all first official language abilities, one or more under 9 Points for CLB 9 or more on all four first official language abilities
Secondary school (high school) credential or less (levels 1 & 2) 0 0
Post-secondary program credential of one year or longer (levels 3,4 & 5) 13 25
Two or more post-secondary program credentials AND at least one of these credentials was issued on completion of a post-secondary program of three years or longer (levels 6,7 & 8) 25 50
With Canadian work experience and a post-secondary degree Maximum 50 points
Points for education + 1 year of Canadian work experience Points for education + 2 years or more of Canadian work experience
Secondary school (high school) credential or less (levels 1 & 2) 0 0
Post-secondary program credential of one year or longer (levels 3,4 & 5) 13 25
Two or more post-secondary program credentials AND at least one of these credentials was issued on completion of a post-secondary program of three years or longer (levels 6,7 & 8) 25 50
Foreign work experience Maximum 50 points for Foreign work experience
With good official language proficiency and foreign work experience 50 points
Points for foreign work experience + CLB 7 or more on all first OL abilities, one or more under 9 Points for foreign work experience + CLB 9 or more on all four first OL abilities
No foreign work experience 0 0
1 or 2 years of foreign work experience 13 25
3 years or more of foreign work experience 25 50
With Canadian work experience and foreign work experience Maximum 50 points
Points for foreign work experience + 1 year of Canadian work experience Points for foreign work experience + 2 years or more of Canadian work experience
No foreign work experience 0 0
1 or 2 years of foreign work experience 13 25
3 years or more of foreign work experience 25 50
Certificate of qualification (trade occupations) Maximum 50 points for this section
With good official language proficiency and a certificate of qualification Maximum 50 points
Points for certificate of qualification + CLB 5 or more on all first OL abilities, one or more under 7 Points for certificate of qualification + CLB 7 or more on all four first OL abilities
With a certificate of qualification 25 50
Subtotal:
A. Core + B. Spouse or common-law partner + C. Skill transferability factors
600
Additional points Maximum 600 points
1) Arranged employment OR 600
2) Provincial or territorial nomination 600
Grand total Maximum 1,200 points

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One of our licensed immigration consultants can speak with you in person, online or on the phone about your unique immigration situation and give you a breakdown of your options.bookappointment

Express Entry: What Prospective Candidates Need to Know

Canada is changing its economic immigration programs to give more opportunities to prospective skilled immigrants. Starting January 2015, skilled foreign workers will have access to Express Entry, which will cover Canada’s key economic immigration programs:

  • the Federal Skilled Worker Program,
  • the Federal Skilled Trades Program,
  • the Canadian Experience Class, and
  • a portion of the Provincial Nominee Program.

Candidates who are invited to apply for permanent residence under the Express Entry system will benefit from fast processing times of six months or less.

Express Entry will also provide a pathway for skilled workers to connect with potential job opportunities in Canada prior to arrival.

Express Entry will ensure that the candidates who are most likely to succeed economically – not simply those first in line – are able to immigrate to Canada.

How Express Entry Works

Image described below

Step 1

Potential candidates create an online Express Entry profile

Express your interest in coming to Canada as a skilled foreign worker. Starting in January 2015, create an online Express Entry profile and tell us about your skills, work experience, language ability, education and other details.

Before doing this, you will need to take a language test in English or French. If you were educated outside of Canada, you may also need to have your education assessed against Canadian standards. More information on language and education assessments is available online.

If you meet the criteria of one of the federal economic immigration programs subject to Express Entry, you will be placed in a pool of pre-screened candidates.

If you do not already have a Canadian job offer or a nomination from a province/territory, you must register with the Government of Canada’s Job Bank. Job Bank is an easy, online search tool that will help you get matched with jobs in Canada based on your skills, knowledge and experience.

Express Entry Pool

You will be given a score to determine your place in the Express Entry pool using a Comprehensive Ranking System that includes factors known to contribute to economic success (such as language, education, and work experience).

There will be regular draws of candidates from the Express Entry pool, inviting them to apply for permanent residence. Candidates with the highest scores, including those who have a valid job offer or a provincial/territorial nomination, will be invited to apply.

Your Express Entry profile will be valid for 12 months. During that time, you will need to update your profile if circumstances change, such as your level of education or language test results.

Important: Filling out an online Express Entry profile is not a guarantee that you will qualify for permanent residence. If you are invited to apply for permanent residence, information provided in your Express Entry profile will be verified at that time.

Step 2

Selected candidates are invited to submit an electronic application for permanent residence

You will receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence if you:

  • have a valid job offer from an employer in Canada (subject to the Labour Market Impact Assessment process in place at that time);
  • have been nominated by a province or territory; or
  • are among the top ranked in the pool based on your skills and experience.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada will process the majority of complete permanent residence applications received within six months or less.

Candidates in the Express Entry pool who do not receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence after 12 months can resubmit their profile and re-enter the pool if they still meet the criteria.

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Federal Skilled Worker Program Cap/Quota Counter Released

As the federal skilled worker program applicants continue to prepare their applications for submission, one question continues to make most people anxious; “Will I have enough time to meet the quota?”

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has released a page where the counter is updated about once a week to show how many complete applications under the 50 eligible occupations have been received.

As of today, June 9, 2014, 157 applications out of 25,000 that they will accept have been received. The occupations with the highest accepted applicants are Financial and Investment Analysis (43), Computer Programmers (39) and Software Engineers (20).

Last year, the occupation to first reach the cap limit of 300 was Computer Programmer and that was reached just over 4 months after the occupations were released.

Licensed Immigration Consultant and partner at CICS Immigration, Alex Khadempour believes that there is still time: “If last year is any indication, those who are looking to apply, even in the popular occupations like computer programmers,  should still have a few months left.”

Applicants are encouraged to focus on getting their IELTS exam and their Educational Credential Assessment as they take time to be prepared.

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Breaking News: New 2014 Occupation List and Cap limits for Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

Breaking News FSWP 2014April 23, 2014 —  Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander today announced new measures in key economic immigration programs to prepare for next year’s launch of Express Entry, Canada’s new active recruitment model.

To prepare for the launch of Express Entry in 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will begin accepting applications under new caps for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC), starting May 1, 2014. These measures will ensure a steady supply of skilled workers who are settling in Canada permanently and helping to supplement the Canadian workforce in areas where there are skills shortages.

Federal Skilled Worker Program:

Federal Skilled Workers are chosen as permanent residents based on their ability to prosper in Canada. They are assessed according to a selection grid made up of six factors, including language, education, work experience, etc.

  • Overall cap of 25,000 applications in eligible occupations stream
  • Cap of 500 applications for PhD eligibility stream
  • No limit on applicants who have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer
  • Sub-caps of 1,000 applications for each of the 50 eligible occupations below (their 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC) code is included in brackets):
  1. Senior managers – financial, communications and other business services (0013)
  2. Senior managers – trade, broadcasting and other services, n.e.c. (0015)
  3. Financial managers (0111)
  4. Human resources managers (0112)
  5. Purchasing managers (0113)
  6. Insurance, real estate and financial brokerage managers (0121)
  7. Managers in health care (0311)
  8. Construction managers (0711)
  9. Home building and renovation managers (0712)
  10. Managers in natural resources production and fishing (0811)
  11. Manufacturing managers (0911)
  12. Financial auditors and accountants (1111)
  13. Financial and investment analysts (1112)
  14. Securities agents, investment dealers and brokers (1113)
  15. Other financial officers (1114)
  16. Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations (1123)
  17. Supervisors, finance and insurance office workers (1212)
  18. Property administrators (1224)
  19. Geoscientists and oceanographers (2113)
  20. Civil engineers (2131)
  21. Mechanical engineers (2132)
  22. Electrical and electronics engineers (2133)
  23. Petroleum engineers (2145)
  24. Information systems analysts and consultants (2171)
  25. Database analysts and data administrators (2172)
  26. Software engineers and designers (2173)
  27. Computer programmers and interactive media developers (2174)
  28. Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians (2232)
  29. Construction estimators (2234)
  30. Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians (2241)
  31. Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics (2243)
  32. Inspectors in public and environmental health and occupational health and safety (2263)
  33. Computer network technicians (2281)
  34. Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors (3011)
  35. Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (3012)
  36. Specialist physicians (3111)
  37. General practitioners and family physicians (3112)
  38. Dietitians and nutritionists (3132)
  39. Audiologists and speech-language pathologists (3141)
  40. Physiotherapists (3142)
  41. Occupational therapists (3143)
  42. Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists (3214)
  43. Medical radiation technologists (3215)
  44. Medical sonographers (3216)
  45. Licensed practical nurses (3233)
  46. Paramedical occupations (3234)
  47. University professors and lecturers (4011)
  48. Psychologists (4151)
  49. Early childhood educators and assistants (4214)
  50. Translators, terminologists and interpreters (5125)

Federal Skilled Trades Program:

This program is for people who want to become permanent residents based on being qualified in a skilled trade.

  • Overall cap of 5,000 applications
  • All 90 skilled trades from the following NOC Skill Level B groups are eligible (with sub-caps of 100 applications each):
    • Major Group 72: Industrial, electrical and construction trades;
    • Major Group 73: Maintenance and equipment operation trades;
    • Major Group 82: Supervisors and technical occupations in national resources, agriculture and related production;
    • Major Group 92: Processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators;
    • Minor Group 632: chefs and cooks;
    • Minor Group 633: butchers and bakers.

Canadian Experience Class:

This program is for people who already have skilled work experience in Canada and want to immigrate permanently.

  • Overall cap of 8,000 applications
  • Sub-caps of 200 applications each for any NOC B occupation
  • Six ineligible occupations: administrative officers (NOC code 1221), administrative assistants (1241), accounting technicians/bookkeepers (1311), cooks (6322), food service supervisors (6311), and retail sales supervisors (6211).

The new Ministerial Instructions will also re-confirm the existing pause of applications to the federal Immigrant Investor and Entrepreneur Programs.

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Canada to make both Irish and UK temporary skilled workers a priority in 2014 through the IEC program

Ireland Canada IECIreland has had a difficult last six years. The Celtic Tiger Economy refers to the economy of the Republic of Ireland between 1995 and 2000, a period of rapid real economic growth fuelled by foreign direct investment, and a subsequent property price bubble which rendered the real economy uncompetitive. The Irish economy expanded at an average rate of 9.4% between 1995 and 2000 and continued to grow at an average rate of 5.9% during the following decade until 2008, when it fell into recession. Since 2008, many Irish youth have been looking for opportunities abroad.

Irish national youth speak good English, are well educated by world renowned universities, come highly skilled and can easily assimilate into developed economies in countries such as Canada. Traditionally, Irish Nationals have come to Canada via the IEC (International Experience Canada) Program, which has been continuously upping their quota of Irish visas extended every year. The working holiday visa under IEC has worked well in the past. The Program has served as a two year work experience open permit for foreign nationals between the ages of 18 and 30. It is understood that at the end of a working holiday visa, that the foreign national return to their home country, and be in possession of a departure ticket as well as the needed travel funds and medical insurance to ensure their stay is fully covered. A participation fee of CDN$150 is also payable at time of application.

The IEC Program – History and growth

The highly anticipated opening of the IEC Program on March 13, 2014 was capped at its maximum quota (3,850 applicants) within 7 minutes. We anticipate a second round shortly; however, it is proving challenging for applicants to successfully obtain their visa through this program as demand for the program outweighs current resource levels to run the program.

This year’s IEC Program made a further 2,500 work permits available to Irish Nationals who already have a secured job offer in Canada, and an additional 500 work permits were issued to Irish foreign nationals who were willing to do a cooperative educational program as part of their Post-Secondary studies to gain international work experience in their field. And these current quotas of work permits are expected to grow.

Canada needs highly skilled workers and wants to attract them to fill temporary skilled labour shortages specifically in the western provinces. Canada has recently renewed a commitment to Ireland to extend the open permit after several visits to Ireland by Minister of Citizenship & Immigration in 2012 and praised Irish apprenticeship programs for their certification standards. The Calgary Economic Development has just sent a delegation of 6 companies to Dublin’s Working Abroad Expo Recruitment Fair (March 22-March 30, 2014) in order to recruit skilled labour to fill Alberta’s current shortages.

Trade agreement set-up between Canada and the UK and Ireland

Canada wants to do even more to attract skilled labour from Ireland and the United Kingdom. On March 14, 2014, it was announced by CIC that a new international study will be launched, in an effort to help British and Irish tradespeople assess their skills against Canadian trades criteria, fully supported by CIC. In other words, streamlining the foreign credential recognition process for people coming from these countries is a high priority for the Canadian Government. The ACCC (Association of Canadian Community Colleges) and the UK NARIC (United Kingdom National Recognition Information Centre) have signed an agreement to work together for mutual recognition of skills, competencies and certifications. Both organizations will work with employers as part of the CIC-funded Canadian Immigrant Integration Program, which provides settlement and integration services to newcomers in Canada. Specifically, the organizations will be concentrating on the following areas of international competency which are in high demand across Canada:

  1. Heavy Duty Equipment Technician
  2. Construction Electrician
  3. Welder
  4. Carpenter
  5. Steamfitter/Pipefitter
  6. Plumber
  7. Machinist
  8. Industrial Mechanic (Millwright)
  9. Powerline Technician

As well, electronic tools are currently being developed, and UK NARIC expects to have an electronic guide published that will feature all the provincial and territorial apprenticeship authorities, which will be a “textbook” to be used by employers, workers, and trade associations in order to assess credentials quickly and fast-track the process for a foreign national to obtain their trade certification. This program intends to assist the Federal Skilled Trades Program applicants under the Federal Stream, in creating an international partnership and streamlined process of integration into the Canadian economy.

What to do if you want to immigrate to Canada

If you are currently a tradesperson from Ireland or the United Kingdom, you want to ensure that you know which program you wish to apply for to immigrate to Canada. As mentioned before, there is the IEC Program but it quickly reaches its cap, preventing further applicants from applying. If you have a job offer, you can apply for a work permit to come to Canada. If you meet the area of skills needed across Canada in the Trades, then the Federal Skilled Trades Program may be a good fit. There are other Federal Programs and Provincial Programs which also may be considered such as the Canadian Experience Class Program, the Provincial Nominee Programs, as well as special projects (Pilot Projects). Before applying, consider talking to either a trusted advisor or an immigration expert that can advise you on the best program for you. It is vital to do your research into Canadian culture, to look at foreign credential recognition as the first order of business, and to consider the expense of immigrating to a new country as a temporary worker. For skilled workers already in Canada, you will want to ensure that you have started additional applications working towards permanent residency status should you wish to stay in Canada.

Some final considerations

As the Federal Government continues to develop strategies to attract temporary foreign workers and to meet the economic demands of Canadian industry, it is abundantly clear that good sources of workers are coming from Ireland and the UK due to their adaptability and skills. As the IEC Program has reached its quota since launching in March 2014, many Canadian employers may not successfully recruit their temporary workers this year. Demand is high and is only expected to grow. But again, there are other options available to these employers and workers, should they wish to avail of other immigration programs on offer in either of the Federal or Provincial programs. And CICS Immigration can certainly help in assessing your eligibility in looking at other immigration avenues to pursue.

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Immigration applications from victims of typhoon Haiyan in Philippines to be fast-tracked

A satellite shot of hurricane Haiyan

Canada’s immigration department says it is giving special consideration to Filipinos affected by typhoon Haiyan.

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander’s office says it will give priority to applications from Filipinos who are “significantly and personally affected” by the typhoon that left thousands dead last weekend.

The note also says that Filipino citizens temporarily in Canada who want to remain will be assessed in a “compassionate and flexible manner.”

The announcement comes as the Canadian military’s Disaster Assistance Response Team, or DART, heads for the hard-hit Philippine city of Iloilo.

The Canadian Forces are also helping with the deployment of a separate 12-member Canadian Red Cross field hospital.

Philippine authorities say Iloilo, one of two major cities on the island of Panay, was in the direct path of the typhoon and suffered 162 deaths and the destruction of 68,543 houses as a result.

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Canada’s skills gap continues to widen, according to study

According to a new study from global recruiting firm Hays PLC, which surveyed the skills gap in 30 developed countries around the world, Canada ranks ninth for the severity of its skills shortage, and its score deteriorated in the past year.

Countries such as Japan, the United States, Germany and Sweden top the list in skilled worker shortage.

Study shows that Canada ranks 9th in the developed world in shortage of skilled workers

The report highlights two key findings

First, the state and the efficiency of a labour market in any particular country is not necessarily driven by the state of the economy in that point in time. Rather, the data suggests through the index that the efficiency of the labour market is driven by more structural factors. That said, the governments can introduce reforms to improve those structural factors, regardless of where they are in the economic cycle.

The second key finding that the index illustrates is that there is a very strong link between the efficiency of an educational system and the ability of that economy to produce the talent that the nation’s industries require both today and in the future. Making sure that business and the educational systems are in sync to produce sufficient numbers of the right quality graduates in the right areas for future talent. That’s the fundamental part of what drives the efficiency in any particular market.

As the global economy recovers and as the Canadian work force continues to age, without a change in policy, the situation in Canada and other developed countries will likely get worse. Canada is falling behind in implementing enough changes to meet the demand for highly skilled migration.

How to improve the skilled worker shortage and avoid disaster in the future

As according to Alistair Cox, the chief executive of Hays PLC, there are three areas where business and the governments can work together to strengthen these labour markets and reduce these inefficiencies that we see in some of these economies:

The first is for the government to foster a business environment of flexibilities, where businesses can build the work force they need for the future. This can be achieved through flexible working arrangements and skilled immigration.

The second method is to make sure that the educational system in an economy are really tuned into what businesses are going to need in the future in terms of the number of right skills.

The third is for businesses to look at their own policy in terms of attracting and retaining staff. Not just younger staff but also retaining and retraining older staff within their own work force.

Immigration Canada making changes

It’s not yet known how effective it will be, however, Canada is working on some changes in the system that are expected to be implemented in late 2014. Last year, Immigration Canada and the provinces, reached an agreement on the future of Canadian immigration system. The system will give the provinces a central role in immigrant selection. This new system will be based on a model called Expression of Interest (EOI).

The EOI model is an immigrant selection process which requires those seeking to immigrate to first file a simplified application, with immigration authorities. From that pool of applicants, the most promising candidates, based on the immigration department’s selection criteria, are then selected, and invited to submit a full application which includes documentation to prove their claimed qualifications.

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Canadian Economist Calls for Employment-Based Immigration Selection Process

A new report by SFU Professor of Economics (Emeritus) and Fraser Institute senior fellow Herbert Grubel calls for a total overhaul of Canada’s immigration selection process (Simon Fraser University)

A new report by Canadian economist and former Member of Parliament Herbert Grubel calls for Canada’s point-based immigration selection process to be completely replaced with one based on employment.

Grubel, who is a Fraser Institute senior fellow and a professor emeritus of economics with Simon Fraser University has been a longtime proponent of placing more limits on immigration, a position which he views as an extension of his fiscal conservatism.

The report contends that immigration costs Canadians $20 billion annually, as a result of immigrants paying less in taxes while using up just as much in government services as the native-born population.

While welcoming some of the recent changes made to the immigration selection process by former Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, Grubel argues that they do not go far enough, and proposes two major changes to Canadian immigration to make it more economically beneficial to native-born Canadians:

  • Elimination of parent and grandparent (PGP) sponsorship for new immigrants. The report notes that following the initial 10-year period when sponsors are financially responsibility for the costs of the social benefits received by their sponsored PGP, the percentage within this cohort that receives social assistance immediately increased from 3 percent to 20 percent.

    While welcoming the new 20-year sponsorship period that is to come into effect for the PGP sponsorship program, Grubel says that the enforcement of the sponsor’s responsibilities will be difficult, and it would be simpler to simply eliminate PGP sponsorship as a permanent residency program.

    Grubel proposes a transition period whereby all immigrants who became permanent residents before his proposed rule change maintain their right to sponsor their PGPs for permanent residency, while immigrants who arrive after lose this privilege. In this way, Grubel argues the elimination of the program can be done fairly, by allowing those who immigrated to Canada under the assumption that they would be able to sponsor their PGPs to retain this ability.

  • Replace point-based assessment method of selection with employment-based selection. Grubel suggests only skilled workers with pre-arranged employment should be admitted under the skilled worker program. He argues that employer decisions on who to hire provide better information on who has the skills to succeed in Canada than a bureaucratic process created by civil servants.

    He proposes however to keep the federal government involved in setting minimum standards and wages, to prevent employers from using immigration to secure low wage labourers that cost taxpayers more in the provision of social services than they pay in taxes.

    An employment-driven skilled worker program, the report suggests, would adjust the number of immigrants admitted according to economic conditions, where immigration would decline when jobs are scarce, and increase when jobs are plentiful. The number admitted per year would therefore match the needs of the Canadian economy better than a number selected through the political process.

Critique of report by the Broadbent Institute

The report’s proposal to dramatically overhaul the Canadian immigration selection process has, predictably, found critics. A recent article from Broadbent Institute fellow Patti Tamara Lenard challenges several of its claims.

Lenard argues that the report’s conclusion that immigrants impose a fiscal burden on other Canadians, which it draws from statistics showing recent immigrants have a lower average income and pay less in taxes than the average native-born Canadian, neglects the fact that immigrants are younger than the average Canadian when they arrive in Canada, and therefore is faulty.

The report’s analysis of immigrant income does not include only immigrants who just arrived in Canada however. The immigrant cohort used by Grubel’s comparison is individuals who arrived in Canada between 1986 and 2004, and the length of time they were in Canada ranged from 1 to 18 years.

While Lenard’s suggestion that the analysis compares younger immigrants to older native-born Canadians is not supported by the composition of the dataset used by the report, it is true that Grubel does not make an effort to control for age in his analysis, and therefore it could be an unaccounted factor in the income gap.

Lenard also disputes the report’s assumption that immigrants are as likely to use social programs as the rest of the Canadian population, citing a Swedish study that finds that Canadian immigrants use fewer social services than the general population. The report’s estimation on the cost of the social services used by Canadian immigrants is therefore too high she argues.

Lenard’s article in places makes some hasty and inaccurate criticisms of Grubel’s report. She claims for instance that the report states that “in 2011 over 50,000 [Parent and Grandparent] immigrants entered Canada”, but that the actual number was 14,000.

In actuality, the report cites Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s (CIC) own data projecting that over 50,000 PGPs will become permanent residents over 2012 AND 2013, a two year period, not in a single year, 2011.

Lenard also claims that the report “implies .. we should expect [PGP’s] health care costs to mimic those of Canadians aged over 65″, and that this is misleading, due to the fact that PGPs’ health care costs are covered by their sponsors for the first 10 years after their arrival. The content of the report does not support Lenard’s claim, as it clearly conveys the same point Lenard claims it neglected, and instead focuses on indications of high social assistance costs for PGPs once they turn 75 and are no longer the financial responsibility of their sponsors.

Gaps in data

While the Broadbent Institute’s review of Grubel’s report falls short in providing an informed critique of the report’s proposals and arguments, it does touch on the gaps in the data on the economic impact of Canadian immigration, and the heavy reliance on conjecture – which is more subject to the influence of ideology – in discussions on the optimal immigration selection process for Canada.

As a result of the many unknowns surrounding immigration and its impact, it will likely remain a contentious issue in Canada for years to come, until more data on the economic outcomes of Canadian immigrants is generated, and Canadians have a clearer picture of what programs work and which ones don’t.

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Two Occupations in Canadian Immigration Program Reach Sub-Cap

CIC’s most recent update shows 1,103 of the 5,000 spots in the quota have been filled for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (Government of Canada)

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the mainstay of Canadian economic class immigration, has reached the maximum allowable applications in two of the 24 eligible occupations.

The FSWP has a cap of 5,000 total applications, and a sub-cap of 300 applications per occupation, for the period between May 4, 2013, and April 30, 2014. Applications exceed either the total cap, or the sub-cap per occupation, will be disregarded.

In a recent update from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), financial and investment analysts and computer programmers and interactive media developers are shown as having reached their respective caps.

The total number of applications received in all occupation is currently at 1,103, leaving 3,897 spots left in the FSWP for the one year quota period.

Of the occupations still accepting applications, computer engineers (except software engineers/designers) is currently closest to its cap, with CIC reporting 116 applications received.

On the other end of the spectrum, CIC reports zero audiologists and speech-language pathologists applications received and only one application received for each of the mining engineers and petroleum engineers occupations.

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Montreal Tops List of Best Cities for International Students

Cultural attractions like the iconic Montreal Museum of Fine Arts helped give Montreal the top spot in the ‘social experience’ sub-index of the Sea Turtle Index

An index commissioned by the Bank of Communications (BoCom), one of the largest banks in China, places Montreal, Canada as the best city in the world for international students.

Other Canadian cities that ranked well include Toronto (4th) and Vancouver (15th).

Created by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) with design input from BoCom management, the Sea Turtle Index (a name referring to Chinese students who study abroad only to return, like sea turtles, to their country of origin) ranks foreign student destinations according to five sub-indices:

  • Educational returns: the international value of the education provided in the city relative to its cost
  • Financial returns: the openness of the investment environment to foreign nationals and the amount of volatility risk that could effect investment returns
  • Real estate returns: the return on investment in the local real estate market
  • Work experience: the local job market for foreign students and graduates in terms of availability of jobs, wages and low-taxes
  • Social experience: the city’s level of culture, worldliness and multi-culturalism

Of the 80 cities included in the index, Montreal came in 6th place in the ‘educational returns’ sub-index, behind only Cambridge (1st), Oxford (2nd), London (3rd), Seoul (4th), and Beijing (5th).

Montreal benefited from having comparatively affordable universities and cost of living while providing high quality tertiary education. Vancouver and Toronto also had their score helped by their low cost of living, although not as much as Montreal which was found to be a more affordable place to live.

None of the American cities included in the study made the top 10 in the educational returns category, despite several being home to some of the best educational institutions in the world. The poor showing was largely due to the high cost of tuition for their undergraduate programs.

Some cities, including Singapore, Hong Kong and New York, saw their educational returns ranking pushed down due to a high cost of living.

The EIU included a ‘financial returns’ sub-index owing to the fact that the parents of international students and often international students themselves like to make investments in the city where the students live.

None of the North American cities included in the study made the top 30 in this sub-index, due in Canada to relatively high taxes and in the United States to excessive “money laundering regulations and terrorism legislation” stifling financial freedom.

Hong Kong placed first in this ranking, followed by Auckland, New Zealand (2nd) and Santiago, Chile (3rd), which benefited from having comparatively few regulations on finance and banking that restrict international capital flows.

Three Canadian cities made the top 30 in the ‘real-estate returns’ sub-index: Toronto (4th), Montreal (12th), and Vancouver (13th), while Hong Kong took the top spot thanks to its hot real estate market.

Canadian cities did well due to a combination of well-performing real-estate markets and avoidance of the boom-busts that affected many other world cities in the period leading up to and following the global mortgage crisis.

Canada’s openness to foreign investment also helped push its cities above those in countries with real-estate markets that have seen substantial gains in recent years but which have more restrictions on foreign property ownership, like Shanghai, Bangkok, Mumbai and Seoul.

Immigration rules benefit Canada

Canadian cities took the top five spots in the work experience sub-index due to immigration laws that allow foreign students, upon completion of their study programs, to obtain post-graduate work permits that are valid for durations equaling the length of their study in Canada.

This contrasts with the U.S. where international students have few options to stay and work in the United States upon completing their studies.

Edmonton’s combination of a hot labour market and low provincial taxes gave it an edge over its Canadian counterparts and earned it the top spot in the ranking, followed by Hamilton (2nd), Toronto (3rd), Vancouver (4th) and Montreal (5th).

Montreal managed to also share the top spot in the ‘social experience’ sub-index with London, England, thanks to its low rates of violent crime, high cultural diversity and its world renowned cultural attractions.

Canada’s high levels of multiculturalism and low crime rates helped three other Canadian cities: Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton, make the top 30 in this ranking.

As incomes in China rapidly grow, parents in the country’s large and education-minded population are increasingly able to afford a foreign university education for their children.

Therefore the good showing of Canadian cities in the Sea Turtle Index, which caters mostly to Chinese students seeking to study abroad, portends well for Canadian efforts to make the country a top destination for international students.

With the federal government having committed itself to making it easier for international students to stay and work in Canada and become permanent residents through programs like the Canadian Experience Class, Canada’s appeal to international students could increase even more in coming years.

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