Changes are afoot for Express Entry. On November 19, the Ministry for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada launched changes intended to make the immigration system fairer and better support the needs of the labour market. To what extent will they deliver?
Express Entry is a points-based system. People who want to immigrate to Canada are given a score based on factors like language skills, education, and whether they have an offer of employment in Canada.
The new changes will give more points to international students who gained their degrees in Canada, fewer points to people with a job offer, and allow some candidates to count their job offer without a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
These changes are undoubtedly a positive step, mainly because they should give more people with a high “human capital” score (points for education, language skills, age, work experience), but no job offer, the chance to apply.
This is important: a job offer is not the only contributing factor to success in a new country. Newcomers need other resources at their disposal in case that job comes to an end.
A high human capital score suggests someone will not just thrive in their first job, but in their second, third and fourth. This will lead to more economic growth in the long term.
It also makes economic sense to help international students stay in Canada beyond their degrees. Many will already have strong networks in place — a key predictor of employment success. (See this paper for more about the role of social networks in the long-term success of immigrants).
Meanwhile, the LMIA exemption will benefit fast-moving industries, such as the tech sector, who want to hire more talent from abroad but can be frustrated by the amount of time it takes to obtain an LMIA.
The changes reflect the changing world of work: research we commissioned earlier this year highlighted technological developments and the increase in contract-based employment as trends to watch in tomorrow’s labour market. Overall, the system is becoming more responsive to the requirements of a labour market that needs fresh talent to replace its aging workforce.
However, while bringing in new talent is great, we need to remember those who are already here. There is a wealth of international skills and experience already in our region. And we need to make sure that measures are in place to integrate future newcomers into the labour market.
Continued funding of employment service providers is vital. We also need to keep up our work with the region’s employers, helping them to build workplaces that are truly inclusive — where international employees can contribute to the same extent as their Canadian-born counterparts.
TRIEC can help – whether through implementing mentoring, connecting you to newcomer professional networks, or providing cross-cultural learning resources for your staff , we can help you build the inclusive workplace of tomorrow.