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In the latter part of 2014, TRIEC conducted research into the immigrant job-search experience in the GTA. We spoke to people working in the sector, and immigrants themselves, to find out about new developments – and what hasn’t changed. Plus, there are political changes that we know will impact on our work in 2015.

In the next few months, we’ll be taking a look at some of the key trends shaping the immigrant employment landscape this year. In each entry, we’ll tackle a different theme, considering the implications for immigrants, employers, and for those working in the field. Here’s a look ahead to some of the issues we’ll be talking about:

Express entry
On January 1, the government launched a major overhaul of the system that immigrants to Canada will use when applying for permanent residency. Immigrants applying through Express Entry will be awarded points based on things like age, language skills, and whether or not they have an existing job offer in Canada. The government believes that this will is aimed at bringing those into the country who will have the best chance of succeeding in the long-term. But how will the changes affect who is arriving in Canada – and those who are already here? We don’t yet know, but we can predict that the people who immigrate to Canada, how they get here, and how they look for work, will change significantly in coming months.

The rise of the entrepreneur
Recent months have seen an increase in the number immigrant entrepreneurs, with immigrants to Toronto setting themselves up as self-employed, rather than seeking employment. Why is this happening, and what are the implications for the GTA economy?

More online networking (Learn more)
Networking is an essential part of any job search: those looking for work need to make contacts in order to expand their professional network and increase their chances of getting a job. For many skilled immigrants, it’s a key step on their journey to finding meaningful employment. With the rise of online networking sites like LinkedIn, to what extent is professional networking happening more from behind a computer? And how will this impact people arriving in the country who want to reach out to contacts in their field?

The hourglass issue
An hourglass type shape is created in the job market when a large number of people apply for entry level and senior positions, and there is a shortage of middle management roles. Many skilled immigrants are currently competing with recent graduates for positions that they are over-qualified for. What if recent immigrants were gaining positions that match their skills and qualifications? Would this open up more opportunities for Canadian youth?

Who is immigrating to Toronto?
We have some recent research from CIC on who is coming to Toronto but we know this will change in the coming year with the new Express Entry system. We know that immigration to Ontario is declining as immigrants come to Toronto and then leave for better opportunities elsewhere. But – it’s a shifting labour market as the price of oil and the Canadian dollar drop, perhaps creating opportunities in Ontario for labour demand to grow in manufacturing and exporting. What will the next group of skilled immigrants brought in through Express Entry need to be successful in this new environment?

Want to know more about these issues? Starting next month, we’ll be blogging about each of the above topics, to take a more in-depth look at how and why they’re affecting what we do. Keep checking triec.ca for more information – or follow us on Twitter for updates – @TRIEC.