The Canadian Context: Analysis of Recent Skilled Migration Flows and Changes to Immigration Polices in Canada

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1 The Canadian Context: Analysis of Recent Skilled Migration Flows and Changes to Immigration Polices in Canada Australia-Canada Roundtable April

2 Immigration Overview Canada has a proud tradition of welcoming immigrants. Our immigration system, refugee system and network of organizations to help newcomers settle and integrate are among the best in the world. One of every six Canadian residents was born outside the country. Immigration has helped to make Canada a culturally rich, prosperous and progressive nation. In 2010, immigrants settled in: 1. Ontario (118,116) 2. Quebec (53,981) 3. B.C. (44,176) 4. Alberta (32,640) 5. Manitoba (15,803) Canada welcomed 280,636 new permanent residents in 2010, plus: 182,322 Temporary Foreign Workers 96,147 International Students Canadians are also proud to hold one of the most prized citizenships in the world. Every year about 200,000 people become new citizens of Canada.. 2

3 Canada s Immigration Context & Policy Objectives Immigration is a shared responsibility between the Government of Canada and the provincial and territorial governments (Constitution Act, 1867, section 95). The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act(IRPA) is the legislation that sets out Canada s objectives for immigration. Canada s immigration system must balance multiple priorities: Support the development of a strong and prosperous Canadian economy; Reunite families; Support global humanitarian efforts by resettling refugees and providing assistance to asylum seekers; Contribute to building strong communities and supporting population growth; and Protect the health, safety and security of Canadians 3

4 Permanent Residents: Classes Economic Class Federal Skilled Workers Business Immigrants Provincial Nominees Quebec Skilled Workers* Quebec Business Immigrants* Live-in Caregivers Canadian Experience Class Family class Spouses and partners Dependent Children (incl. adopted children) Parents and grandparents Orphaned family members Other relative where there is no other close family member Protected Persons Government Assisted Refugees (Quebec GARs) Privately Sponsored Refugees Protected Persons in Canada Dependants abroad Humanitarian & Compassionate (H&C) Exceptional cases involving ministerial discretion * Under the Canada-Quebec Accord, the Quebec government selects its own economic class immigrants. 4

5 Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) Immigration is increasingly seen as a solution to demographic pressures and regional labour market supply issues from both provincial/territorial (PT) and federal perspectives. Prospective immigrants apply directly to the province or territory they wish to settle in. The criteria and desired skill sets vary by province. Provincial nominees are not assessed on the six selection factors of the Federal Skilled Workers Program, instead provinces nominate selected immigrants to CIC. PTs see the PNP as a fix for labour market needs and demographic growth CIC has responded by allocating federal selection space to PTs PNP has re-distributed economic immigration, with benefits accruing to provinces that were not attracting immigrants through existing federal programs. PTs deliver the majority of services for immigrants Health, social services, education and municipal 5

6 The Annual Levels Plan A Key Policy Lever Each year, federal, provincial and territorial governments set immigration targets through a process known the Annual Levels Plan. The plan falls under two streams: Economic roughly 60% Includes both principal applicants and their dependents Social roughly 40% Family Class- sponsorship Protected Persons (e.g., refugees) sponsored and resettled The 2011 levels plan Low Ranges High Federally Selected Economic Class 74,000 80,400 Provincially Selected Economic Class 76,600 80,900 Provincial Nominee Program 42,000 45,000 Quebec-selected Skilled Workers and Business 34,600 35,900 Total Economic Class 150, ,300 Spouses, Partners and Children 45,500 48,000 Parents and Grandparents 13,000 17,500 Total Family Class 58,500 65,500 Government-assisted Refugees 7,400 8,000 Privately Sponsored Refugees 3,800 6,000 Protected Persons In-Canada 8,200 10,500 Dependants Abroad of Protected Persons In-Canada 3,800 4,500 Total Protected Persons 23,200 29,000 OTHER Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds/Public Policy 7,600 9,000 Permit Holders Total Other 7,700 9,200 TOTAL 240, ,000 6

7 Multi-Year Levels Planning (MYLP) Approaches Historically, CIC developed the annual immigration levels plan in consultation with provinces and territories Annual planning poses challenges of proper resourcing and affects governments long-term commitments At the conclusion of planning for 2010 levels, federal and provincial/territorial (FPT) governments agreed that immigration levels planning need to shift from an annual event to a collaborative and coordinated MYLP approach FPT governments have become partners-not stakeholders-in the development of MYLP MYLP approach also involves joint FPT consultations CIC and PTs recognize that there is a necessity to more accurately reflect specific regional and sectoral needs 7

8 Initiatives Aligning Immigration with Labour Market Needs The Government of Canada has announced a number of initiatives and investments in recent years: 2007 delivered on Advantage Canada priorities: o Expanded Provincial Nominee Program o New Canadian Experience Class o Improvements to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program o Foreign Credentials Referral Office located within CIC, the FCRO works with federal partners (e.g., HRSDC and others) to strengthen processes of foreign credentials recognition across the country and overseas Our immigration policies should be more closely aligned with our labour market needs. Advantage Canada, Building a Strong Economy for Canadians, 2006 Budget 2008 o $109 Million over 5 yrs to meet increasing permanent and temporary pressures o Action Plan for Faster Immigration -legislative amendments to enable Minister to issue Ministerial Instructions to manage and prioritize the processing of new applications. Budget 2009 o $50 million over two years to support development of a common approach to foreign credential assessment and improve integration into the Canadian labour force 8

9 Economic Immigration: Focus on Federal Skilled Workers Economic immigrants are selected according to key indicators of success in the labour market over the long-term The Points System Education 25 English and French abilities 24 Work experience 21 Age 10 Arranged employment 10 Adaptability 10 Total 100 (current pass mark: 67) Who are Federal Skilled Workers? Professionals: Physicians, mathematicians, applied scientists,engineers,teachers and instructors, accountants... Managers:in manufacturing & utilities, sales, marketing, transportation, construction, health... Trades/Technicians: Plumbers, carpenters, electricians, medical technicians, chefs & cooks, pipefitters, paralegals... 9

10 Ministerial Instructions Meeting changing labour market needs and improving labour market readiness As of June 26, 2010, revised list of eligible occupations to reflect a changing labour market New list of 29 occupations (retains 18 occupations; 11 new ones; see Annex 1) Focus on occupations with confirmed national demand over next 3 years Methodology based primarily on HRSDC labour market projections and input from provinces/territories Continue to prioritize applications with offers of arranged employment (but temp. workers and students no longer eligible*) Aligning intake of applications with capacity to process (backlog reduction) NEW: an explicit limit on intake of new FSW applications Cap of 20,000 new FSW applications per year; sub-cap of 5% of total (1,000) per occupation Cap will not apply to applicants who have arranged employment ALSO: MI II was used as an opportunity to take action on growing pressure in the investors program Temporary moratorium on acceptance of new applications until regulatory changes made to program NEW: mandatory language testing All principal applicants in FSW Program (and Canadian Experience Class) must submit test results to be eligible for processing * Temporary foreign workers and students can still apply with offers of employment or as one of the 29 occupations 10

11 Challenges System pressures o IRPA open philosophy- all FSW applications which met criteria were accepted and were required to be processed. This resulted in a significant backlog and affected the market responsiveness of the program o MIs are used as supply management tools which align more the application intake with market needs o Eliminating backlogs; how to resolve demands in the economic class? Skilled Workers o Human capital model (points system) is sound; however, some ongoing challenges, such as addressing the under-representation of skilled trades o Chronic shortages for low skilled workers-should it be addressed through immigration? Making the system more responsive to labour market needs o There are many economic programs how to address specific labour needs but not duplicate efforts? o Access to reliable and timely labour market information Labour market outcomes are an ongoing challenge o Earnings for recent immigrants lower than in past; catch-up takes longer o There remain barriers to finding and retaining workers with the right skills set (e.g., credentials, language skills) o Employers report that it can be difficult to use the immigration system to meet needs particularly in light of long processing times 11

12 Future Directions Based on the findings of the FSWP evaluation, academic research and best practices in other immigrant-receiving countries, CIC is consulting stakeholders on proposals to make changes to the selection grid (points system) to ensure that Canada attracts immigrants with in-demand skill sets The Ministerial Instructionswill continue to be a key tool for achieving objectives and managing pressures especially in the FSW program. Taking a strong stance against marriage fraud and immigration fraud in general: Crooked consultants improving the way immigration consultants are regulated Marriages of convenience strengthening legislation and engaging in consultations 12

13 Conclusion Immigration is a defining feature of Canada s development as a nation and is key to ensuring its economic prosperity. Canada is facing a labour market shortage in the coming years -The Ministerial Instructions will continue to be a key policy tool for achieving labour market objectives and managing pressures especially in the Federal Skilled Worker Program. The Government of Canada through its various policy and program initiatives, is committed to laying the foundation for attracting and retaining immigrants, and successfully integrating them upon arrival in Canada. 13

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