Toronto: Canada has launched a new process to welcome skilled newcomers with work experience in priority jobs as permanent residents in an attempt to meet its labour needs and strengthen its economy.
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Sean Fraser, announced on Wednesday the first-ever launch of category-based selection for Canada’s flagship economic immigration management system, Express Entry.
This year, category-based selection invitations will focus on candidates who have a strong French language proficiency, or work experience in fields like healthcare, agriculture and agri-food, STEM professions and trades, such as carpenters, plumbers and contractors transport.
The move will allow Canada to issue invitations to apply to prospective permanent residents with specific skills, training or language ability.
According to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), this approach to the Express Entry system will address labour needs and strengthen French communities across the country.
“These changes to the Express Entry system will ensure that they (Canadian employers) have the skilled workers they need to grow and succeed. We can also grow our economy and help businesses with labour shortages while also increasing the number of French-proficient candidates to help ensure the vitality of French-speaking communities,” Fraser said.
Express Entry is Canada’s flagship application management system for those seeking to immigrate permanently through the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, the Canadian Experience Class and a portion of the Provincial Nominee Program.
In the 13th Express Entry draw of 2023, IRCC invited 4,800 candidates, according to CIC News.
In June 2022, the Canadian government made changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to allow for the selection of immigrants based on key attributes that support economic priorities such as specific work experience or knowledge of French.
The first category-based invitations to apply are expected to be sent this summer. Immigration accounts for nearly 100 per cent of Canada’s labour force growth, helping to address labour shortages in key sectors.
According to Employment and Social Development Canada, the number of occupations facing shortages doubled between 2019 and 2021.
Under the Canada-Quebec Accord, Quebec establishes its own immigration levels.
From 2018 to 2022, admissions under the Federal High-Skilled program accounted for between 34 and 40 per cent of overall French-speaking admissions outside Quebec.