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WES Weekly Roundup December 21, 2022

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World Education Services (WES) is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to helping international students, immigrants, and refugees achieve their educational and career goals in the United States and Canada. The weekly roundup includes research, stories, and events of interest to the Canadian immigration and settlement community. This content has been created by WES and is reproduced here with their permission, in partnership.

Thousands assigned to inactive immigration officers and IDs. Are you one of them? (CBC)

Thousands of individuals waiting to immigrate to Canada have been 'stuck in limbo' navigating Canada's immigration system. A number of applicants say that their applications have been assigned for processing to inactive employees or IDs - that are no longer working with IRCC, including airports and visa offices around the world. According to data from the Global Case Management System (GCMS); IRCC's internal system to process applications, nearly 60,000 applications were assigned to former employees or dormant computer placeholder codes to hold applicants in queue. Some current applicants have been assigned to IDs that were last active as early as 2006. With nearly 2.3 million applications in backlog, IRCC announced that additional changes coming to the system will help accelerate processing times and ensure that applicants are benefiting from service standard.

Immigrants could be the solution to Canada’s labour shortage, but they need to be supported (The Conversation)

Canada continues to expand immigration pathways to support attract and retain internationally trained professionals as labour shortages mount. However, a significant barrier for many newcomer professionals is the lack of recognition for credentials earned abroad. Recent updates to the Express Entry Program include the expansion of eligible skill levels for workers who may have been excluded from Express Entry draws. Targeted draws will now allow for the prioritization for high demand occupations. While occupation-specific admission provides the potential for addressing shortages in each industry, this could also result in an oversupply of talent in some areas - with workers risking a shortage of jobs in their occupation. Canada's commitment to support internationally trained newcomers must not only focus on immigration policy shifts but also enabling access to infrastructure to support them. An ideal support network for newcomer professionals would include actors such as policymakers, occupational regulatory bodies, higher educational institutions, and employers which in turn will ensure newcomers are fully supported in their transition into Canadian society.

Atlantic Canada experiences a recent uptick in retaining skilled immigrants (Statistics Canada)

In the Atlantic region, avenues including the Atlantic Immigration Pilot have enabled more skilled immigrants to move into the region, with Nova Scotia seeing the biggest increase in overall retention rates when comparing annual data (67.6 percent).  When looking at long-term (five year) data, P.E.I has the lowest retention rate of provinces in the Atlantic yet received the largest increase among admission cohorts. Immigrants who arrived in Ontario, British Columbia, or Alberta 2010 to 2015 were most likely to stay in the provinces up to 5 years after their arrival.  The five-year retention rates for both Ontario and Alberta remained consistent and strong, at nearly 90 percent. Western provinces, namely Saskatchewan and Manitoba, have experienced challenges in retaining immigrants five years after admission, with rates declining more than 10 percentage points between 2010 and 2015 report levels. The retention rates between immigrant women and men are similar, whereas work experience prior to admission plays a significant role in retention. The retention rate for individuals with only study permits is 74.7 percent, compared to previous work permit holders at 89 percent.

Connecting Refugee Students and Graduates to Skilled Migration Pathways (Talent Beyond Boundaries)

Globally, there are approximately 600, 000 refugees or displaced persons who would qualify for skilled immigration programs to enter the workforce based on their educational and professional backgrounds. This figure includes many refugee youth with educational and professional experience in field such as finance, healthcare, skilled trades, and IT. Canada is currently leading in initiatives to address challenges refugee youth face when accessing skilled migration pathways; addressing requirements for legal identification documents, legal status in host country, language level certification, and proof of previous work experience. To enable equitable and sustained access to support refugee youth in their career trajectories, the authors recommend that non-governmental service providers: 

  • Introduce skilled migration pathways into early career planning curricula to raise awareness and prepare refugee youth for their options.
  • Invest and support refugee students in access to language learning supports to develop skills needed to thrive in their new linguistic landscape.
  • Provide refugee youth with consistent professional upskilling and growth to aid in navigating high-demand sectors.

Further Reading:

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