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.
2022 was quite the year for Canada’s immigration policies. This article highlights the year’s big developments and trends in immigration and settlement for 2023. Some of the highlights include:
Family members of some work permit holders can apply for open work permits – IRCC announced that this policy will allow family members (spouses and working aged children) of some labour market impact assessment (LMIA)-based work permit holders will now be eligible to apply for open work permits in Canada. Beginning in 2023, this three-phase plan will extend over a two-year period and could result in more than 200,000 new work permit applications.
In further examination of IRCC’s annual report to Parliament about the next three years of immigration planning in Canada, the word “goal” appears seven times. But these authors argue that the growing immigration targets are not a goal, instead they are quotas. What is lacking is the clear goal that Canada’s immigration policy is trying to achieve. While it is impressive that the country continues to welcome more and more new immigrants, the current government has not been clear as to what they are hoping to achieve beyond population growth. This is particularly important at a time where Canada faces several challenges including an overburdened healthcare system and housing shortages. The authors emphasize that population growth alone is not a marker of success. Instead, economic immigration should grow only to the extent that it accelerates growth in prosperity, especially Canada’s standard of living. Instead of filling skills shortages in lower wage industries with higher skilled immigrants the authors suggest that higher productivity is the key, with a particular focus on filling labour gaps in science, technology, engineering and math skills will enhance productivity for the country.
As healthcare staffing shortages increase across the country, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada have been under pressure to streamline the assessment of internationally-trained physicians (ITPs). The College notes that a number of measures are in the works to remove barriers to licensing for ITPs by increasing its capacity for application reviews and to provide more flexibility for ITPs who don’t meet all the Canadian requirements to work in their fields. The College is also expanding the Practice Eligibility Route which can reduce wait times for ITPs to be approved to work in their area of expertise. However, critics argue that due to the long delays in assessment and the shortages of residencies available, Canada is losing ITPs to other countries. Furthermore, ITPs still face a significant barriers including discrimination and biases towards Canadian medical schools as well as limited number of residency positions open for those ITPs who may have decades of experience. In some cases, ITPs may spend more years proving their ability to work in their fields than graduates just out of medical school. In the end, Canadians will continue to face growing physician shortages and strained systems until better processes and procedures can be implemented.