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WES Weekly Roundup June 13, 2023

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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.

What’s the right number of immigrants for Canada? (Globe and Mail)

While the federal government has built aggressive national immigration targets of nearly half a million immigrants each year, a growing number of critics are challenging this approach. Three academic economists – Matthew Doyle and Mikal Skuterud (University of Waterloo) and Christopher Worswick (Carleton University) - are digging deeper into issues around Canada's immigration policies and targets. They argue that policy makers are mistaken to conclude “that if some immigration is good for the economy, then more must be better.” Additionally they stress for a more equitable and inclusive approach to immigration that the fairest most reasonable indicator is via the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. Research has exemplified that measures of GDP per capita are closely tied to feelings of well-being and life satisfaction. Therefore, if immigration boosts the GDP then it would indicate benefits to the nation as a whole. Looking at evidence for both Canada and the U.S. the researchers found either a negative relationship or no relationship between high periods of immigration flows and subsequent growth in GDP per capita. They recommend that Ottawa focus on admitting immigrants with higher levels of skills and education than it is currently targeting. The goal should be to select immigrants who can earn at least as much if not more than the average Canadian within 10 years of arrival, and over time, this policy should boost the GDP per capita. Finally, the authors argue that Canada’s current environment is placing strains on the public healthcare and education system as well as the housing sector and these all indicate more reasons to be cautious about setting high targets for economic immigration.

Canada opens new economic immigration streams for skilled refugees and other displaced people (IRCC)

The Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP) is an immigration program that creates opportunities for skilled refugees and other displaced individuals to use their education, training and experience to continue their careers in Canada. IRCC Minister Sean Fraser just announced a new EMPP stream. Among the streams, one tailored to candidates who have a job offer from a Canadian employer (EMPP Federal Skills Job Offer Stream). Under this stream Canadian employers can hire candidates in a range of in-demand occupations such as personal support workers, software engineers and truck and delivery service drivers and the educational credential assessment (ECA) is waived. The new stream (EMPP Federal Skills Without a Job Offer Stream) is available to highly-skilled refugees without job offers and it recognizes that certain candidates have skills that have enough demand that they will find work after arriving in Canada. Under this new pathway since individuals are without a job offer, an ECA is still required.

Free replacement documents for Canadians and special measures for people affected by severe wildfires (IRCC)

With the unprecedented number of wildfires across Canada this spring, IRCC Minister Sean Fraser announced special measures for people who have been impacted. IRCC will issue free replacement documents for Canadians, permanent residents (PR) and temporary residents directly affected by the wildfires. This includes PR cards, Canadian citizenship certificates, passports and other travel documents that have been lost, damaged, destroyed or are inaccessible. For international students, temporary workers and other visitors directly affected by the wildfires and whose status expires by September 30, 2023, they will also be eligible to apply, restore or extend their status in Canada free of charge. These special measures will be in effect until September 30, 2023.

Refugee Resettlement Spotlight

Ukrainians sheltering in Canada hit hard by tuition fees (University World News)

Many Ukrainian students who arrived in Canada through the CUAET program are faced with having to pay international tuition and other fees due their temporary status. Through the CUAET, individuals seeking refuge in Canada were provided a one-time non-taxable support grant of CAD $3000 per adult and $1500 per child under 17 - also the right to apply for study and work permits. As they are not categorized as refugees, the program, however, does not cover tuition and other academic related fees. Unlike laws and protocol in place for refugee claimants stating that refugees must pay domestic tuition rates, it remains unclear on what rates Ukrainian students are expected to pay. Four of Canada's western provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) which are home to nearly 1.35 million residents of the Ukrainian diaspora have announced that starting September, Ukrainian students would be paying domestic fees. However, Ontario, Canada's largest province has not yet provided any special provisions.

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