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WES Weekly Roundup June 6, 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.

Canada launches new immigration program to fill ‘in-demand’ jobs (The Star)

IRCC Minister Sean Fraser recently announced the launch of the first category-based selection for Canada’s Express Entry program. The category-based draws will allow Canada to issue invitations to apply to prospective immigrants based on specific skills, training or language ability. This year, invitations will focus on individuals who have a strong proficiency in the French language or work experience in

  1. health care,
  2. science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professions,
  3. trades sector such as carpenters, plumbers and contractors,
  4. transport or
  5. agriculture and agri-food.

The job categories were decided through public consultations and a review of the country’s labour market needs. A complete list of eligible jobs for the new categories can be found here.

In June 2022, legislative changes were made to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act were made to allow for the selection of immigrants based on key attributes that support the nation’s economic priorities. This allows the Minister of Immigration to establish new categories in consultation with the public. Each year, IRCC must also report to Parliament of the categories chosen in the previous year, the selection process and the rationale for choosing them. Regular draws are conducted to invite those with the highest scores to apply for immigration however under the new category-based system, individuals who meet the criteria cannot be invited if they don't meet the minimum score indicated. Additionally, under the targeted draws, candidates must have at least six months or more of work experience over the last three years in one of the specified occupations in-demand.

Do university-educated immigrants recover economically from a slow start? (Statistics Canada)

Canada is a hotspot for highly skilled immigrants looking to achieve their academic and professional goals. Early research indicates that their selection is due in part to the perception of their ability to integrate and adapt to fluctuations in Canada's labour market; experiencing better economic outcomes than those who are lower skilled. More recent data, however, demonstrates that university educated immigrants have experienced slower starts to their economic journey in Canada during the initial years following arrival. Whether they outperform those that are less educated remains unclear. Longitudinal Immigration Database data indicates that highly educated principal applicants who immigrated at 20-44 during 1990-2014, earned less than principal applicants with a high school education or less. This gap however reduces considerably with years since migration, with the gap being eliminated by the seventh and eighth year after migration. Researchers have pointed to factors not examined in the report that may influence these outcomes: unobserved characteristics such as motivation and interpersonal skills, quality of university education or job; inability to sufficiently improve human capital through upskilling or training; possible scarring impacts of lower quality work in initial years.

The Education-Immigration Nexus: Situating Canadian Higher Education as Institutions of Immigrant Recruitment (Journal of International Migration and Integration)

Policy changes in the early 2000s and Canada’s official International Education Strategy in 2014 have contributed to the shift of international students to the country. As the number of international students in Canada increase each year, this article examines the roles and responsibilities that higher education institutions possess in the multi-step immigration pathways of their students. In 2015-16 there was a substantial increase of 14.4% of international student enrolments in Canada. By 2018, international students for close to 170,000 jobs and $21.6 billion of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). Admissions numbers are determined by post-secondary institutions and are rarely influenced by the higher education sector or provincial and federal governments but instead based on the institution itself. The authors stress that it is unclear what the actual objective of the immigration policy is as it relates to international students. The current state of affairs suggests that additional pathways and requirements placed on international students remain a mechanism for control over this unregulated, uncapped territory brought about by higher education institutions. Consequently, these authors emphasize that higher education institutions need to reimagine their role in student success post-graduation. Firstly, they need to accept that a proportion of international students intend to immigrate to Canada. Secondly, as part of their supports to students, post-secondary institutions need to ensure that these high paying students have better knowledge about the immigration process involved, finances needed, challenges and chances of permanent residency prior to arrival. This will mean a shift in international student supports needed, a multi-stakeholder approach that includes settlement and employment services throughout the individual’s journey. Reframing these perspectives places additional accountability on higher education institutions, government and communities to play a stronger role in supporting the success of international students in Canada.

Refugee Resettlement Spotlight

Mapping of complementary labour and education pathways for people in need of protection (ICMPD)

Complementary pathways are gaining popularity for their ability to enhance international responses to global displacement crises. Many traditional or long-term programs have focused on providing pathways for specific professions and educational streams, while others have been pilots launched by countries in tandem with non-governmental organizations to provide short-term protection for those seeking refuge abroad. The recent displacement of Ukrainians has created an impetus for the creation and expansion of key programs following the Syrian refugee crisis. This resource maps several existing programs and those under development that facilitate the mobility and protection of displaced individuals. Although focused on systems in Europe and North America, partnerships in other regions are explored. Common complementary pathway frameworks include:

  • Funding sourced from philanthropy, higher educational institutions, and governments;
  • Top-down to bottom-up approaches to governance;
  • Private or community-based sponsorship elements;
  • A duration of 6 months to 2 years, with possibility for expansion.

Regardless of their design, complementary pathways serve as critical steppingstones for sustainable ways to support the most vulnerable facing displacement.

Further Reading:

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