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WES Weekly Roundup July 12, 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.

Ontario to require temporary foreign worker agencies, recruiters to be licensed starting Jan. 1 (CBC)

Ontario will now require temporary foreign worker agencies to have a license to operate beginning January 1, 2024. As a move to more adequately respond to claims of unethical practices including indecent wages and denial of employment rights, new licensing policies will require help agencies to provide letters of credit to repay owed wages and face penalties for violations against workers. The system will also allow employers to check an online database that will show whether an agency meets licensing requirements, as it will be illegal for employers to knowingly use unlicensed agencies. However, advocate have challenged the efficacy of the new policy, citing that the licensing system will hinge on the workers’ abilities to prove that they have been exploited by recruiters, which can be difficult to provide evidence for. As well, this system only applies to workers in the temporary foreign worker program, leaving out undocumented workers who may also be vulnerable to exploitation by temporary agencies; further heightening the risk of labour trafficking.

Canada announces First-Ever Express Entry invitations for French-speaking newcomers (IRCC)

Canada's Express Entry system will now provide a streamlined pathway for Francophone immigrants. This news comes after the May announcement that Canada will begin category-based selection for its Express Entry system. The first round of the Francophone category was announced by Minister of Official Languages Petitpas Taylor on July 7, 2023. By adding this category, Canada seeks to “support economic growth through Francophone immigration outside Quebec”, continue to meet the need for Francophone workers to support the Canadian economy, and enrich all communities through the contributions of Francophone immigrants. The category-based selections for the Express Entry system will go on throughout this year, including invitation rounds.

Settling In: Indicators of Immigrant Integration 2023 (OECD)

As part of the annual series assessing the integration of immigrants and their children; the most recent installment explores the socio-economic outcomes for immigrant communities within the EU and OECD. These regions are home to nearly 54 (EU) and 141 (OECD) million foreign-born residents, a nearly 20 percent increase within the last decade. For many countries who experienced challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, recovery has rebounded to pre-2020 levels. Economic trends indicate that immigrant populations are increasingly arriving to host countries with higher-education credentials and are more likely to be overqualified for available jobs. Overall, the share of highly educated immigrants increased by nearly 15 percent amongst OECD and EU countries. Across the OECD, nearly one in four young people under the age of 35 is either born abroad or has parents who were born abroad. Data related to the academic performance of children of immigrants indicate strong trends of inter-generational improvement, with notably lower gaps in educational attainment and advancements in the labour market.

Refugee Resettlement Spotlight

What Canada gets right (and wrong) in economic pathways for displaced talent (CERC)

Currently, the global level of displacement includes nearly 108 million individuals. The Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP) has enabled opportunities to scale the resettlement of skilled individuals with lived experience with displacement. Latest changes to the program highlight a broadened eligibility for employers and candidates; integration with regional programs including the Provincial Nominee Programs, Atlantic Immigration Program, and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot; and introduction of additional federal streams. While a comprehensive response to the growing number of displaced talents, significant barriers must be addressed in order to enable equitable access and facilitate long term success of the program. Key recommendations for 'equity-based' expansion of the EMPP include:

  • Maintaining basic safeguards for workers; ensuring participating employers are in good standing and offer prevailing wages.
  • Offering flexible language requirements; consider alternatives for proof of language and education through the expansion of assessment services such as the WES Gateway Program
  • Scaling investments in equitable access in practice for current and emerging talent pools; enhancing targeted outreach such as events and recruitment missions
  • Focusing on a 'cluster approach' that enables large scale recruitment and arrival support

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