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.
Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is changing immigration requirements for Hong Kongers seeking permanent residency in Canada. Beginning August 15, immigrants from Hong Kong with Canadian work experience will no longer need to meet educational requirements to qualify for permanent residency. As cited by Parliamentary Secretary Paul Chiang, IRCC believes that this policy revision will allow Canada to bring in more individuals with Canadian work experience and help fill labour gaps. Importantly, this change occurs as the Canadian government condemned Hong Kong authorities for issuing arrest warrants against eight pro-democracy activists. This change will occur through the expansion of Stream B, one of two pathways created specifically for Hong Kong immigrants pursuing permanent residency in Canada. Originally, Stream B is for those who have graduated from a Canadian or qualified foreign school in the last five years and worked either full-time for at least one year or part-time for 1560 hours in Canada within the last three years. Changes to Stream B mean that immigrants from Hong Kong no longer need to have graduated from an institution in the last five years—they only need to meet the Canadian work experience requirements. Ultimately, this revision is creating changes to the overall migration environment for immigrants from Hong Kong as new migrant communities will begin to develop.
Discourse over the necessity of Canadian work experience for internationally trained engineers (ITEs) has been increasing as Professional Engineers Ontario’s Canadian work experience requirement to competency-based assessments (CBA). Given recent policy changes, advocates including Roydon Fraser, president of Professional Engineers Ontario, cite the need to amplify existing research to support the successes of CBA programs as seen in other provinces. According to Mark Fewer, CEO and registrar of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists Newfoundland & Labrador, based on the proposed model, a competency-based framework will enable ITEs with no Canadian work experience to demonstrate their understanding and abilities while familiarizing themselves with codes and practices applicable to Canada, ensuring safety and efficacy. Experts on CBA implementation suggest that ITEs can create similarity-based comparisons between their own experiences and Canadian standards. Although meant to facilitate the inclusion of ITEs, even with the elimination of the Canadian work experience requirement, many continue to face difficulties in their pathways to certification primarily in the areas of international credential recognition and extensive application review and approval processes.
The Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) has provided pathways to protection for nearly 166,000 Ukrainians since the program launch in March 2022 and is set to expire this month. Ukrainians were granted enhanced temporary status; allowing for prioritized and accelerated visa processing, waived fees, and eligibility to live, work, and study in Canada for up to three years. Now, IRCC is winding down CUAET, and simultaneously launching a pathway to permanent residency. Under this pathway, eligibility will be extended to Ukrainians living in Canada with temporary status through the CUAET and with one or more family members in Canada. Additional details on the program are expected closer the anticipated launch date, October 23, 2023. Individuals currently approved for the CUAET, can travel to Canada until March 31, 2024, and will be subject to standard immigration measures after this date.
As policy makers grapple with the growing number of displacement crises worldwide, comprehensive solutions are more urgent than ever. A promising but rather underutilized practice is directly engaging with individuals with lived refugee/displacement experience to better ensure that their perspectives and expertise are reflected in shared program design and implementation; meaningfully enhancing policy response. While often acknowledged as a recommended practice, additional effort and evidence is needed to better understand goals of refugee participation, best-practices, and how to remove barriers that hinder success. Refugee participation initiatives take diverse forms, varying based on the degree of engagement, number/type of stakeholders, timeline, and desired outcomes. Common frameworks may include consultative engagement on an ad hoc basis with refugees and/led organizations; refugee- led/centered advisory boards; and professional appointment of individuals with lived experience in displacement. To meaningfully engage with individuals with lived refugee and displacement experience, policy makers must be ready to move towards strategies that favor co- design and ownership and shifting decision making power. This will require leaving behind practices that foster symbolism, tokenism, and performative action.
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