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WES Weekly Roundup July 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.

Immigrants’ sense of belonging to Canada by province of residence (Statistics Canada)

A recent report released by Statistics Canada examines immigrants’ ‘sense of belonging’, assessing their experiences with social integration. Findings suggest that timing of arrival, size of local immigrant population, and immigration and settlement programming, significantly influences sense of belonging:

  • Recent immigrants may feel a weaker connection to Canada, resulting in provinces with higher levels of recent immigrants reporting lower levels of belonging to Canada.  
  • The size of immigrant population groups in different provinces can lead to different exclusionary experiences that impact an immigrant’s Canadian identity and sense of belonging.  
  • For immigrants who view their belonging through access to education and employment, provinces with higher levels of immigrants selected based on their educational and professional experiences report higher levels of belonging.  

Integration in areas such as employment, educational opportunities and economic diversity were found to influence the social integration and sense of belonging of immigrants across Canada. Sense of belonging is found to increase when immigrants can effectively contribute to the receiving country and are materially-secure themselves. Overall, the report finds that sense of belonging is strongest in Ontario and Atlantic provinces and weakest in British Columbia and Alberta. The report concludes that despite differences in sense of belonging across provinces, the strength of this is modestly impacted by province of residence. 

Minister Fraser launches Canada’s first-ever Tech Talent Strategy at Collision 2023 (IRCC)

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser announced the launch of Canada’s first Tech Talent Strategy. The new program includes improvements on pre-existing measures as well as new attraction measures:

  • An open work permit stream for those holding H-1B specialty occupation visas in the US so they can apply for Canadian work permits alongside permit options for accompanying family members  
  • The development of the Innovation Stream under the International Mobility Program to attract ‘highly talented individuals’, which includes work permits of up to 5 years 
  • Expanding the Start-up Visa Program in terms of available spots, the duration of work permits, number of team members able to take on open work permits, and prioritizing applications that have ‘capital committed’  

With the launch of the Tech Talent Strategy, Canada seeks to further its reach as an emerging leader in global tech talent recruitment.

Canada announces new immigration stream specific to health workers (IRCC)

The Canadian federal government recently announced a new stream through the Express Entry selection process for internationally educated health care workers. "Today's announcement will facilitate, fast-track and streamline permanent residency applications and help improve health workforce recruitment efforts by bringing more qualified health professionals into Canada", according to Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser. Through a staggered program launch, 500 internationally educated health professionals (IEHPs) will be invited to apply for permanent residency in Canada, with 1500 by next week.

Under this schema, IEHPs including doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, and optometrists will be invited to apply, as Canada continues to grapple with chronic staffing shortages and health human resource challenges. An estimated 6 million Canadians are without a family doctor and this situation is expected to become even more dire. Within the next five years, Canada is expected to be short some 44,000 doctors including 30,000 family physicians and general practitioners, by 2028. Between 2017 and 2022, Canada welcomes around 21,000 health-care workers - a rate of just over 4,000 workers a year. IRCC cites that Canada will set additional targets to welcome 8,000 IEHPs each year. Although this is a critical step, longstanding issues including inadequate recognition of credentials earned abroad still need to be addressed at the provincial/territorial level. WES continues to remain actively engaged on these issues and advocate towards ending the underutilization of IEHPs. See recent initiatives here.

Refugee Resettlement Spotlight

Improving Stakeholder Coordination in Refugee Resettlement (Migration Policy Institute)

Refugee resettlement programs are increasingly established to keep pace with the growing number of displacement crises globally. In 2022, 22 countries welcomed refugees through resettlement channels, but only 7 - The United States, Canada, Germany, Sweden, France, Australia, and Norway - together, welcomed nearly 88 percent of all refugees resettled within that year. Despite the greatest efforts of non-governmental actors and resettlement countries, progress has been impacted by several factors including migration disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency pathway development in response to support Ukrainian evacuees, and challenges to establishing effective coordination between multiple stakeholders. As a result, the number of individuals resettled is increasingly lower than the number of reported displaced individuals for a given year. For example, the UNHCR identified nearly 1.47 million individuals as in need of resettlement, yet only 58,457 (less than four percent) were able to evacuate to a third country following UNHCR referrals. Ensuring that all stakeholders: different levels of government, international organizations, civil society, and community-based actors are in direct collaboration is essential to ensuring the efficacy of resettlement programming. Addressing key challenges to multistakeholder coordination such as differing goals, rapidly changing geo-political landscape, and capacity constraints would enable a streamlined approach to program development and execution.

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