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WES Weekly Roundup August 18, 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.

Temporary Foreign Program’s new Recognized Employer Pilot

The Recognized Employer Pilot (REP) program, beginning its first phase in September 2023, aims to ease the hiring processes for employers who have already been involved in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). Through REP, employers can access a simplified application process for LMIAs and hiring processes for temporary foreign workers. Employers must meet certain requirements to participate in REP, including having at least 3 positive Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA) and having a commitment to protecting workers. Employers can hire from occupations categorized as in-shortage and supported through the Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) data. The program will be introduced through two stages, with Phase 1 beginning in September 2023 for employers in the Primary Agriculture stream and Phase 2 in January 2024. Technical briefings on this process will be made available soon.

Hundreds of international students scrambling after Ontario college revokes acceptance letters

Over 500 international students, some already in Canada, face turmoil as Ontario's Northern College revoked admission offers to their affiliate, Pures College of Technology. Although Pures was willing to admit accepted students, Northern College retains decision-making authority and cited excess visa approvals for students with acceptance letters as the cause for overfilled courses. Affected students face an emotional and financial toll and are demanding solutions and accountability. Many are concerned their study permits may be in jeopardy. Critics highlight a flawed international enrolment strategy by the school and point to an overall exploitation of international students in Canada.

Resettlement Spotlight

Two years on, what has happened to Afghan evacuees?

Nearly two years after the Taliban takeover, hundreds of thousands of Afghan nationals continue to wait in limbo as they seek refuge abroad. Many have applied for temporary visas or permanent residency in receiving countries. Canada, only second after the United States (90,000) continues to play a crucial role in welcoming Afghan evacuees to safety, with roughly 32,000 having arrived out of a goal to resettle 40,000. Many Afghans who have fled to neighbouring countries continue to wait, at increasing risk of human rights abuses, reduced access to education and financial resources; often whilst navigating precarious immigration statuses and evacuation routes. Financial and natural disaster crises continue to add strain to an already volatile region, where according to the United Nations, only 23 percent of humanitarian response funds have been received. In addition to legal constraints, advocates cite that processing backlogs may also be fueled by a lack of political will amongst host country decision makers.

An Evaluation of Policy Responses to Refugee Resettlement in Rural Canada

Recent policy and service provision measures have enabled the resettlement of refugees in rural and smaller communities across Canada, despite long-standing trends of urban centre-focused settlement. Research indicates that avenues including private sponsorship models have facilitated refugee mobility and settlement into small centres. In these sponsorship models, access to critical services such as housing, language training, and career development is supported through community sponsors and informal networks - primarily during the first year of settlement. Skilled refugee newcomers are increasingly looked to as an emerging talent pool that remediate shortages in critical areas of the local workforce, increasing growth and innovation opportunities for region. In reviewing current methods, recommendations to accelerate successful resettlement and integration include:

  • Acknowledging that some refugees want to live in rural regions; scaling attraction and retention strategies.
  • Clarifying expectations for sponsors and volunteers
  • Improving and expanding settlement services
  • Involving provincial and territorial governments to address service gaps
  • Promoting welcoming communities and involving municipal Governments

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