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WES Weekly Roundup August 30, 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.

Internationally educated health care professionals in Canada: Sociodemographic characteristics and occupational distribution (Stats Canada)

Statistics Canada has released a new study that provides a statistical snapshot of internationally educated health professionals (IEHPs) in Canada, highlighting sociodemographic characteristics and geographic distribution. This study is the result of a proposal by WES to Statistics Canada, Health Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), and IRCC to leverage 2021 Census data to establish a better statistical overview of IEHPs in Canada and inform health workforce planning.

The study both highlights the contributions of IEHPs in Canada’s health care workforce and illustrates the extent of skills underutilization for this population. It shows that nearly half of all IEHPs reside in Ontario, and that a significant proportion of IEHPs trained as nurses, physicians, pharmacists, and dentists are not working in their respective fields. The short article is a brief version of the full-length report, scheduled to be released in late 2023. The article cites a WES scan on recent provincial initiatives supporting IEHPs.

Refugees in limbo because of growing use of tool to strip permanent residency (Policy Options)

The use of cessation, a legal process introduced in 2012, is leading to the unjust revocation of protected status for refugees in Canada. This process, intended to prevent fraud within the refugee system, allows former refugees who have been granted permanent residency (PR) to have their refugee and PR status stripped. Reasons for this may include travel back to their country of origin. While Canada is not alone in having such a policy, the cessation process contradicts the country’s reputation for fair asylum assessment and puts these migrants at risk. It is argued that if former refugees with PR status are indeed considered permanent residents, the government should repeal the law to reflect this and avoid subjecting refugees to indefinite limbo.

Quebec rejects cap on student visas floated by Ottawa to address housing crisis (Globe and Mail)

The federal government is exploring options to tackle the longstanding housing crisis - including a cap on the number of international students Canada admits annually. The number of international students in Canada skyrocketed past 800,000 in 2022 and projected to reach 900,000 by the end of this year. The potential limit on international student admissions has drawn mixed reviews from the public, raising concern amongst higher-ed and local government officials. While IRCC is "strongly considering" the cap on international students, representatives from the government of Quebec urge that the province would not implement such a cap on their institutional admissions. According to the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs, on behalf of their provinces, premiers have not raised the need for a cap on students coming from abroad. Similarly, Colleges and Institutes Canada responded in a statement citing that the organization is "troubled" by the suggestion of a cap and caution that while the policy may appear to provide temporary relief, it may instead leave lasting adverse effects on communities and exacerbate current labour shortages primarily in construction and skilled trades.

More Canadian agricultural producers denounce 'mass' foreign worker application rejections (National Post)

Canadian agricultural producers are alarmed by the surge in rejections of temporary foreign worker applications by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Rejections are often related to concerns about the applicants' ability to perform the job or the existence of "family ties" within Canada, even though these ties may not be valid. The issue is particularly affecting Vietnamese applicants, and most rejections are overturned on appeal. The temporary foreign worker program in Canada is considered outdated by some, especially given the introduction of the Agri-Food immigration pilot, which offers a pathway to permanent residence for qualified non-seasonal agricultural workers. Errors by IRCC officers in processing applications are exacerbating the problem and causing delays. About 35% of Canadian farms employ temporary foreign workers. The agricultural sector faces a 5.4% job vacancy rate, with provinces like Ontario and British Columbia experiencing higher rates. The high rejection rates affect year-round farming and are leading to crop losses and reduced productivity.

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