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WES Weekly Roundup November 22, 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.

Canada needs a lot more immigrants, almost double the current rate in the long run: RBC (National Post)

In a recent economic update, the Royal Bank of Canada analyzed the current state and future needs of Canada's immigration policy. They spoke of the Level’s Plan announcement by the Canadian government, which discussed future immigration targets, which are set to welcome 485,000 newcomers in 2024, then will plateau at 500,000 for the subsequent two years. This approach signifies a halt in the previous immigration target trends, which have been consistently rising since 2020. RBC discusses this change, stating that Canada's existing immigration rate, standing at 1.3 percent of the population annually, falls short of the necessary 2.1 percent needed to ensure a balanced demographic structure. They acknowledge that challenges posed by Canada's housing and infrastructure crisis may have had an influence on the government's Levels Plan announcement and immigration strategy. The report also discussed the notable shift observed in the recent influx of temporary residents, which has surpassed permanent immigration for the first time in decades. It was stated that there is now a need for a re-evaluation of the balance between these two groups. Looking to the future, RBC advises that Canada needs to increase its immigration intake to maintain a demographic equilibrium. They also suggest a more nuanced approach to selecting immigrants, advocating for a focus beyond highly educated individuals to include those with a broader range of skills and potential for long-term economic contribution. The report concludes with a generally positive view of Canada's current immigration figures but underscores the importance of strategic, forward-thinking planning to maximize the benefits of immigration.

Opinion: Competency-based approach will modernize immigration system (Calgary Herald)

This article, by Gary Mar and Janet Lane from the Canada West Foundation, discusses Canada's plans to modernize its immigration system through a competency-based approach, as outlined in “An Immigration System for Canada’s Future”. This initiative is in response to increasing immigration pressures in Canada, particularly in Alberta, where challenges in health, education, and housing infrastructure are becoming more evident. Part of the strategy includes a tech talent program and a digital nomad visa which will aim to attract skilled workers in technology fields without requiring the prerequisite of a job offer. Additionally, a significant focus will be on reforming the system of foreign credential recognition, which currently has an impact on immigrants’ decisions to stay in Canada, as it was described as inefficient, costly, and discriminatory. The plan also proposes the appointment of a chief international talent officer to oversee the recruitment and assessment of immigrants based on their competencies. This competency-based approach is intended to ensure a better match between immigrants' skills and the needs of the Canadian job market, benefiting not only new immigrants but also existing residents and Canadian-born individuals. Mar and Lane emphasize the need for modernizing recruitment tools to improve application processes and make Canada an attractive destination for global talent.

Climate Migration 101: An Explainer (MPI)

While environmental factors have always influenced human mobility, the escalation of global climate change is intensifying both internal and international migration, and displacement. Climate change-related movements are most frequently internal and temporary. The likelihood of migration depends on communities' vulnerability and access to resources. Slow, gradual climate impacts like hotter temperatures and rising sea-levels can prompt migration, with the most vulnerable often having the fewest options. Climate change, while a factor in migration, is often not the primary reason for people relocating, as environmental factors are usually secondary to economic imperatives. This complexity in migration drivers leads to misconceptions, especially in popular discussions, where the extent of climate-induced migration is frequently overestimated. There's no consensus on who counts as a climate migrant, and legal categories for climate refugees don't exist. The article mentions that migration often contributes to the solution, aiding in adaptation to climate change and contributing to the green economy in destination countries, with the provision of labour and expertise for these fields. Looking ahead, as climate change exacerbates the frequency and severity of disasters, it's likely to increase migration, especially if combined with economic and other challenges. The future trajectory of climate-induced migration, particularly whether it leads to unsafe, unplanned, or irregular migration, will largely depend on how governments adapt to climate change and whether they can provide legal pathways and adequate support systems to assist those needing to relocate.

Ottawa opens applications to humanitarian pathway for 11,000 migrants from Haiti, Venezuela, Colombia (Globe & Mail)

The Canadian government's recent initiative to open applications for a humanitarian pathway for 11,000 migrants from Haiti, Venezuela, and Colombia represents a significant development in its approach to migration and refugee issues. This program, specifically targeting these countries, acknowledges the challenging circumstances that compel individuals to seek refuge abroad, including socio-political unrest, economic hardships, and human rights violations. The structured application process indicates a commitment to a systematic and fair evaluation of each case, balancing the need for security and thoroughness with humanitarian considerations. The positive reception of this move by migrant rights advocacy groups suggests that it aligns with broader humanitarian values and the advocacy for compassionate treatment of migrants and refugees. These groups often emphasize the importance of fair treatment and support for individuals fleeing difficult situations, and their support for this initiative indicates its alignment with these principles. However, such programs are not without challenges. They require efficient processing of applications, fair assessment of individual circumstances, and successful integration of migrants into Canadian society, all while maintaining a balance between domestic concerns and international humanitarian obligations. This development reflects Canada's ongoing commitment to upholding international humanitarian standards and its role in the global community as a nation willing to provide refuge to those in dire need.

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