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WES Weekly Roundup April 24, 2024

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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.

Supporting Self-Sufficiency: Considerations for Refugees’ Transition out of Sponsorship and Complementary Pathways Programs (MPI)

Countries have supported the development of comprehensive humanitarian pathways to ensure the protection of displaced individuals globally. However, experts warn that additional focus needs to be placed on supporting refugees' transitions out of programming towards sustainable integration and independence. Research indicates that a number of key factors may impact or complicate this transition, including misconceptions about the pre- and post-arrival sponsorship processes, services, and responsibilities depending on program type; balancing refugee self-sufficiency and wellness needs; as well as limited local infrastructure such as housing supports, education, and career services. To better support and empower refugees and sponsors in complimentary pathways, an adequate transition plan may prioritize the following:

  • Promote realistic expectations among both refugees and volunteers about program supports and outcomes, and set clear guidelines for success;
  • Aid volunteers in equipping refugees for self-sufficiency long-term through information provision, toolkits, and support groups, and define these priorities throughout transition;
  • Advocate for increased partnership among stakeholders and enable access to local services and culturally informed support within communities.

Canada must be more audacious with efforts to attract global talent (Policy Options)

Canada's success as diverse country has historically been bolstered by high levels of immigration, supported by positive public attitudes and a well-established multiculturalism policy. However, recent shifts in public perception due to issues like housing shortages, international students, and economic pressures have sparked debates about the optimal number and impact of immigrants. In 2023, the surge in international students has increasingly been linked to exacerbating the housing crisis, prompting the federal government to cap visa applications for the next two years. This decision underscores the challenges of balancing welcoming new residents while managing limited resources effectively. Advocates, such as the Century Initiative, are calling to double Canada's population by 2100 through increased immigration, citing Canada’s need to remain in global competition to attract highly skilled talent. This is crucial as sectors such as technology, science, and entrepreneurship increasingly depend on exceptional individuals who can drive innovation and economic growth. However, programs aimed at attracting these talents, like the start-up visa program and the Canada Research Chairs Program, have faced criticism for their lack of efficacy and lengthy processing times, reflecting a need for more robust and effective immigration policies. Internationally, countries like the United States and Germany have made significant strides in attracting skilled professionals through targeted immigration policies. This international context highlights the urgency for Canada to enhance its strategies to remain competitive in attracting global talent. Without proactive and adaptive policies, Canada risks falling behind, highlighting the importance of not only maintaining but also enhancing its attractiveness as a destination for the world’s most skilled and innovative minds.

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This demographic has been losing ground in Canada for decades. Now tens of thousands of immigrants are helping reverse the trend (The Star)

The federal government has begun to set in place several measures to facilitate attracting and retaining francophone immigrants across the country. Since introducing category-based selection in June 2023, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada has invited 19,700 people to apply for permanent residency based on their French language skills - more than other new categories for selection (STEM, healthcare, transport, trades, and agriculture, etc.). While the federal government urges that these decisions are meant to alleviate labour shortages and support francophone communities outside of Quebec, critics argue that these policies may set those coming through francophone streams up for lower earnings long-term and overlook individuals with higher scores. In addition to these concerns, the federal government has also come under fire by the government of Quebec for current temporary residence policies. Quebec urges that although the province is open to supporting individuals seeking asylum, recent influxes of temporary residents including work permit holders, international students, and refugee claimants have outpaced service capacity. IRCC says that it will continue to utilize the Express Entry system to boost francophone immigration, with a 6 percent target allocated to French speakers outside of Quebec. This target is set to rise to 8 percent by 2026.

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