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WES Weekly Roundup April 3, 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.

Canada’s productivity ‘emergency’ and the role immigrants play (Financial Post)

Canada is grappling with a productivity challenge, with a significant part of the discourse centered on its dependence on temporary residents to supplement its workforce. This reliance has not translated into expected gains in labour productivity, which has seen minimal increases in recent quarters, alongside a decline in GDP per capita in most of the same period. The Bank of Canada has emphasized the need for urgent measures to enhance efficiency and safeguard against future inflation risks. In response, the government has introduced measures to limit the number of temporary residents, with the intention of motivating businesses to explore technological investments over lower-cost labour solutions. This decision, however, has sparked concerns among sectors that have traditionally relied on newcomers to address workforce shortages. Reports from Statistics Canada indicate a shift in the employment landscape, with immigrants increasingly occupying both high-skill professional roles and, simultaneously, more low-skill positions. This dual trend poses potential risks to their economic well-being and their ability to contribute positively to economic growth. Experts advocate for a comprehensive strategy to lift Canada's productivity, suggesting improvements in the business investment environment and a focus on attracting highly skilled immigrants. Recommendations also include capitalizing on sectors with high productivity outputs and fostering skill development among workers.

The expansion and changing characteristics of the Provincial Nominee Program (Stats Can)

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), established across Canadian provinces (excluding Quebec) and territories from 1998 to 2005, has markedly transformed economic immigration in Canada. Initially aimed at redistributing immigrants beyond the major cities to address regional labour needs, the PNP now accounts for 40 per cent of all economic immigrants as of 2023, overshadowing the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) which declined from 79 per cent in 2000 to 13 per cent in 2023. The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) plays a significant role in Canada's economic immigration landscape, adapting to the varied labour needs across provinces and focusing on nominees with Canadian work or study experience to address economic integration challenges. Research highlights the significant shifts in the program's demographics, with a marked increase in nominees previously working as temporary foreign workers, from 6 per cent in 2000 to 61 per cent in 2019. The program has also influenced the occupational landscape, with more nominees entering technical roles rather than professional ones. Interestingly, while provincial nominees initially out-earned FSWP immigrants, recent cohorts have seen a reversal, with provincial nominees earning less in the initial years after arrival. These developments reflect the PNP's evolving role in meeting the diverse labour and demographic needs of Canada's provinces and territories.

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Ukrainians no longer eligible to enter Canada under CUAET special measures (CIC)

Ukrainians on temporary visas in Canada are struggling to secure suitable jobs and afford living expenses, as their qualifications often don't match Canadian standards. This, coupled with an overwhelmed immigration system due to rising asylum claims, complicates their situation, making it challenging to achieve financial stability. Adding to these challenges, the special measures of the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) program concluded on March 31, 2024. This marked the end of the streamlined process for Ukrainians to enter Canada, compelling those seeking to stay longer or transition to permanent residency to navigate the standard Canadian immigration pathways. The closure of CUAET's special provisions also signified the final chance for Ukrainians in Canada to apply for extensions or changes to their temporary status under this program, including applying for open work permits and study permits. Initially, CUAET had offered a fee-exempt pathway for temporary residency, including eligibility for open work permits. With the end of CUAET, Ukrainians interested in remaining in Canada must now adhere to general entry requirements and explore other immigration options such as the Express Entry system, family sponsorship, and provincial nominee programs. This shift necessitates a new approach for Ukrainians in Canada, away from the emergency measures previously in place, towards engaging with Canada's broader immigration framework.

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