The great push for skilled foreign immigration in Canada is based on the premise of fulfilling labour shortages and increasing population growth.
With the latest statistics in the picture, Immigrants now make up nearly a quarter of Canada’s workforce. A majority of them work in food manufacturing and essential services like nursing and residential care facilities.
Such foreign immigrants are eligible to apply for permanent residence either directly or indirectly mostly based on their work experience and language proficiency.
Where Canadian-born workers generally avoid essential occupations, the demand for such occupations keeps rising. These positions are thus filled by newcomers, even though they may be overqualified. Nearly 40 per cent of newcomers who work as childcare providers and support workers have university degrees and are deemed overqualified for the job.
One of the main reasons for this is that Canada has a number of immigration pathways for workers in “skilled occupations” but does not always include jobs that are in-demand.
Here is where Canada is showing potential to improve immigrant outcomes and fill labour gaps in essential services like nursing and residential care services. This could be of interesting read for aspiring foreign healthcare professionals who are willing to work & settle in Canada.
Dedicated Permanent Residency Pathways & Data-Driven Approach for Essential Workers
The report suggests rolling out more permanent residence pathways dedicated to essential workers to overcome the problem of overqualification.
This is in favour of the government as underemployed immigrants do not make the best use of their education and skills, lower earnings, career prospects, and thus, limiting their economic contributions to the country.
With dedicated PR pathways for essential care, foreign workers will have a better shot at permanent residency and escape underemployment.
Applying for a temporary work permit in Canada under the International Mobility Program exempts employers to conduct Labour Market Impact Assessment (LIMA). This is beneficial for essential workers, mainly in the healthcare field.
The report suggests making IMP more data-driven. This would help researchers understand which groups work in which occupations and sectors, under what conditions, through which immigration pathways, and where the change is needed. These efforts could help inform immigration policy, and targeted policies for sectors and occupations.
Co-ordinated Approach for Credential Recognition
The report has highlighted the ill-effects of poor Credential recognition of newcomers in Canada.
It is linked to overqualification and underemployment among new immigrants. The credential recognition process is complex, lengthy, and costly. It prevents immigrants from working in jobs they might be otherwise qualified for, such as the qualified nurse who is working as a nurse’s aide.
“The government needs a coordinated response to this intricate web of challenges that requires close collaboration with employers, regulators, and other relevant bodies”, as mentioned in the report.
The above suggestions are taken from the recent study called Valued Workers, Valuable Work: The Current and Future Role of (Im)migrant Talent, and it is written by Dr Yilmaz Dinc.
The current state of Canadian Immigration for healthcare workers & other essential workers is positive. Canada is keen on fulfilling over 60 per cent of its exuberant immigration target of 1.2 million new immigrants by 2023 only through economic-class programs.
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