How Canada Raises the Bar for Attracting Foreign Skilled Talent

Canada is eager to bring in skilled talent through several programs that make the immigration process easier.

According to an article from Bloomberg, Canada took in 425,000 people in 2018, boosting population growth to a three-decade high of 1.4%. Canada boasts a strong economy and a progressive immigration system, and as a result, the Canadian government predicts that by 2031, over half of all working-age people in the country will have been born overseas. The article notes that this growth is a result of Canada’s desire for skilled talent. Large companies such as Amazon have benefitted from the influx of talented foreigners and has created 10,000 jobs in Canada.

Canada boasts a strong economy and a progressive immigration system, and as a result, the Canadian government predicts that by 2031, over half of all working-age people in the country will have been born overseas.

Essential to this growth are immigration programs that make for simplified and expeditious migration to the country for those with special skills. For instance, the Skilled Worker category is a visa program intended for people with high levels of skills and experience, while the Canadian Business Immigration category is designed to attract skilled businesspeople to Canada. The Provincial Nominee Program helps employers in Quebec and other provinces hire migrant workers to meet their needs.

In an effort to overhaul immigration and work permit rules, in January 2015 Canada launched the Express Entry system for hiring skilled long term workers, and also reformed the rules for hiring temporary workers. The Express Entry system allows employers to select potential employees from a pool of candidates. The potential immigrants are then ranked according to factors such as their skills, work experience, language ability (English and French), and education. Candidates may come to the country even faster through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program while they wait for their Express Entry application to be processed.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP) are two similar visa categories that allow employers to hire migrant workers to fill short term labor and skill shortages. A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is used to determine which program to use, and the job must meet certain conditions under three programs: the Federal Skill Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, or the Canadian Experience Class. It is also important to note that under the TFWP program, dependent family members must make their own visa applications, but the main candidate's status may help, especially if they're highly skilled and will be working in Canada for 6 months or more.

In Canada’s provinces, innovative immigration programs for skilled workers also exist. For example, the Entrepreneur Immigration (EI) Regional Pilot program is for foreign entrepreneurs who want to establish a new business in a smaller, regional community in British Columbia. Since March of this year, multiple communities with less than 75,000 people located more than 30 km away from an urban center qualify for this program. Similarly, the Quebec Skilled Worker Program recently invited foreign workers to apply to the program as part of its effort to bring more skilled talent to Quebec.

Managers working with transferees within Canada’s immigration system will benefit greatly from the programs in place. These programs represent Canada’s openness to skilled talent. They allow managers to mobilize skilled talent with relative quickness and ease, making Canada a great destination for transferring talent.

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