The Canadian government has announced that it will make large investments into the immigration system and hinted that it will reform its popular Express Entry system.
These measures are in line with the government’s belief that immigration will act as a key driver toward Canada’s effort to ensure a robust economic recovery in the post-pandemic period, said Nicholas Avramis, a South African-based Canadian immigration consultant at Beaver Immigration.
Included in the change is a R5 billion investment to upgrade IT infrastructure and the Global Case Management System, which is used by the federal government to manage all immigration applications to Canada.
This major investment is needed as the federal government is now preparing for Canada’s fifth wave of mass immigration, said Avramis. Plus, there is a need for better screening of applicants, and improved processing times for all permanent resident applications, he said.
“With Canada welcoming a million new immigrants over the next few years, Avramis said that a more robust and dynamic system will be needed to handle the surge in applications.
“The current backlog in the system, due to the coronavirus, only made wait time longer for applicants. This is a big step in the right direction to make things fairer for immigrants.”
Changes to the express entry system
While no official policy announcement has been made by the government, there were suggestions made in the budget that the immigration minister requires more authority to ‘select those candidates who best meet Canada’s labour market needs’, said Avramis.
The Express Entry system – which is the points system that the government uses to select economic class immigrants, such as skilled workers – may see reforms to how points are allocated to applicants in the pool.
There is concern that the current scoring system is not allowing the type of workers that Canada needs to be selected out of the Express Entry pool, he said.
“With a surge in the number of applications in the Express Entry pool in the last two years, the low point cut-off score to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency has risen dramatically.”
This has served to make it harder for skilled workers in their mid-thirties to be selected out of the pool.
“This unintended consequence has created a bias toward younger skilled workers. However, the government knows that it needs more experienced skilled workers to enter Canada to fill in middle management roles.”
It is now believed that the Canadian government will also begin to award points based on specific job classifications or skills, rather than largely basing scoring on age, education, language proficiency and numbers of years worked, said Aramis.
“I believe one of the reasons they are making such a massive investment into their IT system is to create a dynamic system that allows them to easily calibrate the scoring system based on the exact type of skill set they are looking for based on what Canadian industry needs at any given time.
“For instance, one month there could be a need for electrical engineers with 10 years of work experience needed in the western part of the country, the next month there could be a shortage of teachers northern communities.”
Canada wants more women
One of the most interesting points highlighted in the budget was the fact that the number of males coming to Canada is outpacing the number of females, Avramis said.
“While it is not out of the realm of possibility for points to be awarded based on gender in the future, there is no doubt that we need more female newcomers to Canada as we have one of the lowest fertility rates among industrialized countries. This is a big problem,” Avramis said.
“One thing that is for certain is the Canadian government announced CAD $15 million (R175 million) in new initiatives aimed at helping to improve the employment outcomes and career advancement of newcomer women.”
While the timing of all these changes is uncertain, Avramis said that there will be without a doubt major changes made to overhaul the system at some point in the future as immigration will play a key role in Canada’s economic recovery.
“The best advice I can give to those interested in starting a new life in Canada is to start preparing for entry into the system now. The only guarantee I ever to a client is if you are not in the Express Entry pool, you will never be selected.”