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Students and Businesses To Benefit From Recent Legislative Reform

Students and Businesses To Benefit From Recent Legislative Reform

In the past three weeks, the Canadian Government, specifically Finance Minister Bill Moreau and Citizenship and Immigration Minister John McCallum, have released two initiatives that help both businesses and students flourish. Morneau’s Global Skills Strategy is geared to restart the tech industry, which has fallen victim to sluggish immigration policies, and McCallum has revamped the Express Entry application for permanent residency. These changes are making Canada more accessible for students and businesses alike.

The Global Skills Strategy, announced by Finance Minister Bill Morneau two weeks before the reforms to Express Entry will be put to work, is seen as a “measure to lure more foreign cash and talent to Canada as it tries to dig the country out of a slow-growth trap” (McKenna), by making it easier for tech firms and MNCs operating in Canada to bring in foreign workers through a fast track visa application. For the domestic tech industry, which has recently flourished, the G.S.S is a welcome change from the otherwise slow moving immigration protocols that has limited their access to foreign talent. Previously, it would have taken six months to a year for skilled workers to be able to enter Canada, and for many in the industry, this stagnates development and thus made them less competitive to both domestic and foreign companies.

These changes, which go into effect on November 19th 2016, will generally affect two swaths of people: international students who obtained their degrees at a Canadian institution and skilled workers who are applying with a job offer. Under Express Entry, applicants are evaluated through points under the Comprehensive Ranking System, which were rewarded for: English and/ or French proficiency, educational level and, in the case of skilled workers applying, either work experience or a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Under the new system, the requirements stay the same, but they are now stressed to varying degrees, as the allocation of points has changed. Through express entry, an applicant’s ranking is registered into the Canada Job Bank where potential employers can view and assess them. From there, if they are selected, they are issued an Invitation to Apply from which they have 90 days to apply for permanent residency under the Federal Skilled Worker program (FSW), the Federal Skilled Trade program (FST), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), or through a Provincial Nomination Program (PNP). Since Citizenship and Immigration Canada opened Express Entry in 2015, a little less than five percent of applicants have been given an invitation to apply to permanent residency, but these reforms hope to make the process less stringent.

Jocelyne Younan, McGill’s director of global undergraduate recruitment, told the New York Times that there has been “an increase in applications [and] [interest] from the U.S. and from international students” (Najar) since the election; for many people, Donald Trump’s America is simply an unsafe place to study. For those students, these new reforms just add another reason to pursue their education in Canada. The maximum number of points an applicant can receive for their education in the Express Entry pool is 150, but with these new reforms if they “graduate from an eligible program of study in Canada [they] may obtain up to 30 points in addition to the points allocated for the level of their education”(Canada Visa). This gives international students who have studied in Canada a big step up in obtaining permanent residency.

Under the previous system the only way an applicant could gain CRS points for a job offer in Canada was if they had an LMIA. An LMIA is a testament from an applicant’s employer stating that they are the only individual who is able of performing a highly specialized job of which they are capable, willing and ready in a capacity that no Canadian can fill. Under the previous system, candidates in the Express Entry pool were given an additional 600 CRS points for obtaining an LMIA, making it an invaluable asset for skilled workers applying, as it almost promised the applicants an invitation to apply for permanent residency. However, now they will only receive 200 points if their “job is in Major Group 00 Senior Management Occupations of the National Occupational Classification System (NOC), or 50 points if the job is in any other skilled occupation”. Now, certain applicants are eligible for CRS points without an LMIA if they are “holders of a valid work permit [and] have been employed in Canada under an international agreement such as NAFTA for at least one year full-time” or if they have a closed work permit and “have been working in Canada for at least one year full-time”.

Written By:

Mia Stewart

Works Cited: 

“Allocation of Points for Job Offers and Canadian Education Among Reforms to Comprehensive Ranking System.” Canada Visa. November 14, 2016.

McKenna, Barrie, and Sean Silcoff. “Ottawa Unveils Strategy to Court Foreign Tech Talent.” The Globe and Mail. November 01, 2016

Najar, Nida, and Stephanie Saul. “‘Is It Safe?’ Foreign Students Consider College in Donald Trump’s U.S.” November 16, 2016.

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