For the past decade, there has been an ongoing consistent need for immigrants in Canada. This need is in large part due to the aging population and Canada’s inability to fill labour shortages. Without immigration, Canada’s economy could experience difficulties.
Since 2003, there have been several changes to Canada’s Immigration system. Ten years ago the focus was more on permanent immigration and today Canada’s Immigration policy is centered around a higher number of temporary foreign workers. Typically these workers will work in jobs that locals will not do. The number of migrant workers in Canada in the past ten years has tripled from 101,100 to 300,210.
In 2013, there are a number of programs which these temporary foreign workers can obtain permanent immigrant status in Canada. The Canada Experience Class and Provincial Nominee Programs (which each Province will have their own unique program). These two programs provide migrant workers in Canada who have accumulated local work experience with the option to stay in Canada on a permanent basis.
During the time of 2002 and 2011, all provinces and territories, not including Ontario, saw their immigration numbers increase — Manitoba’s immigration increased three times in numbers, Alberta saw their immigration numbers double, Saskatchewan’s numbers increased five times and the highest immigration increase occurred in Prince Edward Island with their immigration numbers increasing 17 times.
Ontario immigration numbers declined, this is in large part due to the manufacturing sector experiencing losses and the other provinces being very active to recruitment newcomers. Ontario, numbers dropped from 133,600 to 99,500.
The result of the increasing number of ‘economic’ class of immigrants has been reflected in the numbers of newcomers being admitted to Canada, The numbers have grown from 137,860 to 156,120 over the past ten years. The category that has experienced a decrease are immigrants arriving under the family reunification class. These numbers have decreased from 62,300 to 56,450.
Ten years ago immigration from China and India was strong. Now, there is a shift to the Philippines as the highest number of newcomers. To escape the high unemployment in their home countries recently the skilled Irish, French and British have been arriving to Canada.
Other changes which have occurred over the past decade, are a greater value being placed on employment and the ease of integration people can make to start their new life in Canada. This includes a greater importance on language skills and younger skilled workers being able to contribute to the job market quickly.
Evaluation of a person’s previous education has changed in the past ten years. Currently, a person applying for immigration to Canada must have their education reviewed and obtain an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) of their completed foreign educational credentials.
Over the past ten years, there has been an increased focus on filling the gaps in the labour market in Canada. Now, there are specific eligible occupations for Federal Skilled Worker applicants. Previously, the skilled worker immigration program placed more importance on work experience and education and now in 2013, the Canadian government has to be certain that the newcomers who arrive to Canada will be able to work in jobs where employers are unable to find workers.
Looking back over the past decade, the focus of Canada’s immigration policy has shifted from seeking highly educated professional to skilled workers who will be able to make a strong contribution to the work force in the shortest amount of time.
Written by Sacha DeVoretz, blog contributor to Bell Alliance Global Immigration Services Inc.