The Cream of the Crop

April 5th, 2016

When the previous government of Canada was pitching the benefits that the new Express Entry immigration selection system would bring, the phrase ‘attracting the cream of the crop’ was heard often. As Conservative Ministers criss-crossed the country, reassuring stakeholders about the new system, this particular line was trotted out time and again.

Little did we know, we should have taken it literally.

When the now-governing Liberals, through the renamed department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly known as CIC), released a comprehensive report on how Express Entry performed over its first 12 months, one particular set of data stuck out above the rest. Of all the many hundred occupations within the National Occupational Classification, two of them together represented a full 16 percent of all invited candidates. These occupations were cooks and food service supervisors.

Now, let me be clear. There is every need for Canada to attract and retain workers in the food service industry, but is having around one in every six newcomers be a food service worker really beneficial to the national labour market? The stated goal of Express Entry, pre-launch, was for Canada to have an economic immigration system that was fast, flexible, and responsive to labour market realities. Something is amiss.

The most frustrating aspect is that, though it may not have been perfect, the skilled worker selection system was working better than ever by 2014. If you worked in an in-demand occupation, Canada gave you opportunities. If not, there was still the Arranged Employment route. Processing times were coming down — way down. People were getting permanent resident visas within months, sometimes as quickly as four months.

So, with all the Express Entry data from 2015 now available, what can we say the system solved? Granted, processing times have been held to months rather than years, and this is positive news. But has it truly been responsive to the labour market? I don’t think so.

The government could play a more active roll in adjusting the number of invited candidates in different occupations by creating an Area of Training or Occupation list that would award bonus points within the ranking system. The existence of such a list, or lists, would provide an indication to candidates as to which newcomers Canada needs, and who is most likely to immigrate successfully. In being able to create and change the list on an ongoing basis, the government would have an increased role in adjusting the number of immigrants received in different occupations.

Either way, something needs to be done. A system that is this skewed towards certain occupations is not a system that is working in Canada’s best interests.

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6 Responses to “The Cream of the Crop”

  • On April 6th, 2016, George said ...

    I think you’re right David. The FSWP was working perfectly, all authorities had to do was to fine-tune and enhance the program to make it more strong. I came to Canada last year through the FSWP using your professional services. The FSWP is more open and flexible. Based on the core meaning of Express Entry, if at any point in time a particular profession is what is in current demand it means other key professions that has the potential to strengthen the Canada’s economy will be left out. Canada needs to be cautious to make sure that for all intent and purposes, the professions the country is pulling in are in line with its broad economic goals. That serves both the country and the professional.

  • On April 7th, 2016, J.H. said ...

    When the express entry was launched, it was declared that the selection from the pool will be done in coordination with labour market, moreover i read that they will choose the required number of top candidates in each specialization they need, for example they want 200 civil engineers, then they will choose the top 200 civil engineers with the highest CRS they have, but then i was surprised that they are choosing the top candidates among all applications in the pool regardless of their domain, which certainly will lead to imbalance in specializations.

  • On April 7th, 2016, Anonymous said ...

    so true! nursing is the doomed profession now.there is no way nurses can get permanent resident by applying from outside of canada..the credential assessment procedure has become more complicated than ever before with the formation of the National nursing assessment board..seeing adverts that canada needs nurses means nothing to the international trained nurse outside canada….hope some one will look into the plight of IENs

  • On April 21st, 2016, Anonymous said ...

    Still waiting to get my medical request and copr or visa since December 2014. Noc 3112

  • On April 22nd, 2016, yes I really hope someone will come to the help of IEN. said ...

    Yes I really hope someone will come to the help of IEN

  • On April 26th, 2016, Anonymous said ...

    If I had known cooking was the way to go, I would never have broken my head through engineering school. I would have spent more time hanging around outside and throwing veggies in a pot! easy PR ..

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