Minister McCallum Sends Skilled Workers to the Back of the Line
You are a skilled worker, with a post-secondary degree and relevant work experience in an area that Canada’s economy needs. In 2016, you will have to make way in the line up to get into Canada, and hand your place over to refugees or family reunion applicants. Is this fair?
There’s a new sheriff in town in Ottawa, and Minister McCallum has a new set of priorities. The Syrian refugee crisis is at the top of that list of priorities, and Trudeau’s Liberal government has increased the targets for refugees to Canada - by more than 200% in some cases - as well as targeting increases in family reunification over the next few years. That means there has to be cutbacks to immigration targets in other areas. Like skilled immigration under the economic class. That means you.
The High-Skilled Federal Economic immigration program brings skilled workers to Canada who can contribute to the Canadian economy immediately. The program includes
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC), which emphasizes Canadian work experience and turning temporary workers into Permanent Residents;
- The Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC), which focuses on bringing needed tradespeople to Canada;
- The Federal Skilled Worker (FSW), program, which focuses on bringing University- and College-educated workers with work experience to Canada.
The 2016 targets imply a 20% cutback for skilled worker immigration from the 2015 levels established by the previous, Conservative government. That means that 1 in 5 able, skilled, willing, and experienced foreign workers will be sent to the back of the line this year. And that’s assuming the immigration authorities actually even meet their targets over the course of2016, something that is not assured.
Canada’s immigration system – while burdened by processing delays and constant changes – has been the envy of countries like the USA. Through its points-based system – as exemplified by Express Entry – it ensures Canada gets the skilled labour it needs to grow its economy and add value to its industries. While America imports unskilled, cheap labour that drives down wages and produces blue collar electoral rage. Hello Donald Trump!
That doesn’t mean that employers in Canada don’t sometimes try to take advantage of Foreign Temporary Workers – like the B.C. MacDonald’s franchise scandal – but Canada has achieved a balance between compassion and skill that America would love to have.
Is this balance changing permanently under Justin Trudeau’s leadership? Or is 2016 an exceptional year due to the Syrian crisis? If the Liberal government is serious about solving Canada’s immigration backlogs, then they will have to make sure that skilled workers like you do not wait at the back of the immigration line.