In an annual report made to Parliament, Immigration Minister Chris Alexander, outlined plans to admit in 2014 between 240,000 to 265,000 permanent residents to Canada. This is the same number as was set for the current year.
The report identifies China as the largest source of immigration to Canada in 2012, followed closely by the Philippines and India, but Alexander claims this regional prominence is owing to population size rather than other considerations.
“We don’t target any one region or any group of countries,” said the minister. “We target the best and the brightest.”
Ottawa is also preparing the “Express of Interest System” (EOI), which will provide employers the opportunity to select skilled immigrants from a group of pre-screened candidates. It is set to begin in January of 2015.
“While Canadians will continue to get the first crack at available jobs, getting the right people in the right places is key to addressing regional labour needs and fuelling Canada’s long-term prosperity,”said Alexander.
Those chosen for their professional skills as entrepreneurs or investors, will account for 63 per cent of admissions. Another 26.1 per cent (or 68,000 spots) will be granted to the family class. The remaining 10.9 per cent (or 28,400 placements) will be for refugees and people with humanitarian needs.
The government also aims to grow the quota for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and those within the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). The minister did not provide details, but data on the expansions is said to be forthcoming within the next few days.The CEC allows those with one year of work experience in Canada to apply. About 15,000 permanent residents are expected under the program – significantly more than 2013’s 10,000 applicants. The PNP on the other hand, which allows provinces and employers to nominate candidates, is anticipated to draw around 47,000 people next year – an increase of 6000 candidates.
Alexander was careful to stipulate that employment priority shall go to current citizens of Canada before looking for skilled people abroad.The minister also noted that language requirements and user fees will be implemented to prevent employers from abusing the programs.
“We still need them (foreign workers) in certain circumstances, but only after we have exhausted the potential of the Canadian labour market and the potential of our economic immigration program to meet the needs,” he said.
Fortunately, Ottawa continues to permit a steady flow of foreign professionals to help bolster the Canadian economy, though it is clear they are now targeting very specific skill sets. Now that the labour dispute with Canadian immigration officials appears at an end, it is hoped that applications will resume normal processing.
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