According to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Canada needs to start processing applications for skilled workers in under two months in order for the country to be competitive. Otherwise, there are concerns that skilled immigrants will chose to live in countries like Australia who can welcome them more rapidly.
In 2015 an “Express of Interest” system (EOI) will be introduced by Chris Alexander, Minister of Immigration, for skilled worker applications. Currently, the system works on a “first-in, first-out” basis and has long processing times.
“The Government of Canada has signaled that the EOI system will process applications within approximately six months, from Invitation to Apply to arrival in Canada. That is too long,” claims the report published by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
The new system is broken down into two stages. Initially, potential applicants must file for “express interest” for immigrating to Canada and will undergo a pre-screening in order to determine if they achieve the minimum criteria. Once this step is complete they will be placed in the group of prospective immigrant candidates. During the second step qualified individuals, of potential candidates, will be chosen by the federal government on the basis of local labour market needs. Only selected individuals will be granted the opportunity to submit an application for permanent residence.
Unlike EOI systems in other countries employers will not be able to freely browse lists of potential applicants. Instead, the federal government will act as the middleman connecting employers with potential employees. This difference is concerning to employers as they will not be able to access employee’s soft skills, for example analytical thinking and teamwork, before being matched with them.
The new program should be very positive for Ontario employers who are having difficulties fulfilling positions with Canadian employees. The Star reported that 30% of Ontario businesses had difficulties filling jobs in the last year and a half. One reason for this is not necessarily a lack of skill sets but instead workers’ disinterest in relocating to more isolated Ontario cities. Skilled immigrants are willing to take on these positions and the new EOI system will help diminish labour shortages.
To learn more on the EOI system click here.
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