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Fixing Canada's Economic Immigration Policies: Naomi Alboim for first ALLIES Learning Exchange,June, 2009
Fixing Canada's Economic Immigration Policies: Naomi Alboim for first ALLIES Learning Exchange,June, 2009
Fixing Canada's Economic Immigration Policies: Naomi Alboim for first ALLIES Learning Exchange,June, 2009
Fixing Canada's Economic Immigration Policies: Naomi Alboim for first ALLIES Learning Exchange,June, 2009
Fixing Canada's Economic Immigration Policies: Naomi Alboim for first ALLIES Learning Exchange,June, 2009
Fixing Canada's Economic Immigration Policies: Naomi Alboim for first ALLIES Learning Exchange,June, 2009
Fixing Canada's Economic Immigration Policies: Naomi Alboim for first ALLIES Learning Exchange,June, 2009
Fixing Canada's Economic Immigration Policies: Naomi Alboim for first ALLIES Learning Exchange,June, 2009
Fixing Canada's Economic Immigration Policies: Naomi Alboim for first ALLIES Learning Exchange,June, 2009
Fixing Canada's Economic Immigration Policies: Naomi Alboim for first ALLIES Learning Exchange,June, 2009
Fixing Canada's Economic Immigration Policies: Naomi Alboim for first ALLIES Learning Exchange,June, 2009
Fixing Canada's Economic Immigration Policies: Naomi Alboim for first ALLIES Learning Exchange,June, 2009
Fixing Canada's Economic Immigration Policies: Naomi Alboim for first ALLIES Learning Exchange,June, 2009
Fixing Canada's Economic Immigration Policies: Naomi Alboim for first ALLIES Learning Exchange,June, 2009
Fixing Canada's Economic Immigration Policies: Naomi Alboim for first ALLIES Learning Exchange,June, 2009
Fixing Canada's Economic Immigration Policies: Naomi Alboim for first ALLIES Learning Exchange,June, 2009
Fixing Canada's Economic Immigration Policies: Naomi Alboim for first ALLIES Learning Exchange,June, 2009
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Fixing Canada's Economic Immigration Policies: Naomi Alboim for first ALLIES Learning Exchange,June, 2009

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This presentation discusses in detail the necessity of continued immigrant integration into the Canadian labour force. Immigration policy must be constantly evolving however, the current policy …

This presentation discusses in detail the necessity of continued immigrant integration into the Canadian labour force. Immigration policy must be constantly evolving however, the current policy shifts may be doing more harm than good. This presentation also shows the need for Canada to have a vision to meet our long-term demographic, labour market and national-building needs.

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  • 1. Adjusting the Balance: Fixing Canada’s Economic Immigration Policies ALLIES Learning Exchange June 2009 Naomi Alboim Overview of presentation1. Introduction2. Canadian immigration context3. Recent policy shifts4. Cumulative impact5. Moving forward 2 1
  • 2. 1. Introduction Recent policy shifts have altered economic immigration landscape without debate – Restriction of applications under Skilled Worker Program – Growth of Provincial Nominee Programs – Expansion of Temporary Foreign Worker Program – Transition to permanent residence: Canadian Experience Class Changes in response to concerns: pros and cons Cumulative impact: worrisome trends – Short-term focus Short- – Two-step immigration Two- – Devolved decision making Adjusting the balance is necessary for cohesive system to meet Canada’s long term needs Canada’ 32. Canadian immigration context Canada needs immigration to meet short and long term economic objectives: demographics, labour supply, skill shortages, innovation More international competition for skilled workers Immigration to build nation, community and labour force: selecting citizens, not just workers Need to think beyond economic downturn Immigration as means to an end: one tool in kit 4 2
  • 3. Rising and declining numbers Skilled workers used to represent 50% of all immigrants to Canada in 2005; in 2008 down to 42% Only 17.5% of total flow to Canada in 2008 assessed on the basis of the points system (skilled worker principal applicants) Dramatic increase in Provincial Nominee programs from less than 500 to over 22,000 over a nine year period (1999-2008) (1999- 5 …rising and declining numbers Federal Projections for Skilled Workers and Provincial Nominees 80,000 70,000 60,000 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 0 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Federal Skilled Workers Provincial Nominees Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada• Assumes provinces’ projections met and offset by decline in skilled workers 6 3
  • 4. Rise in temporary entrants Between 2005-2008: 2005- – 5.7% decline in permanent residents – 37.6% increase in temporary entrants (students and workers) Since 2007 Canada has admitted more temporary entrants than permanent residentsPermanent residents, temporary workers, international students (initial entry), 2008 Source: CIC Facts and Figures, 2008 2004 2005 2006 2007 2,008Permanent Residents 235,824 262,241 251,643 236,754 247,202Total Temporary 178,841 190,724 211,076 239,247 272,520 Temporary Workers 112,719 122,848 139,268 165,215 193,061 International Students 66,122 67,876 71,808 74,032 79,459 7 …rise in temporary entrants Rise in international students – Stock up 8% and entries up 20% in 2008 over 2004 Dramatic increase in temporary foreign workers – Stock up 100% and entries up 71.2% in 2008 over 2004 – BC, Alberta, NFL, Territories received more temporary foreign workers than permanent residents in 2008 – Significant increase in low skilled temporary workers 8 4
  • 5. 2008 permanent residents, temporary workers, international students (entries)The proportions of permanent residents, temporaryforeign workers, and international students admittedin 2008 vary significantly among provinces % of % of % of Canada’s Canada’ Canada’s Canada’ Canada’s Canada’ permanent temporary international residents workers studentsAlberta 9.8 20.3 7.7BC 17.6 24.3 32.3Ontario 44.7 34.6 33.7 9How are immigrants (all classes) doing?Recent immigrants as a group more highly educated thanprevious cohorts and Canadian born but not faring as welleconomically – More unemployed, underemployed, in part-time part- part- part- year employment, in low paying jobs, in low income than Canadian bornPotential causes include: – Changing characteristics of immigrants (language, culture, education, country) – Discounting of qualifications/experience achieved abroad – Increased competition with Canadian born and other new entrants – Structural changes in the economy – Business cycle “scarring” scarring” – Discrimination – Lack of alignment between selection criteria and labour market needs 10 5
  • 6. However certain factors make a difference… Human capital matters: matters: – Skilled worker principal applicants assessed on points system earn more than all other classes ($36,600 vs $20,314 in 2000) – Knowledge of official language most important factor Services matter: matter: – Early interventions, language, social networks, Canadian top- top- ups – Internships (75-80% of Career bridge participants find full (75- time employment in chosen careers) – Mentoring(80% of mentoring partnership participants find employment within 3 months; 85% in their field) – Bridge training (70% of graduates in Ontario working in their field; licensure exam pass rates rose from 30 to 80%) Social capital matters: matters: – Family class members do better in first year after arrival 11 3. Recent policy shifts Restrictions for applications under Skilled Worker Program through Ministerial Instructions Growth of Provincial Nominee Programs Expansion of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program Establishment of the Canadian Experience Class to transition from temporary to permanent residence 12 6
  • 7. Restrictions on skilled workersWhy?– Prevent further increase of inventory– Allow for quicker processingWhat?– 2008 Budget Implementation Bill amended IRPA and gave powers to Minister to: Limit numbers of applications processed Accelerate some applications or groups of applications Return applications without processing them to a decision if don’t don’ meet requirements of ministerial instructions– Ministerial Instructions limit skilled worker applications submitted after Feb 27,2008 to 38 ‘demand’ occupations demand’ and those with job offers, before assessed on point system– All other applications returned 13 ..restrictions on skilled workersConcerns:– Primarily occupations-based selection didn’t work under occupations- didn’ old Act– Some occupations already out of date– List too narrow for long term economic needs: puts onus on provinces to select others– Regulated occupations on list still face licensing barriers– Trades on list may not meet point system– Raising immigrant expectations if on list, turning off future applicants if not– Skilled workers not high priority for processing– Effectively reducing skilled worker pool for future competitiveness 14 7
  • 8. Growth of provincial nominee programs Why? – Provinces want more immigrants to go to their regions – Provinces want quicker processing of those destined to their regions – Provinces want people to meet their labour market and demographic needs who wouldn’t necessarily meet wouldn’ skilled worker criteria What? – Federal government removed all caps to PNP, allowed each province to determine its own criteria and targets, and guaranteed priority processing for nominees – Nine provinces and Yukon have PNPs. Each has different sub-components, selection criteria, fees, processes, sub- timelines – Growing exponentially, now 9% of total flow to Canada 15 ..growth of provincial nominee programs Concerns: – Ten Federal-Provincial Agreements in absence of Federal- national framework – Complexity reduces transparency, adds confusion to potential immigrants and visa officers – Devolved costs to provinces – Respond to regional needs but mobility rights guaranteed – No common standards, no assessment of human capital on points system – Testing ground but no evaluation – Auditor General concerns in Nova Scotia, PEI and NFL – Designed as complement to FSW, but priority processing, no caps and increasing numbers squeezing out skilled workers 16 8
  • 9. Expansion of Temporary Foreign Worker ProgramWhy?– Employers want quicker and longer access to workers for hard-to-fill jobs hard- to-– Low skilled workers and some trades people ineligible under Skilled Worker Program– Long processing times frustrating to employersWhat?– Promotion of TFW, facilitation of Labour Market Opinions, expedited processing, and increased duration of LMO’s and employment visas LMO’– Introduction of Low Skill Pilot program in the Temporary Foreign Worker program– 193,061 entries in 2008 (increase of 71.2% since 2004) 17 …Temporary Foreign Worker programConcerns:– Employer demand driven: no caps or targets tabled in Parliament– Employers using TFWs to fill permanent vacancies and for low-skilled and unskilled jobs low-– TFW get priority processing over skilled worker permanent residents, yet not assessed on human capital– Less stringent medical and security checks– Market for unscrupulous recruiters, fraudulent LMO’s LMO’– Used inappropriately could discourage investment in training, hiring of under or unemployed permanent residents and citizens; could suppress wages– Ineligibility for services, mobility restrictions, dependency on employer, lack of enforcement, absence of families create vulnerabilities at low end– Human capital, social capital and services not part of the equation at low end 18 9
  • 10. Establishment of the Canadian Experience ClassWhy? – Tap into pool of international students and highly skilled temporary workers who wish to remain in Canada – Attract more international students to Canadian institutions: Enriched experience; increased workforce on and off campus Differential tuition Canadian credential, language capacity assist integrationWhat? – Allow qualifying international students and highly skilled temporary workers to apply for permanent residence from within Canada 19 …Canadian Experience ClassConcerns: – CEC numbers included in total target for economic permanent residents tabled annually, reducing number admitted under skilled worker program – May squeeze out one-step permanent residency over one- time – May have unintended consequences for post secondary institutions and domestic students: Capacity, market distortions, quality control – Transition to permanent residence only for TFWs at high end. Others have three options: Continue working on extended temporary status (no services, no family unification, continued vulnerability) Return home or go to third country when visa expires (employer costs in recruitment, training) Remain underground as undocumented underclass (increased vulnerability, no payment of taxes) 20 10
  • 11. 4. Cumulative impactShort term focus– Temporary workers, PNP, 38 ‘demand’ occupations demand’– Focus on perceived immediate labour market needs instead of longer term economic priorities and nation building– Less focus on skilled workers chosen for human capital and ability to adapt to changing economic conditions– Less focus on what is needed to help get us out of downturn and be ready for upturn 21 …cumulative impactTwo-step immigration– PNP, TFW, LCP, CEC encourage potential immigrants to come to Canada as temporary entrants first– Reduces Canada’s competitive edge Canada’– Increases uncertainty– Delays access to services and full rights– Increases vulnerability– Delays access to permanent residency and citizenship– Delays family unification 22 11
  • 12. …cumulative impactDevolution of federal roles– PNP, TFW, CEC have devolved much of federal role of selection of future citizens to provinces, employers and post secondary institutions– Mandates may not be consistent with selection of citizens in the national interest– May lack capacity to provide supports and services necessary for successful integration– Lack of clarity regarding responsibilities and roles– Complex patchwork of criteria, requirements, costs, processes, services and supports: no common standards– Lack of consistency and predictability may jeopardize competitiveness 23 Impact of economic downturnNegative impact of policy shift (toward PNPs,CEC, TFW, 38 occupations) could be exacerbatedin a downturnPotential scenario in a downturn:– Employers may lay off temporary workers hired in past few years– Economic immigrants with visas may delay their arrival or return to their home countries– Those in 38 occupations may come forward to find changes in the economy no longer needing the skill sets for which they were specifically selected– PSE institutions may be oversubscribed and unable to accept large large numbers of international students– Employers may not recruit more temporary workers– Provinces may reduce their PNP programsIf tap turned off, we could be worse offdemographically and less able to meet labour andskill shortages when economy improvesLaid off permanent residents and new arrivals willrequire services to prepare for re-entry re- 24 12
  • 13. 5. Moving Forward ADJUSTING THE BALANCE LESS MOREShort-term focus Long-term visionTwo-step immigration: emphasis One-step immigration: emphasis onon temporary entrants a revitalized Skilled Worker ProgramDevolution of federal roles in Selection of immigrants underimmigrant selection national frameworks with room for custom solutionsTraditional approach to immigrant Creative approaches to immigrantservices services with labour market focusRapid changes without debate and Debate and evaluation to inform andevaluation achieve national vision 25 Recommendations Adopt a national vision for economic immigration Improve current programs Invest in labour market services that work 26 13
  • 14. Adopt a national vision for economic immigration1. Articulate a national vision for economic immigration through public dialogue and debate – Ensure all components work together towards national objectives, taking into account provincial and municipal considerations and needs – Contribute to knowledge based economy, in concert with training and PSE policies – Sustain balanced shares of economic, family and humanitarian immigration – Identify optimum balance between components of economic immigration – Prioritize permanent vs temporary immigration – Define roles to be played by governments, employers, PSE institutions and other stakeholders to ensure the success of economic immigration – Develop framework for ongoing evaluation 27 ….Adopt a national vision for economic immigration2. Improve capacity for long-range planning long- and resource allocation to achieve the vision – Develop multi-year immigration plans in consultation multi- with provincial, territorial and municipal governments and stakeholders – Include separate targets for CEC so one-step vs two- one- two- step immigration can be monitored and adjusted – Negotiate targets for PNP to ensure balance among components of economic class – Table targets for temporary entrants following consultation with employers and PSE institutions 28 14
  • 15. Improve programs: Skilled Worker Program3. Make the Skilled Worker Program Canada’s Canada’ priority for economic immigration – Make it the largest component with priority processing and resources resources to eliminate the backlog; conduct ongoing evaluations for continuous continuous improvement4. Revise the point system to better match long-term labour market needs long- – Introduce mandatory language test, dispense with occupation list, add list, points for demand occupations and validated job offers, restructure restructure education to reward trained trades people, add points for youth, add points for family connections5. Connect skilled worker applicants to employers – Create searchable data base for employers of immigrant applicants and expedite those applicants with validated job offers – Establish overseas recruitment sessions as part of Canadian Immigration Integration Project 29 Improve programs: Provincial Nominees6. Create a national framework for provincial nominee programs to complement but not replace the Skilled Worker Program – Establish baseline eligibility criteria, procedures, timelines and fees; evaluation framework to assess different approaches, retention, and integration success 30 15
  • 16. Improve programs: Temporary Foreign Workers7. Eliminate Low Skill Pilot Project for temporary foreign workers – Explore ways to make lower skilled jobs attractive to those already in Canada; consider expansion of family and refugee classes; points for demand occupations8. Monitor and enforce recruitment and working conditions of temporary foreign workers – Provide leadership and support to provinces to monitor and enforce working conditions and recruitment agency practices9. Strengthen labour market opinion process – Before providing positive LMO: require employers to search data base; review employer practices to ensure no barrier to unemployed or underemployed in Canada; monitor employers after FTW arrival 31 Improve programs: Canadian Experience Class10. Define the role of employers and postsecondary institutions in the Canadian Experience Class – Consult with employers and PSE institutions to define roles, enhance capacity and provide support – Monitor the CEC for unintended consequences11. Expand eligibility on a one-time basis for one- temporary foreign workers admitted under the Low Skill Pilot Project – To prevent vulnerability and exploitation of an underground underclass 32 16
  • 17. Invest in labour market services that work12. Expand overseas information and services – Expand to include more countries and more services13. Broaden eligibility for federally funded settlement services – Expand eligibility to citizens, temporary workers, international students, and refugee claimants14. Expand access to funding for labour market services – Expand CIC programming to include range of labour market services; ensure that immigrants benefit from training dollars allocated by HRSDC to provinces for persons ineligible for Employment Insurance15. Fund successful and creative labour market supports – Fund national internship and mentoring programs, enhance funding for ELT and bridge training; create a loan or income support program and other employment supports for access to training; enhance interventions during downturn 33 Conclusion Immigration patterns and policies are constantly evolving The cumulative impact of recent policy shifts is potentially enormous In the absence of good policy development, consultation and evaluation, we may be creating worse problems rather than fixing the ones we currently face Need for public debate and overall vision to meet Canada’s long term demographic and labour Canada’ market needs… needs… …and to ensure Canada is the residence of choice for skilled immigrants from around the world 34 17

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