IEC-BC Opinion: IEC-BC welcomes changes to federal skilled worker selection
IEC-BC welcomes changes to federal skilled worker selection because they will enable Canada to select skilled immigrants who will be able to contribute to Canada’s economy as soon as possible.
In March 2012, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, announced upcoming changes to the selection system for federal skilled workers. These include:
- A new economic immigration stream for skilled tradespeople
- Increased emphasis on official language ability (A flexible language grid would require language ability in line with the needs of the applicant’s occupation)
- Increased emphasis on younger applicants
- A system to pre-assess applicants’ qualifications
- An expression of interest system that allows employers and provinces to assess and select potential immigrants before they apply
These changes are welcome because they will enable Canada to select skilled immigrants who will be able to contribute to Canada’s economy as soon as possible.
Employment and economic outcomes are demonstrably better for younger applicants and those with high ability in one of Canada’s official languages. This is particularly important in rural and northern BC regions where a younger workforce is needed to offset the influx of migrants who are choosing to retire in these communities.
A new stream for skilled tradespeople is equally welcome, as the demand for the trades continues to grow. Experienced engineers and technology professionals, for example, are in high demand throughout the province, forcing some employers to extend projects and turn away work, for fear of being unable to fill necessary positions.
At the same time, it is imperative that we invest in employers by providing them with supports and resources for on-boarding skilled workers. We need to balance the investment in both supply and demand, where both employer-facing (demand) and immigrant-facing (supply) resources and priorities are appropriately reflected within provincial funding and initiatives.