The Canadian Chamber of Commerce believes that Canada risk losing its competitive advantage in attracting highly-skilled international talent, through the current immigration regime.
It says that the Express Entry system is not aligned with business needs, while restrictions to the Temporary Foreign Worker Programme are hurting many high-value sectors across the economy. This new report, Immigration for a Competitive Canada: Why Highly Skilled International Talent Is at Risk details the impacts of current immigration policies and proposes a number of solutions.
“The government launched the Express Entry system a year ago to attract highly-skilled talent, but we must now face the facts: it simply isn’t working for employers,” explained Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “The original goal of giving employers more leverage was lost along the way, and this report highlights the consequences. Canada is losing ground in attracting the talent employers need.”
He continued: “We’ve identified a series of improvements that can rapidly be put in place. We call upon the government to act before conditions worsen.”
The report reveals that current policies undercut high-value growth sectors, from high tech to financial services to academic research. The previous government’s changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Programme (TFWP) and the International Mobility Programme have also hurt many sectors.
As a result, Canada has invited far fewer highly-skilled individuals to work here on a temporary basis. There has been a 40 per cent drop in higher-skilled work permit holders between 2013 and 2014 and a 45% drop in positive labour market impact assessments which are required for work permits, since June 2014.
“Highly-skilled workers don’t take opportunities away from Canadians, they help us create them. Canada depends on talented immigrants to boost our innovation performance, which is currently lagging behind many other developed countries. We can’t afford not to have the best process in place. As this report emphasizes, changes are necessary,” added Mr. Beatty. “We are an optimistic and welcoming country. Let’s not let bad policies stand in the way of talented people coming here to contribute to our economic growth,” he concluded.
If you’ve had experience of applying through Canada’s Express Entry system, then we’d love to hear from you. Email David Fuller at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your experience.