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Governments act to ease entry for immigrants, including engineers

Canadian Government launches "Express Entry" system. In a related story, small business owners are concerned about finding qualified employees.


On January 1 the federal government launched a new “Express Entry” system for skilled people who are considering immigrating to Canada to seek work. Skilled individuals (such as engineers) will be invited to create an online profile and the candidates who meet minimum criteria will be accepted into a pool. They will then be ranked according to factors such as their language proficiency, education and work experience. The highest ranking workers will be invited to apply for permanent residency, and most will see their applications processed in six months or less.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada says the Express Entry will allow them to identify those individuals who are most likely to succeed economically in Canada, instead of simply processing applications on a first-come, first served basis. Once the candidates have been invited to apply for permanent residence, they still need to complete the immigration process, which includes health and security checks.

The express service applies to three federal immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canadian Experience Class, and Federal Skilled Trades Program. Canada will admit up to 285,000 immigrants in 2015.

Meanwhile, in Ontario a government-funded program known as Engineering Connections, run by Acces Employment, is specifically designed to help immigrant engineers find work once they are in Canada. The program gives one-to-one support to the engineers and provides orientation, job search support, referrals and connections to employers. For employers, Engineering Connections provides free-of-charge recruitment services. They will pre-screen potential candidates and organize customized recruitment events.

In a related story, a recent survey of 800 small business owners in North America by Sage found that among the Canadian respondents the biggest challenges they believe they face in 2015 is recruiting qualified employees. Thirty-eight per cent said that finding qualified employees was their biggest challenge. This number compared with 34% who believe getting new customers was their biggest challenge, and 20% who cited increased competition. An article in Canadian Business suggested that the survey results could mean that the effect of baby boomers retiring is starting to be felt.

For more information about the Express Entry system, click here.

For more information about Engineering Connections by Acces Employment, click here.

For the January 2 article in Canadian Business, click here.

For details about the Sage survey, click here.