Canadian Immigration Minister John McCallum recently said that he wants to set up a federal program that businesses in the country can turn to when looking for overseas employees. The program will fast-track permanent residency for skilled foreign workers.
At the recent Immigration Law Conference in Vancouver hosted by the Canadian Bar Association, McCallum asked a group of immigration lawyers for their input as the Canadian government reviews its express entry program in search of ways to improve it.
The minister also met with business owners, who ranked the various streams that could be used to bring in immigrants.
McCallum said there is currently more demand for temporary foreign workers, with middle and express entry at the bottom of the list. The minister said that he would like to see this trend reversed.
The previous Canadian government launched the express entry program to ensure Canada met its labour requirements. This program helps skilled foreign workers acquire permanent residency in the country in six months or less.
Earlier, McCallum had announced that his government was launching a review program to come up with ways to make it easier for international students to get permanent residency after finishing post-secondary education at Canadian institutions.
While speaking to the immigration lawyers, McCallum said that he wanted to improve express entry, making it more accessible, flexible and attractive for businesses that were looking to hire foreign workers and bring them into Canada. He added that the government was looking into different options, including giving students more points under the express entry program.
The minister said that he believed international students were the best source of skilled immigrant workers because they tend to know English and French, are familiar with the Canadian culture, and are young and educated. McCallum also believes that Canada should be encouraging students to come to the country and take advantage of the express entry program.
He added that the way international students were currently being assessed under the express entry program needed to change, and he was hopeful that it would happen quickly.
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