Canadian Experience and Education Should Count
As I’ve mentioned before, one of the most overwhelming concerns my staff and I hear as we meet with community and business leaders throughout the riding, is the shortage of workers. So many businesses throughout the riding are desperate for employees, both skilled and unskilled.
In many cases, these businesses, after fruitless regional and national advertising and recruitment drives, apply to bring workers from overseas. Once their temporary work permits expire however, these individuals must return home.
These workers, possessing valuable skills and experience so needed by our regional economy, are gone and their experience here is not given recognition under our current immigration rules if they apply to return to Canada as a permanent resident. Often, they will choose another nation, one of our competitors in the world marketplace, where the skills and experienced they honed here are eagerly accepted.
And so this week, Immigration Minister Diane Finley announced new measures to make it easier for foreign workers and foreign graduates with Canadian work experience to become permanent residents.
The Canadian Experience Class is part of our Conservative Government’s efforts to ensure that our immigration system responds to Canada’s labour market needs. Existing immigrant classes do not count Canadian experience as an asset in evaluating potential immigrants.
Under the new Canadian Experience Class, instead of returning to their home country to apply to immigrate here, a foreign worker or graduate with temporary resident status in Canada can mail their application from within Canada to Citizenship and Immigration Canada. If accepted, these individuals can be granted permanent residence from within Canada at a local CIC office or the closest border crossing.
What’s especially beneficial about this new immigrant class for the communities and employers throughout Prince George-Peace River is that it will better serve smaller, rural communities. Most skilled workers and permanent residents land and settle in Canada’s major cities – Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver.
Many temporary foreign workers and graduates who choose to apply under the Canadian Experience Class are already established in our smaller communities. Should they apply successfully for permanent residency, they may still move to those major centres but it is highly likely that many will stay with the employers and communities with which they have already built a connection.
In order to apply under this class, applicants would still be subject to minimum requirements, including English or French language skills; two years of skilled, professional or technical work experience for foreign workers; and, for foreign graduates, successful completion of two years of an academic program AND one year of skilled, professional or technical work experience.
Our Government continues to fund and aggressively advance education and training programs to ensure Canadians are qualified and ready to meet our labour market needs in the future. And Canadians already qualified and willing to fill job openings will never be overlooked in favour of a foreign worker.
However, immigration helps employers fill the critical positions that sustain their businesses and keep our economy competitive TODAY. This measure also recognizes that experience and education acquired within Canada should count for something in our immigration system.