Express entry could sideswipe high-skilled foreign workers

posted on December 16, 2014

By Susana Mas, CBC News | Link to Article

By Susana Mas, CBC News | Link to Article

Some employers fear Americans working in Canada through the North American Free Trade Agreement, foreign nationals who have transferred to a Canadian branch and international youth working in Canada could be sideswiped by rules under the new express entry system that starts Jan. 1.

New regulations suggest employers who want to offer permanent jobs to high-skilled temporary foreign workers who are already working here will not only have to ask them to apply for permanent residency under express entry, they will also have to prove they made every effort to hire a Canadian first.

Many employers are currently allowed to hire foreign nationals on a temporary basis through various international mobility programs without needing a labour market impact assessment or LMIA, a document needed to hire a foreign worker over a Canadian one.

Sarah Anson-Cartwright, the director of skills policy at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce — one of nine groups the government has been consulting on express entry since 2013 — said she only learned of the new rules during a meeting with immigration officials at the end of November.

“We weren’t aware that a labour market impact assessment was going to be required for virtually every candidate to be eligible to apply for permanent residency, but that’s the new scenario,” she said.

Under the new express entry points system revealed earlier this month, high-skilled immigrants who receive a permanent job offer backed by a positive LMIA will be among the first to receive an offer to apply for permanent residency.

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