A new pilot programme has been launched in Canada to encourage expat Canadians to return home and contribute to the country’s economy.
The initiative by the Canadian immigration has been called ‘a reverse brain drain’ and officials want to maker it easier for Canadians with much needed experience and skills to return.
The pilot has been launched in Ontario and if deemed successful will operate nationwide. ‘We are making it easier for Canadians abroad to bring their skills home and contribute to the Canada of tomorrow,’ said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturism Minister Jason Kenney.
For some Canadian workers living abroad, an obstacle to returning to Canada is that their non-Canadian spouse, partner or dependent children may be unable to work until they are processed as permanent residents, which usually takes between six months and one year.
Now family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents returning to work in certain sectors, such as health care and academic research, are able to get temporary work permits immediately upon arriving in Canada.
Ontario’s health and academic sectors have faced significant skill and labour shortages in recent years and were identified as the most appropriate sectors for the pilot project.
‘By encouraging highly skilled workers to come back to Canada, we are laying the foundation for long term economic growth,’ added Kenney.
To be eligible to participate in the pilot, applicants must be a spouse, common-law partner, or dependent child of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident returning to work in Ontario, have an application underway to immigrate to Canada through sponsorship in the family class, be old enough to work in Ontario, and meet all admissibility criteria to come to Canada as a temporary resident.
The sponsoring spouse or partner must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, have left Canada and be returning to work permanently in Ontario, as a health professional or an academic for post-secondary public institutions, in one of a list of specified occupations, obtain a letter from the Province of Ontario confirming their employment, location and occupation and provide it as supporting documentation with the work permit application, and have submitted an application to CIC to sponsor their spouse or dependent child.
The list of occupations include specialist doctors, GPs, dentists, vets, pharmacists, registered nurses, opticians, physiotherapists, midwives, paramedics, university professors, teaching and research assistants, and college instructors.
The pilot programme is a partnership between Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario, and will operate until May 22, 2012. The Government will then evaluate the programme before making a decision about extending it.