New immigration rules could ease Alberta labour crunch


An opportunity to do advanced research in biomedical engineering lured PhD student Pierre Wijdenes to Calgary from France two months ago.
Wijdenes, 24, isn’t sure if he’ll remain in Canada when he finishes his research and his student visa expires, but a federal announcement on Wednesday has cleared the way for a greater number of highly skilled foreigners like him to stay as permanent residents if they want.
Wijdenes grew to appreciate Canada’s cultural diversity and Calgary’s proximity to the mountains during a prior internship in the city, and those things may yet play a role in getting him to settle here.
“The economic situation in Europe is quite bad,” said Wijdenes, whose research at the University of Calgary focuses on neurological implants that could help rehabilitate stroke patients or restore sight to the blind.
“There are much more opportunities here.”
With many sectors in Alberta continuing to grapple with workforce shortages, one labour market watcher welcomed measures designed to make it easier for employers to recruit and retain skilled people.
“It provides confidence for businesses and reduces their administrative burden,” said Ben Brunnen, chief economist at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.
Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced in Ottawa that the government is increasing the number of international students and skilled foreign workers who will be eligible to stay in Canada permanently.
The overall level of immigration will remain unchanged for the sixth year in a row, but the federal government is tweaking the makeup of newcomers who will be granted permanent residency.
Kenney announced Canada would admit between 240,000 and 265,000 newcomers in 2013, a target that’s gone unchanged since 2006.
However, there will be a significant change in the number of foreigners admitted in what’s called the Canadian Experience Class: a stream that fast-tracks highly-skilled immigrants who have prior experience studying or working in Canada.
The government intends to admit 10,000 permanent residents in that category in 2013, a dramatic increase from about 7,000 admitted in the Canada Experience Class in 2012 and significantly higher than the 2,500 admissions in 2009.
“They will complete their studies with degrees or diplomas that will be recognized by employers, they will have perfected or improved their English or French language skills and it will be very easy for them to find successful employment in Canada. Many of these young people will represent, we hope, the future of Canada’s large and generous immigration program,” Kenney told reporters in Ottawa.
Expanding the Canada Experience Class isn’t a cure-all, but Brunnen said it will make a difference.
“It helps employers keep the immigrants they’re attracting to Canada and it adds predictability from a workforce planning perspective,” he said.
Chamber of Commerce members have ranked labour shortages as one of their top concerns, said Brunnen, with the service industry being one of the most dependent on temporary foreign workers.
Brunnen noted the Canada Experience Class doesn’t cover the lower-skilled jobs typically needed in the service industry, but Brunnen said there are still many sectors that stand to benefit.
“We’d like to see (the government) expand it in the foreseeable future,” he said.
The Canadian Association of Petroluem Producers has predicted the industry will spend approximately $55 billion on capital projects this year, making it particularly hungry for skilled tradespeople.
A Calgary company that manufactures steel tanks and structures for the petrochemical industry said it has formed close bonds with institutions like SAIT, so it can hire locally trained workers, but it must also look abroad to meet its needs.
“We really support the trades and we want to build it in Canada for the future, but the reality is, that takes time,” said Tom McCaffery, general manager of Plains Fabrication and Supply.
Companies invest money training foreign workers, who in turn often make personal sacrifices in pursuit of employment in Canada.
Increasing the opportunities for temporary foreign workers to stay in Canada is a good way of rewarding employers and employees for taking those risks, said McCaffery.
“It means our money is well spent and we’ve invested in someone for ourselves and for the country,” he said.

With files from Tobi Cohen, Postmedia News

Read more:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Live streaming

Powered by

Subscribe to Nexus Canada Videos

Next Event

Leave us a message

Check our online courses now

Check our online courses now
Click Here now!!!!

Subscribe to our newsletter