Increasingly Mobile and Educated: The Future of Canadian Immigration
By Alejandro Ortiz, Research & Advisory Services, WES
Changes to Canada’s immigration policies are altering the face of the country by producing a younger and more educated work force. Between 2013 and 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) created new requirements for individuals applying to immigrate to Canada. First, applicants must submit an educational credential assessment (ECA) for foreign credentials and second, CIC introduced the Express Entry System, which selects candidates based on various factors, the most important being language proficiency, education and work experience. Since these changes are so recent, there is little public data or research available on the effects of the policies on Canada. In order to gather more information, World Education Services (WES)1 developed one of the largest surveys of its kind about the motivations, experiences, expectations, and service needs of prospective skilled immigrants to Canada.
The survey found that the new policies triggered a change in the profile of the immigrant population applying to Canada. According to the WES survey, respondents are highly concentrated in two countries, India (33%) and the Philippines (16%), while previous immigrant applicants2 came from a more diverse pool of countries: China (13%), India (13%), and the Philippines (11%). WES survey respondents are also younger and have a higher degree of education than previous immigrant applicants; they are more likely to be between 25 and 44 years of age (95%) and to hold a bachelor’s degree or higher (98%) than their predecessors (84% and 55%, respectively).
WES Survey Takeaways
- Motivations and Expectations: WES respondents were largely motivated to immigrate to Canada for a “better standard of living.”
- Challenges and Barriers: Despite overall optimism for employment in Canada, respondents anticipated facing some challenges, with more than half (59%) indicating that their “lack of work experience in Canada” would be a significant barrier.
While almost all survey respondents (88%) were located overseas, 10% indicated that they had resided in Canada before – 45% of them as international students and 28% as Temporary Foreign Workers.3
Data suggests that compared to their predecessors, new arrivals to Canada are more educated and mobile, changing Canada’s immigration landscape. Highly skilled immigrants are more likely to bring capital with them and to pay more in taxes than they consume in publicly provided services. The changes bode well for Canada as a whole, by benefiting the labor force for years to come, and helping to resolve issues of an aging demographic and stagnant birth rates.
1. WES was designated by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to provide educational credential assessment (ECA) for foreign credentials.
2. Immigrant applicant data corresponds to Economic Immigrant Principal Applicant. Defined as the primary applicant from a household selected for immigration (i.e. permanent residence) based on their skills and ability to contribute to Canada’s economy includes: business immigrants, live-in caregivers, skilled workers, temporary foreign workers, and provincial and territorial nominees. All immigrant data corresponds to “Facts and figures 2013.” Source: http://www.cic.gc.ca/
3. The Temporary Foreign Worker Program allows Canadian employers to hire foreign nationals to fill temporary labor and skill shortages when qualified Canadian citizens or permanent residents are not available.Source: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/publications/employers/temp-foreign-worker-program.asp
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