Canada immigration news: Immigrants settling in central Ontario northwest of Toronto are more likely to land jobs better suited to their foreign credentials and work experience in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to the pandemic, many economic immigrants to Canada found it difficult to land jobs that made full use of the education and experience they had gained in their home countries.
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Pandemic-Fuelled Labour Shortages Helping Immigrants Get Better Jobs
With the labour shortages exacerbated by the lockdowns, border restrictions and other health measures put in place during the pandemic, though, that has changed.
Economic immigrants to Canada are now finding themselves better jobs.
“COVID-19 has shifted the local labour market in Waterloo, Wellington and Dufferin where we find an increase in the number of jobs which require specialized skills and education and a decrease in general labour roles,” wrote Sohrab Rahmaty, research coordinator at the Workforce Planning Board of Waterloo Wellington Dufferin, in a report released in April.
“An important opportunity exists for internationally-trained professionals who have arrived with National Occupational Classification (NOC) A and NOC B level skills to gain employment in their fields based on the changing nature of the labour market.”
The NOC is Canada’s national system for describing occupations. NOC A occupations are professional jobs which usually require a degree from a university. Examples include doctors, dentists and architects.
NOC B jobs are those technical occupations, including skilled trades, which usually require a college diploma or training as an apprentice. Think chef or plumber.
In A Window of Opportunity: The Case for Internationally-Trained Professionals and Workforce Development in Waterloo, Wellington and Dufferin, Rahmaty notes the labour shortages in that region make it more likely for highly-skilled immigrants to land their ideal jobs now.
That wasn’t always the case.
Many Highly-Skilled Immigrants Struggled To Land Jobs In Their Fields
“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the skills and education of economic class immigrants coming to Canada did not sync effectively with the labour market where demand for general labour roles outweighed demand for skilled talent,” wrote Rahmaty. “Therefore, the skills and education of many immigrants remained underutilized.”
But now, many employers in Canada are struggling to find good managers, technicians and administrative staff and the highly-skilled immigrants coming through the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program offer a ray of hope.
“A recent survey of immigrants in Waterloo Region found that immigrants coming into the region were highly-educated, with 71 per cent of respondents stating that they held a bachelor’s degree or above, compared to only 23 per cent of the general population,” wrote Rahmaty.
“The result or outcome of these changes (due to COVID-19) is that it has created a window of opportunity for skilled immigrants to be better integrated into the local labour market as we find more demand for their skills and expertise. The COVID-19 pandemic has essentially accelerated the need for skilled professionals – more so than in the past.”
Canada hopes to welcome 431,645 immigrants this year and is on track to receive even more than that record-breaking number.
Ottawa Hopes To Attract Record Number Of Immigrants This Year
In the first three months of the year, the country had already gained 113,535 new permanent residents, according to data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
That record-setting pace of immigration for the first quarter of the year put Canada on track to welcome 454,140 new permanent residents this year, or 5.2 per cent more than Ottawa’s already-ambitious immigration goal for 2022.
Under the levels plan presented this year, Canada plans to welcome 447,055 new permanent residents next year and 451,000 in 2024.
The ever-growing levels of immigration are touted by Ottawa as being the key to resolving labour shortages and building the Canadian economy, everything from agriculture and the fisheries to business management and the tech sector.
“Canada is among the world’s top destinations for talent and immigration is a driving force behind the boom in our tech sector,” tweeted Immigration Minister Sean Fraser earlier this year.
“Bringing skilled workers to Canada helps businesses grow, and creates good jobs across the country.”