Chapter 2. Building blocks of a migration management tool

This chapter provides a detailed analysis of the EoI systems as implemented in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. It first defines the general elements of the EoI system. It then describes the policy context and stated objectives for the introduction of the EoI in the three countries, and presents the specific features of the system in each country. The chapter examines how the EoI attracts candidates to the pool, and how it vets and selects them. Whether the EoI systems have so far met their objectives is discussed. The chapter draws lessons from experience on how this immigration tool could be useful in different contexts.

    

Introduction

Labour migration policy is in continuous evolution as it attempts to address multiple and occasionally competing objectives. Economic migration is used in OECD countries to meet short, medium and long-term labour demand and skill needs, to support industrial policy, to achieve demographic objectives, and many other specific goals. As part of this evolution, new models of managing applications and selection have emerged. One important and interesting refinement of case management and selection is the Expression of Interest (EoI) system, a two-step process for creating a pool of eligible candidates and then selecting from this pool.

This innovation in migration management was first introduced in 2004 in New Zealand and later adopted in Australia (2012) and Canada (2015) to respond to two common objectives: improving oversupply management and enhancing job matching. EoI is not a specific programme but a model which has been interpreted in multiple ways in different countries of application. This chapter examines the EoI model, to provide an overview and a clearer concept of why it is used, how it is structured and what has been changed in the system since its introduction.

The first section of the chapter defines an EoI in its general form. The second section describes the policy context of the introduction of the EoI in New Zealand, Australia and Canada. This is followed by a section presenting how each country has set the EoI in different ways and how the EoI works in attracting candidates to the pool, vetting and selecting them. Finally, a preliminary assessment of the EoI in meeting their objectives is presented.

What is an EoI: Definition and objectives

An EoI system is a two-step application process, whereby potential migrants express an interest in migrating to the specific country of destination and are admitted into a pool if they meet certain criteria. From the pool, they may be selected and receive an invitation to apply. The system thus comprises two steps: selection for the pool and selection to apply. The submitted expressions of interest amount to a pre-selected pool of candidates which migration actors can tap into. Candidates exit from the pool either because they receive an invitation to apply to a specific migration programme, or because they have not been selected after a period of time. Criteria to enter the pool and to be invited to apply vary. In economic migration management, the aim is to maximise the economic contribution of migrants (Figure 2.1).

EoI is not a migration programme itself, but rather a tool for migration management in support of specific migration programmes. It aims to improve the efficiency of the selection process as well as make the selection itself more effective. By gathering pre-screened candidates, EoI creates the conditions to prioritise selection among eligible candidates, and possibly to improve job matching. Among the pre-selected candidates, only the ‘best’ ones are invited to apply, but who the ‘best’ ones are depends on the characteristics of candidates in the pool. It is a method to reduce backlogs in processing applications, as the administration has no obligation to draw from the pool and the time candidates may remain in the pool is limited. This makes the selection process selective and flexible at the same time. In an EoI system, there is no guarantee that anyone in the pool will be invited to apply. Further, there is no commitment by the candidate to accept an invitation to apply in the second stage selection.

Figure 2.1. Basic EoI model
picture

Source: OECD Secretariat.

Why EoI systems have been introduced: rationales and development in New Zealand, Australia, Canada

The EoI has become a major economic migration policy element in three settlement countries. New Zealand was the first country to introduce it in 2004, followed by Australia in 2012 and by Canada in 2015. These three countries share a common active and long-term management approach towards economic migration, using it to address not only temporary but also protracted labour shortages and to achieve demographic targets. They also have a longstanding tradition of collaboration in designing their respective skilled migration policies and took explicit inspiration from each other in implementing their respective EoIs (Senate of Canada, 2013[1]).

New Zealand, Canada and Australia’s labour migration policy includes both temporary and permanent programmes. In these countries, EoI systems have been used mainly to support skilled migration programmes that grant immediate access to permanent residence and have numerical limitations. These two considerations, i.e. the importance of long-term impact of permanent migrants and the limited places available, explain why selecting the most promising migrants was particularly important for these skilled migration programmes.

EoIs are open to migrants who are both abroad as well as those already in the territory with a temporary residence permit. In practice, most invitations to apply1 are for migrants already in the country on temporary permits.

EoIs do not cover all permanent economic migration admission in these countries, as other programmes continue to offer channels for permanent migration. In New Zealand, most of the permanent economic residents must pass through the two-step selection (87%), compared to half (55%) in Australia and a minority (24%) in Canada. Including programmes for which the EoI may be used (see Table 2.1), 24 in 2015 all permanent migration to Australia and the majority (65%) to Canada could potentially pass through EoI. In practice, the use of EoI is lower. EoI is used only for permanent visas in New Zealand and Canada, while Australia also includes two temporary visas in its programme.

Table 2.1 reports the immigration programmes which make use, or may make use, of the EoI, whether they grant permanent or temporary residence and the share of economic migration inflow they cover.

The three countries introduced the EoI system at different periods over more than a decade and in all of them, the introduction of the EoI coincided with a policy shift from a heavily human capital-centred model to a hybrid model balancing human capital with employer demands.

However, the main motivation was caseload prioritisation and management. In fact, before the introduction of the EoI, applications were assessed on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, leading to queues (backlogs or inventories), which were ill-suited to meet employers’ hiring needs and short-term economic demands. Moreover, the migration cap in the three countries was quickly reached by applications submitted early in the filing period and obtaining the pass-mark, while higher-scoring applications submitted later entered the queue. With the EoI system, these countries moved from a policy of “passive acceptance of residence applications”, to a more “active selection of skilled migrants” (Merwood, 2008[2]).

Although the EoI systems in New Zealand, Australia and Canada have the same core structure (described in Section 1), some elements have been fine-tuned or added to address specific national needs. The following section describes the country-specific policy circumstances that led to the introduction of the EoIs and the specific needs to which they responded.

New Zealand

New Zealand pioneered the first EoI system in 2003, in the context of a wider review of its supply-driven model to permanent migration, introduced in the previous decade. The two-step process, along with revised selection criteria, aimed at ensuring that the received applications were better managed and that their selection better reflected skill demands. At that time, New Zealand had been in a conjuncture of sustained economic growth, marked by the lowest employment rate in the previous 15 years and by skill shortages registered across many sectors (OECD, 2014[3]). The need to hire foreign workers had intensified; however, the number of applications to be processed had increased as well. In these circumstances, the traditional processing mechanism (i.e. processing all applications as they were submitted and granting a positive outcome to all those reaching the pass-mark on the point-based system) revealed its inefficiencies: migrants, and possibly employers, had to wait a long time (up to two years) before receiving a decision, and the applications selected within the cap limit did not necessarily represent the most urgently needed skills (NZ Parliamentary Library, 2003[4]). A new selection system could have enabled the administration to manage a wider pool of candidates and to prioritise applicants with a job offer for instance.

To address these shortcomings, in 2003, the government introduced two elements of novelty: a new migration category called Skilled Migrant Category (replacing the General Skills Category in force since 1991), and the EoI system. The new Skilled Migrant Category was still based on a point-assessment, but having employment or an employment offer provided more points than previously (although it was not required). The EoI system was introduced by a bill submitted to the Parliament as a matter of urgency (New Zealand Parliament, 2013[5]), to ensure that the applications by candidates with a job offer were quickly processed, and that, after a certain period, the unpicked applications were automatically discarded, without causing a backlog.

Presently, New Zealand uses the EoI also to select migrants for its Skilled Migrant Category, the Investors 2 category and, outside the economic stream, its Parent category. In the context of economic migration, the EoI is most important for the Skilled Migrant Category, which accounts for 87% of total economic permanent migration (and which will be discussed below). The Investor 2 category is much smaller in number as the category is capped at 400 per year. Investors need to have a minimum of 3 million NZD in available funds or assets and only the top-rankers against a PBS are invited to apply. In 2012, New Zealand extended the EoI also to a specific category of the Family Stream, the Parent Category, subject to a numerical limitation. Parents of New Zealand citizens or residents for at least three years with a certain level of income (owned by parents or children) could be sponsored to become permanent residents. Similarly to the economic stream, the EoI served the purpose to gather expressions of interests of parents meeting certain requirements (income, language, health), to sort them and to prioritise applications, on the basis of their income. This allowed managing the backlog of applications, which was the consequence of a low cap and a high demand for this visa category. The category is currently being reviewed and new EoI applications closed as of October 2016. In the section which follows, only the Skilled Migrant Category will be discussed.

Australia

The Australian version of the EoI is called SkillSelect. It was introduced in 2012 to make sure that successful candidates could make a contribution to the Australian economy and to better align the migration programme to labour market needs (Australian Government, 2011[6]). Like in New Zealand, an oversupply of qualified candidates led to long processing time, which was up to three years for independent migrants (Hawthorne, 2011[7]; Australian Government, 2011[6]). At the same time, the cap for skilled migrants was quickly reached by the first applicants to meet the pass mark. This weakened the effectiveness of the selection mechanism. Like in New Zealand, SkillSelect was introduced in the context of a general review of the Australian permanent skilled migration programme, initiated by the government in 2008-09 and which led also to the expansion of employer-sponsored programmes. However, the economic context in which this reform took place in Australia was different, as it was marked by the global financial crisis and slower economic growth.

Unlike New Zealand, where there is only one skilled migration category, subject to a strongly hybrid selection mechanism, the Australian skilled migration programme features a variety of both supply-centred and hybrid schemes. The visa subclasses that do not require an employer sponsorship (Skilled Independent, Nominated and Regional Visas)2 are selected through SkillSelect, while those that require an employer sponsorship may use SkillSelect for its matching platform function. Employers may find workers in SkillSelect and recruit them using the permanent Employer Nomination Visa and the temporary Regional Sponsored Scheme,3 but also using Australia’s large temporary skilled visa.4 As a consequence, compared to the New Zealand version, the Australian version of the EoI is more complex and more dynamic to support different temporary and permanent migration programmes and to serve different policy objectives. For the supply-centred centrally-managed Skilled Independent Visa, SkillSelect serves the purpose to reduce backlogs and prioritise comparatively the better candidates. For decentralised and more demand-centred programmes (Skilled Nominated and Skill Regional visa), SkillSelect is also used to support migration demands by employers, states and territories, as it provides a database of pre-selected potential migrants (Australian Government, 2011[6]). For employer-sponsored programmes, SkillSelect works as a matching platform, where candidates can market themselves to employers, and employers can find potential employees. Candidates are allowed to stay in the pool for up to two years, during which they can seek sponsorship or nomination by employers, state or territory governments and update their profiles.

In Australia, SkillSelect is also used to select entrepreneurs and investors (Business Innovation and Investment visa),5 who would need to be nominated by a state or territory or, in the case of the Business Talent visa, by the Australian government. In the following section, only the Skilled Stream will be discussed.

Canada

Canada introduced its version of EoI, called Express Entry, in 2015. It was intended to improve application management and, in particular, to tackle the long-standing and particularly serious issue of backlogs that affected the Federal Skilled Workers Program. To deal with backlogs, in 2008, Canada introduced a maximum number of applications that Citizenship and Immigration Canada could process yearly (Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), 2010[8]). The quota had a limited number of qualifying occupations, requirements of arranged employment or previous experience in Canada, as well as processing priorities. These changes reduced processing time, from up to six years down to one year. However, they did not prove a long-term solution; the number of applications soon rose again and processing time became longer. In 2009, the ‘inventory’ of applications in queue stood at 640 000. To reduce the inventory, in 2012, the immigration minister decided to stop processing and return all applications submitted prior to the 2008 changes. This decision spurred a class action by potential migrants who had lodged their application before 2008. Although a 2013 ruling established that IRCC acted within the boundaries of its competence, the lawsuit increased pressure to find a method to eliminate the backlog. Therefore, the aim of the Canadian government, when introducing Express Entry, was to reduce the processing time to 6 months (Senate of Canada, 2013[1]).

The backlog in the Federal Skilled Workers Program was not only an administrative problem with associated legal consequences but also meant that the system was responding poorly to short-term labour market needs. To improve this situation, another strategy adopted by the Canadian government was to open up alternative migration channels to the Federal Skilled Workers Program. Since 2008, candidates with previous Canadian work experience have been able to apply to a Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and since 2013, candidates with a job offer in a trade have been able to apply for a Federal Skilled Trades Programme (FSTP). Programmes requiring sponsorship by province or employer were also expanded. Express Entry supports several separate programmes, i.e. the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Trade Worker Program, and Canadian Experience Class. These programmes comprise approximately one third of permanent economic migration. Candidates who qualify for at least one of these programmes can enter into the pool. While in the Australian EoI candidates may enter into the pool if they pass the same qualifying threshold and are then selected based upon different visa-specific criteria; in Canada, the opposite happens, candidates can enter the pool if they meet the specific requirements of the programme of interest and are then selected by picking top-rankers against uniform criteria. In this respect, with Express Entry, the Canadian government tried to harmonise the final selection criteria, while preserving the specificity of each programme.

Express Entry also aimed at strengthening the role of provinces and territories in immigrant selection. Candidates for the Provincial Nominee Program could opt to use Express Entry to market themselves to provinces or territories of interest. In turn, the sub-federal administration could turn to the Express Entry pool to pluck candidates who meet the requirements for at least one federal programme. Moreover, by choosing candidates through Express Entry rather than through other channels, provinces and territories could be ensured that candidates had already undergone a pre-screening stage and would consequently be more likely to be selected, especially since the points provided by a provincial nomination amount to 50% of the total.

Table 2.1. Main reasons and year of introduction and selection channels in EoI systems in New Zealand, Australia and Canada

Country – EoI name

Year

Main reason for introduction

Main selection channels from pool, P (permanent) or T (temporary)

Share of total inflow covered by EoI (2015; 2016 for Canada)

NZL – Expression of Interest

2004

Reduce backlogs

Prioritise the comparatively ‘highest potential’ candidates and those with a job offer

Skilled Migrant Category (P)

40% of all (permanent and temporary) economic migration;1 87% of permanent economic migration

Investment 2 Category (P)

50% of the Business and Investment categories2

Parent category (P)

27% of the Family Stream3

AUS - SkillSelect

2012

Reduce backlogs

Prioritise the comparatively ‘highest potential’ candidates

Support labour migration demand (from state and territory governments as well as employers) by providing a pre-selected pool of candidates

General Skilled Migration

Skilled Independent Visa (visa 189) (P)

Skilled Nominated Visa (visa 190) (P)

Skilled Regional Visa (visa 489) (T)

Sponsor-based, may use SkillSelect

Temporary Skilled Visa (visa 457) (T)

Employer Nomination Visa (visa 186) (P)

Regional Sponsored Scheme (visa 189) (P)

SkillSelect schemes make 53% of permanent economic migration (while the remainder may use EoI), and 35% of all (temporary and permanent) migration.5

Business Innovation and Investment

Business Talent (visa 132) (P)

Business Innovation and Investment (visa 188) (P)

100% of the direct access business and investment schemes

CAN – Express Entry

2015

Reduce backlogs

Prioritise the comparatively ‘highest potential’ candidates

Support labour migration demand (provincial governments) by providing a pre-selected pool of candidates

Harmonise selection criteria across different programmes

Federal Skilled Workers Program (P)

Canadian Experience Class (P)

Federal Skilled Trade Program (P)

May use Express Entry

Provincial Nominee Program (P)

Express Entry programmes (including EE Provincial Nominee)4 comprise 21% of the permanent economic immigration category; and 17% of all (temporary and permanent) migration.

1. 25 756 persons were admitted for the Skilled Migrant Category, and 311 for the Investor 2 programme. 29 719 persons were admitted in the Skilled/Business Stream (which includes business and residence from work visas). As for temporary work, only work-to-residence and essential skills visas are included in the calculation (34 938 visas in 2015).

2. In 2015, 629 applications were approved for Investor 1 and 2 and for entrepreneurs.

3. In 2015, 4 942 persons were approved to residence in the Parent Category.

4. For foreign temporary workers, only the Temporary Foreign Workers Programme has been considered (in 2016, 20 535). The number of permits issued within the permanent economic migration programmes through Express Entry amounted to 18 776, while the total number of permits was 89 451.

5. In 2015, the permanent schemes where SkillSelect was mandatory (Skill Independent, Province/Territory Nominated) comprised 55% (i.e. 68 644) of total permanent migration. When temporary migration, in particular the Skilled Regional and temporary skilled worker schemes, is included, SkillSelect was mandatory for 35% of inflows and optional for 65%.

Source: OECD Secretarial calculation based on New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) (2016[9]), Migration Trends 2015/16; Australian Government, Department of Immigration and Borders Protection (DIBP) (2016[10]), 2015-16 Migration Programme Report; Citizenship and Immigration Canada (IRCC) (2016[11]), Report to OECD Expert group on International Migration (SOPEMI): Canada’s immigration policies, programs and trends (2017[12]).

EoI elements in New Zealand, Australia and Canada

In order to function, EoI systems need:

  • a certain number of candidates who are willing to express their interest in migrating to the specific country

  • vetting procedures to pre-select the candidates who would make up the pool

  • mechanisms to manage the pool so that some candidates are invited to apply and a certain turnover is guaranteed.

New Zealand, Australia and Canada implement EoI in different ways at these three stages. The following sections describe how they choose to attract candidates, to vet them and to manage the pool.6

Attracting candidates to the pool

Attracting migrants to the EoI pool is not a challenge for New Zealand, Australia and Canada. These countries are popular and long-established migration destinations that can rely on an already available migration supply for their programmes, as they often had backlogs of qualified candidates prior to the introduction of EoI. Evidence from the Gallup World Survey (OECD, 2016[13]) confirms that New Zealand, Australia and Canada are attractive migration destinations: the estimated number of potentially permanent migrants is as high as their total population, while in the US and in the EU potentially permanent migrants are estimated to be respectively 40% and 25% of the total population. The percentages are even higher for New Zealand, Australia and Canada if only high skilled potential migrants (i.e. those who would leave in the next 12 months) are taken into account. Moreover, a higher percentage of potentially permanent migrants to Canada, Australia and New Zealand compared to the average of potentially permanent migrants (45% vis-à-vis 36%) has taken concrete actions to migrate, suggesting either that the three countries are considered more feasible destinations, or that they attract more determined migrants.

Since there is already interest in migrating to these countries, the challenge is to ensure that interested potential migrants express their interest through the EoI system. One way to attract migrants to express their interest in migrating is to provide simple and clear information on migration-related procedures. In all three countries, it is in fact possible to apply to the EoI online directly from government migration information websites. Detailed information on how the EoI systems work and which migration programmes they support is also extensively available. Prior to submitting their expression of interest, potential migrants can also check their eligibility and success chances online, by filling in a questionnaire.

Involving potential migrants more directly is also an attraction strategy. The Canadian Express Entry has an email alert service to keep (potential) migrants updated with any changes that may occur in the system. In New Zealand, an entire website, NewZealandNow, is dedicated to promoting New Zealand as a destination country, and interested migrants can sign up to receive general information on migration opportunities and periodic job vacancies. These vacancies are collected from employers who wish to recruit migrants and register their vacancies into a vacancies database, called SkillFinder. SkillFinder matches the profiles of candidates and the vacancies description and sends email alerts to potential migrants who signed up. In 2017, NewZealandNow counted more than 800 000 registered candidates.7 This number represents a massive pool, more than 16 times the total migration inflows into New Zealand in 2015 (54 000).

Canada, Australia and New Zealand also participate in, or organise, overseas recruitment fairs. Fairs allow potential candidates to learn about migration opportunities, life and work in the selected country, and to contact potential employers and regions of destination, some of which may also send representatives to the events.

The EoI targets not only potential migrants abroad, but also migrants who are already residing in the country on temporary visas. Those already in the country have better access to information on job opportunities and lifestyle than those residing abroad; therefore, less outreach is necessary to promote EoI in this group. Whether because they have more information, or because they meet criteria more easily, most of the new visas issued from EoI programmes go to temporary residents rather than people abroad.

Vetting candidates

Pre-selecting candidates: list of requirements and point-based systems

As described above, one of the main purposes of EoI is to create a pool of pre-selected candidates. Admission to the pool can be decided based on meeting a list of prerequisites, and/or on passing a certain threshold using a point-based assessment. Since the EoI can support more than one migration programme, there may be one pre-selection method for different programmes, or more pre-selection methods depending on the migration scheme the candidate is interested in. In New Zealand, candidates have to meet certain requirements (occupational profile, age, language skills) and pass a point-based assessment that combines supply and demand-side factors. Similarly, in Australia, candidates for sponsor-free visas have to meet certain requirements (occupational profile, age, language skills) and pass a point-based assessment, which, in the Australian case, focuses on human capital factors only. Candidates for sponsor-based visas, on the contrary, only need to meet certain requirements to enter into the pool, and are exempt from the point-based assessment. In Canada, candidates for the Canadian Experience Class and the Federal Skilled Workers Program are vetted by using a list of programme-specific requirements, while candidates for the Federal Skilled Workers Program undergo also a point-based assessment, combining supply and demand-side factors.

New Zealand, Australia and Canada use the EoI mainly for their skilled immigration programmes. The definition of ‘skilled migrant’ is based on the occupation(s) that the migrants are capable of doing that they nominate in their expression of interest. New Zealand and Australia (for sponsor-free visas) draft lists of skilled occupations8 that feature both professional and technical occupations (e.g. plumbers, carpenters, cooks). Similarly, in Canada, only managerial, professional and technical professions as categorised in the National Occupation Classification (NOC) are eligible, as well as a subset of trade occupations (e.g. butchers and bakers). In Australia, the occupations that can be sponsored by employers are extended to the occupations listed in the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List (CSOL),9 which additionally includes some lower-skilled occupations. While applicants for nominated visas have to choose a skilled profession, states and territories may use their own occupation lists drafted within the State Migration Plan, which can be broader than the skilled list. In Australia, the capacity to perform skilled employment is assessed by checking qualifications and work experience by the occupation-specific assessing authorities. The assessment certificate is a compulsory requirement to complete an expression of interest.

Screening method: self-declaration or supporting documents

The screening method can be based either on prospective migrants’ self-declarations, which selected migrants have to substantiate with documents at a later stage (New Zealand), or on documentation that candidates are requested to provide when expressing their interest (Australia, Canada). This latter method increases the confidence of the selectors in the quality of the pool and minimises risks of failure related to authenticity or qualifications’ recognition problems. This is particularly important when private employers are involved in the selection, as is the case in Australia, where employers have direct access to the pool, and in Canada, where employers have access to the candidates indirectly, through the job matching platform called Job Bank. However, it requires candidates to invest in certification and recognition with no guarantee of selection.

Table 2.2. Pre-pool selection and screening method by country

Country

Migration scheme

Selection method to enter the pool

Screening method

NZL

Skilled Migrant Category

List of requirements (occupational profile, age, language skills) +

Combination of demand-side and supply-side factors assessed through a PBS with a minimum threshold to meet

Language test and self-declaration for qualifications, unless assessment needed

AUS

Skilled Independent visa; Skilled Nominated visa; Skill Regional visa

List of requirements (occupational profile, age, language skills) +

Combination of supply-side factors only assessed through a PBS with a minimum threshold to meet

Qualifications to be uploaded in the EoI: language test and skill assessment (qualifications and experience)

Temporary skilled visa; Employer Nomination visa; Regional Sponsored Scheme

List of requirements (occupational profile, age, language skills)

CAN

Federal Skilled Workers Program

List of requirements (occupational profile, language skills, work experience) +

Combination of demand-side and supply-side factors assessed through a PBS a minimum threshold

Qualifications to be uploaded in the EoI: language test and Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)

Canadian Experience Class

List of requirements (occupational profile, language skills, Canadian work experience)

Federal Skilled Trades Program

List of requirements (job offer, occupational profile, language skills, work experience)

Provincial Nominee Program

Any of the above

Source: OECD Secretariat analysis of national legislation, 2017.

Setting the pre-selection threshold right

In a one-step selection process, selection criteria are intended to ensure that the selected persons are those with the highest potential to contribute to the country’s economy, and that their number is in line with the pre-defined migration target. With a two-step selection process, there is no obligation to process or pick the candidates who enter into the pool, so the first-step selection criteria only determine the potential ceiling and the identity of the persons that might be selected from the pool in the second stage. At the pre-entry stage, policy makers face a trade-off in setting the pre-selection criteria: on the one hand, criteria aim to ensure that enough candidates enter the pool, meaning it should not be too restrictive or too rigid; on the other hand, the pool of candidates needs to have an added value compared to candidates outside the pool, so the pre-selection criteria should not be trivial.

Setting appropriate pre-selection criteria appears challenging. In the first years of existence of the EoI system, New Zealand tweaked the point threshold for qualification for the pool. Originally set at a very high level (195 points), the threshold was lowered several times until it reached the actual level (100 points) in 2005 (Bedford and Spoonley, 2014[14]). While the allocation of points remained unchanged during the first year, it changed in 2006 and the total available points increased (OECD, 2014[3]). This means that the qualifying threshold has been de facto further decreased. By lowering the qualifying threshold, the number of migrants with a job offer decreased. The current threshold is a trade-off between ensuring that enough candidates are admitted into the pool while, at the same time, ensuring that they all have sufficiently high settlement potential if invited to apply. Between 2009-13 New Zealand registered a decrease in the number of expressions of interest submitted due to the economic recession. In response to this, the government decided to maintain its invitation to apply threshold, but to accept a smaller intake (OECD, 2014[3]).

In Australia, the qualifying point threshold has been roughly stable since SkillSelect’s introduction, and registered only one small change (by 5/60 points). It is currently set at 65 points. In Canada, the Express-Entry pool admission requirements, including the point allocation to enter into the pool for the Federal Skilled Workers Program, have not changed since the introduction of the system. However, the relative importance of different profile characteristics for obtaining an invitation to apply for immigration has significantly evolved over time (Box 2.1).

Box 2.1. EoI and point-based system (PBS)

The PBS as a selection mechanism was first designed by Canada in 1967, and was later introduced in Australia (1979) and New Zealand (1991). Although the PBS is not a necessary element of the EoI, at present, all three EoI systems use the PBS to filter candidates into the pool, and/or to rank them once in the pool. The only case in which EoI does not rely on a PBS is in the Australian employer-sponsored programmes, which may use SkillSelect as a matching tool but otherwise do not pass through SkillSelect.

The fact that all EoI systems use a PBS does not mean that they assign similar weights to different characteristics. The weights given to each factor and the way human capital and demand factors are combined vary. For instance, in New Zealand, an employment offer provides sufficient points to enter the pool, while in Australia an employment offer is of no weight to enter the pool. Among the three countries, Australia uses the PBS mainly to assess human capital characteristics. This is the consequence of the Australian government’s choice to keep supply-focused and employer-sponsored programmes separated. Within human capital factors, Australia values youth more than New Zealand and Canada do. In New Zealand, work experience accounts for more than half of the pass-mark, while it is much less important in the point-assessment for the Canadian Federal Skilled Worker Program (where some work experience is however necessary). In all PBSs, human capital factors provide most of the points and they alone potentially provide enough points to enter the pool. Additional points may be allocated for partner’s characteristics (e.g. language proficiency, in-country experience) and family ties within the country.

Setting a low threshold to enter into the pool may have adverse effects when candidates who barely meet the threshold are likely to be selected. In Australia, between 2012-14, most visas were granted to applicants who just met the threshold or scored slightly above it. The point distribution was therefore strongly skewed towards the threshold. Not enough evidence is available to explain this phenomenon; however, it is possible that some candidates may have been able to qualify for additional points, but decided not to undertake the costly and complex recognition procedures or paperwork necessary to attest their qualifications, since a minimum point threshold had already been obtained and was likely to result in an invitation to apply. If this is widespread, it means that the EoI system cannot properly rank and sort candidates, since not all information is included in their application.

The challenge with any PBS, whether used for EoI or not, is to calibrate the allocation of points to each factor on the basis of the desired selection effects. Canada uses a PBS to dynamically rank candidates in the pool against each other (Comprehensive Ranking System, CRS) Until November 2016, having a qualifying job offer gave 50% of all available points in the CRS. This created a wide point gap between candidates with and without a job offer, so that the system became largely demand-driven for the former, and turned supply-driven for the latter, only once applications with a job offer were exhausted (OECD, 2016[13]). Due to this point allocation, it became more difficult to be selected from the pool without a job offer, meaning also that very highly-skilled candidates lacking a job offer struggled to get an invitation to apply and, hence, possibly jeopardizing Canadian broad migration policy goal of improving the educational composition of the population. At the same time, employers found the labour market impact assessment (LMIA) – necessary for the job offer to count for points - too costly and burdensome (Canadian Chamber of Commerce, 2016[15]). In November 2016 the Canadian government lowered the points allocated for a job offer from 50 to 4-17% of the total available points in the CRS, bringing the system back to a more balanced hybrid model. Several exemptions to the LMIA were also introduced, thus making it easier for pool candidates already on LMIA-exempt temporary employment in Canada to demonstrate a qualifying job offer. Other changes introduced in November 2016 include a point premium for pool candidates with Canadian post-secondary education credentials – aimed at facilitating permanent settlement of international students. Further changes in 2017 included an additional point premium for French language skills and for siblings in Canada.

Figure 2.2. Maximum point allocation for each factor and qualifying threshold (when exists) to enter into the pool, in percentage of the total available points
picture

*For the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), 40 points are available for adaptability factors (which include previous experience in Canada, relatives in Canada, partner’s characteristics). Since only up to 10 points can be claimed on this factor, only 10 points available for partner's characteristics have been selected. **The CRS considered above is for an applicant with a partner and not applying for the Provincial Nominee Program (a nomination would give 50% of available points).

Source: OECD Secretariat analysis of national legislation, 2017.

The point allocation does not always reflect candidates’ economic prospects. In CRS, a substantial point gap persists at the benefit of applications for the Provincial Nominee Program, which receive 50% of total available points if applicants secure a provincial nomination. Given that Express Entry is not compulsory for the Provincial Nomination Program, the point differential can be explained as an incentive to use Express Entry rather than as an economic integration predictor. Point allocation may reflect broader policy objectives than optimal labour market integration. Thus, the June 2017 reform of CRS introduced additional points for French language proficiency, with a goal to contributing to expand the francophone community outside Quebec. At the same time, a point premium was also introduced for candidates having siblings in Canada, as a way of facilitating family reunification.

The traditional PBSs assign points to each factor taken individually. Each factor can then be supplemented by bonus points, i.e. points on top of points already assigned for a factor (e.g. education) if some conditions are met (e.g. education in the country of destination or in certain subjects). Recently, the Canadian CRS has introduced an element of novelty, providing up to 100/1200 points for the interaction of different factors. While a similar result can be achieved by assigning bonus points, the conceptualisation of interacting requirements as a separate factor is a novelty. Moreover, unlike bonus points, interaction factors are not conceptually related to each other. In the CRS, the interaction factors are grouped and named ‘Skill Transferability Factors’. Under this line, it is possible to score points for the combination of education with language skills or work experience; foreign work experience with Canadian work experience or language skills; and language skills with trade qualifications. This is intended to favour candidates that score high on different factors, vis-à-vis candidates that score high on one factor only, as it has been shown that the earning prospects are higher when two factors, for instance education and language proficiency, are combined (Bonikowska, Hou and Picot, 2015[16]) rather than when only one of the two is present. Moreover, it is also meant to discount some undesired effects of the point allocation. For instance, older candidates who may lose out points on the age factor have the possibility to gain some points if they are more experienced and proficient in one of the national languages. This tries to account for the fact that, while younger candidates have higher expected earnings than older candidates, the earning gap narrows when controlling for other factors, like language proficiency and experience (Bonikowska, Hou and Picot, 2015[16]).

Pool management

Static and dynamic pools

The pool can be managed in a static or dynamic way. Once in the pool, candidates can either wait for the migration decision to be taken (“static” candidate), or can continue to upgrade their profiles, or seek sponsorship or nomination, and hence boost their selection chances (“dynamic” candidate). New Zealand EoI uses a static pool, where candidates are not expected to upgrade their profile and remain in the pool for six months only.10 Canada and Australia are examples of dynamic pools: candidates can market themselves to potential sponsors and can upgrade their profiles, while being allowed to stay in the pool for respectively up to one and two years. It may only make sense to allow candidates to stay in the pool for an extended period if they can upgrade their profiles and thus increase their success chances; otherwise, assuming a certain consistency over time across the point distribution in the pool, candidates have the same success chances at each selection round, unless the frequency and size of draws increases significantly.11

Employers and sub-federal entities’ access to the pool

The pool is managed by the central administration, but some models allow other actors to consult candidate profiles and make job or sponsorship offers which affect the selection process. In Canada and Australia, sub-federal entities and employers’ involvement in selection is not only allowed but encouraged. While the EoI in itself is not a matching tool, it also works as, or in combination with, job matching tools.

In New Zealand, the EoI is not used as a job matching tool and employers do not have access to the pool of candidates. While nothing prevents applicants from seeking a job offer while in the pool and hence editing their profiles, being in the pool does not affect their chances to find employment in any way. Not directly linked to EoI, however, New Zealand has put in place a separate tool to facilitate matching between local labour demand and foreign supply, called SkillFinder. SkillFinder is a free database accessible to skilled potential migrants and employers. Potential migrants wishing to relocate to New Zealand file their profile on the web portal ‘NewZealandNow’, where they can log in information about their profession, years of experience and education. Employers register their vacancies in SkillFinder, specifying the occupation, the level of academic qualifications, preferences on geographical area of origin and years of experience of the candidates they are looking for. The system automatically displays the number of potential candidates matching the requested profile and candidates with the relevant profiles are then notified of new vacancies. The system is fairly light in terms of administration, as it leaves it to the candidates and the employers the task to register their profiles and to apply. The matching is automatic, and the only step undertaken by administrators is to review the vacancy.12 New Kiwis, a free of charge initiative by the Auckland Chamber of Commerce and Immigration New Zealand, is also a portal which connects (potential) migrants with employers. Skillfinder and New Kiwis list vacancies and collect profiles; however they do not provide general labour market information that could orient migrants’ choices. Candidates may find more general information about labour market, working environment and employment rights on the website ‘NewZealandNow’. To access SkillFinder, employers are not requested to undertake any accreditation process (unless employers want to get an accreditation requested for repeated hiring), and, although they are recommended to look for a New Zealand resident first, there is no established procedure that they have to follow.

The Canadian Express Entry is also not a job matching tool itself, and only IRCC authorities can access the pool of candidates. However, unlike the New Zealand EoI, Express Entry is directly linked to a job matching tool, managed by the Public Employment Service, called Job Bank. Candidates that enter the pool without a job offer are encouraged register their profiles in the Job Bank.13 Candidates who get an employment offer while in the pool see their success chances increase by 4-17%. Job Bank is open to employers, Canadian and overseas job seekers and lists vacancies as well as provides labour market information (for instance, the wage distribution of a profession in a specific area). Candidates are divided into two categories: nationals and permanent residents (marked by a maple leaf), or Express Entry candidates. An integrated tool, called Job Match, automatically matches employers and job seekers. Job Match first matches vacancies with nationals and permanent residents, and after 30 days, the match is extended to Express Entry candidates. Candidates may subscribe to an email alert service if they wish to be notified when new relevant opportunities are posted.

The Australian SkillSelect is the only EoI to work as a (one-way) job-matching tool itself. While getting an employment offer does not affect the invitation chances for the supply-driven visas, pool candidates who do get an offer are automatically invited to apply for a sponsored visa. Employers can access the pool, see candidate profiles and contact them. SkillSelect however neither collects vacancies for potential migrants to consult, nor provides labour market information that could be useful to migrants in orienting themselves into the Australian labour market. Employers are not requested to meet any specific requirements to access SkillSelect. Candidates’ personal details are protected, until candidates themselves decide to disclose them to the employers who contacted them.

Table 2.3. EoIs and characteristics of job matching tools

 

NZL

CAN

AUS

Job matching tool

Skill finder

Job Bank

Skill Select

Link to EoI

None

Candidates in the EoI without a job offer have to register their profiles in the Job Bank

SkillSelect is the EoI

Collection of vacancies

yes

yes

no

Collection of profiles

yes

yes

yes

Labour market information

no

yes

no

Equal access to nationals

no

yes

no

Employers’ registration

no

no

no

Maximum permanence in the pool

6 months

1 year

2 years

Possibility to update the profile

no

yes

yes

Credentials pre-screening

no

yes

yes

Source: OECD Secretariat analysis of national legislation, 2017.

Selection methods: Automatic ranking and desired characteristics

Several selection methods can be applied at the second EoI stage that lead to an invitation to apply: candidates in the pool can all undergo the same selection method (as in Canada) or different methods (as in Australia), depending on the programme for which they have expressed an interest.

Candidates may be automatically ranked by using a PBS and selected on the basis of their scores in descending order, as it is the case in New Zealand, Canada and Australia (for the Skilled Independent Programme). The second-stage PBS can be the same as the PBS used to enter the pool, as in New Zealand and Australia (for the sponsor-free visas), or a different one, as in Canada. In the first case, the second-step selection is a more competitive version of the first-step selection. In the other case, the second-step selection is a different type of selection. Canada applies a new ranking method (CRS) that classifies candidates on the basis of their scores against factors that reflect the overall determinants of migrants’ integration success as well as broader policy considerations. Factors are divided into two main groups: CRS core factors including age, education, official language proficiency, work experience, and a combination of these (skill transferability factors), awarding a maximum of 600 points, and factors granting additional points, including Canadian post-secondary education, arranged employment, French language proficiency, siblings in Canada, and provincial nomination.14 The CRS applies to the same extent to all candidates, regardless of the programme they intend to apply for. The idea behind having two different selection methods in the first and in the second step is that, while candidates may be eligible to enter into the pool for different combinations of skills, their integration success chances are predicted by the same determinants.

When the second-stage selection is based on automatic ranking, the pass mark is set in consideration of the number of expressions of interest received and of the immigration target. In Canada, ministerial instructions published before each selection round15 set the number of candidates and the eligible score to be invited to apply. This method gives the government strict control of the number and profiles of persons to be invited at each round.16 In Australia, there is no pass mark and the maximum number of candidates invited to apply at each round is published on the government website17 prior to each invitation round. There are occupational ceilings, which are set every year and which determine the number of candidates to be accepted for specific professions. In New Zealand, there is no quota (neither general nor occupational), and the pass mark is set by the government for the entire financial year. Currently the pass mark is 160 points. Compared to the Canadian method, the Australian and New Zealand methods leave a certain margin of uncertainty on the number and profiles of candidates invited to apply.

The top-ranking candidates are invited to apply on a regular basis. Draws or invitation rounds are performed every two to three weeks in all three countries. The number of people to be invited to apply at each round can be based on the number of persons whose application has met the previously set pass-mark (as it is the case in New Zealand), or it can be decided at each round, depending on the state of the economy and processing availability (as in Canada and Australia).

An alternative selection method is picking from the pool only the candidates with a desired characteristic, for instance, a job offer. This applies in the Australian sponsored programmes, where candidates to whom employers wish to offer a position may exit the pool and apply for a visa. In this case, there is no need of regular invitation rounds. Another alternative selection method is used by states and territories which invite candidates throughout the month, following the application of their own selection criteria and an individual assessment.

A mixed method can also be applied by combining both the PBS ranking and selection based on the desired characteristic(s). This was implemented in New Zealand up until October 2016, where candidates scoring at least 140 points on the PBS were automatically selected, while, among those scoring between 100 and 140 points, only persons with a job or job offer were invited to apply.

Table 2.4. Selection criteria by migration scheme

Country

Migration scheme

Selection criteria

NZL

Skilled Migrant Category

Automatic selection of top-rankers against a PBS

Selection of mid-level rankers + job offer (until end 2016); invitation rounds

AUS

Skilled Independent visa

Automatic selection of top-rankers against a PBS within occupational ceilings; invitation rounds

Skilled Nominated visa

State-specific criteria; no invitation rounds

Skill Regional visa

Automatic selection of top-rankers against a PBS within occupational ceilings + nomination; invitation rounds

Temporary skilled visa Employer Nomination visa Regional Sponsored Scheme

Automatic possibility to apply for a visa (outside SkillSelect) following a job offer

CAN

Federal Skilled Workers Program

Automatic selection of top-rankers against a PBS within limits imposed at each round; invitation rounds

Canadian Experience Class

As above

Federal Skilled Trades Program

As above

Provincial Nominee Program

As above

Source: OECD Secretariat analysis of national legislation, 2017.

Box 2.2. Setting targets and ceilings in the EoI

Migration targets are a common feature of immigration policy in New Zealand, Australian and Canadian. Targets are set periodically, to proactively manage the skills composition as well as the number of migrants coming into the country. They do not represent strict quotas, but rather a range within which the number of incoming migrants is considered desirable. Targets are not a necessary element of the EoI, but the EoI has turned out to be particularly useful when there are numerical limitations.

In New Zealand, the target for the Residence Programme is set biannually and is divided into three streams: Skilled/Business, Family, and International/Humanitarian migration. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment proposes an immigration target based on emigration forecasts and expected number of applications, as well as economic projections. There is no specific threshold for the Skilled Migrant category, but the expected number of successful applicants, given a certain pass mark is taken into account when setting the target for the Skilled / Business Stream.

In Canada, the Immigration Levels Plan is set annually by the government in consultation with provinces and territories, taking into account policy priorities and operational capacities. In the past, each economic programme was subject to an individual cap, but, as of January 2017, the targets for federal economic programmes using Express Entry, i.e. Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, Canadian Experience Class, have been merged into one common target. This is because the CRS is supposed to determine the number of successful applicants for each migration programme based on the comparative assessment of expressions of interest. A separate target is set for the Provincial Nominees programme, on the basis of provinces’ forecast economic needs.

In Australia, the Migration Programme is set annually, in consultation with communities and on the basis of economic forecasts. Within the planning levels, occupational ceilings are also set. Annual occupational ceilings on skilled occupations are set by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, based on inputs from the Department of Education and the Department of Employment. As a general rule, the annual occupational ceiling is 4% of the national employment in each occupation, and, as of 2013/14, no smaller than 1 000. Occupational ceilings have the same selection effects as general caps, but on specific occupations: a quantitative effect, whereby the highest-ranked candidates for that occupation are invited to apply only until the ceiling has been reached; a qualitative effect, whereby if the number of expressions of interest for capped occupations or the quality of applicants is very high, the imposition of a ceiling pushes up the effective pass-mark for that occupation for that round.

In the three countries, all applications that must pass through the EoI are capped. In this respect, the EoI has a clear added value in dealing with oversupply, as with limited places availability, it ensures that the selected migrants are comparatively most needed. In absence of caps, EoI would have an effect only on prioritisation. The only categories not subject to a cap are the Australian employer-sponsored visas, which may go through SkillSelect. In this case, however, the EoI serves only the purpose to provide a pool of pre-screened candidates from where employers might pick migrants to sponsor, and does not have any effect on selection or prioritisation.

Needs, solutions and consequences of the EoI model

With the country-specific differences described above, the EoI systems respond to two different needs (Figure 2.3): improving the efficiency of managing candidate selection and enhancing skills matching. The first need was particularly pressing in New Zealand, Canada and Australia due to an oversupply of applications. The selection rule in place before the EoI, ‘first come, first served’, led to long processing time which was discouraging for applicants and ineffective to respond to immediate labour market needs. To improve this, EoI introduces two elements: prioritisation and automatic expiration of expressions of interest. Prioritising certain applications shortens the application processing time for the most needed migrants, and, as a consequence, leads to a better response to economic shortages and encourages applicants with the highest success chances to apply. The administration does not have to actively process all applications; thus saving the time otherwise spent rejecting applications. Expressions of interest are automatically discarded if they have not been selected after a certain period of time and this prevents the formation of queues.

Figure 2.3. Needs the EoI responds to, solution provided and consequences
picture

Source: OECD Secretariat analysis.

The second need, enhancing skills’ matching, is a more general issue, which is the consequence of labour market actors’ imperfect information. This is particularly the case for migrant workers. On the one hand, foreign workers are less informed than residents about employment opportunities, especially if these are in less popular or less visible areas. On the other hand, employers wishing to recruit from outside of the local labour market, and in particular from abroad, experience more difficulties in finding potential candidates and in understanding their qualifications. Similarly, less popular or visible areas struggle to find candidates willing to relocate there. Estimating the outcomes of the application process could also be difficult if employers are not familiar with migration rules, increasing the degree of uncertainty in recruiting migrants (Chen, Ward and Coulon, 2013[17]). To enhance skills matching, the EoI introduces a matching component: it opens the pool of candidates to labour demand (employers or sub-national entities). Compared to candidates outside the pool, candidates in the pool have local-equivalent qualifications and certified language skills. Moreover, by being visible as candidates, they can market themselves to potential sponsors.

Success factors and shortcomings

The three EoI systems are constantly monitored by the government administration and have built-in mechanisms to ensure that they meet policy objectives on the numbers and profiles of migrants invited to apply. As shown in the section above, since their introduction, EoI systems have been tweaked with changing economic circumstances, policy priorities, and on the basis of their selection outcomes. However, comprehensive evaluations of EoI systems themselves have not been carried out yet. Further, although part of the objective of EoI is to improve long-term outcomes, evaluation of outcomes over time is not yet possible in countries that have introduced the system recently.

The following sections present the available evidence to assess to what extent the EoI systems have met the objectives for which they were introduced.

Expanding the pool of candidates

No evidence is available to show that the EoI has widened the pool of potential migrants; however, it is clear that, thanks to the EoI, it is possible to gather and manage an increasingly high number of up-to-date profiles of potential applicants.

In New Zealand, neither data on the number of expressions of interest received,18 nor data on the applications lodged for the skilled migration programme prior to the introduction of EoI are publicly available. The Fortnightly Selection Statistics of the New Zealand Residence Programme19 show that the number of candidates available in the pool at each round is at least twice as high as the number of persons invited to apply, and thus, from a quantitative point of view, there are enough candidates among whom the authorities can choose. A decline in expressions of interest submitted has been registered in the period 2009-2012 (OECD, 2014[3]). This was due to worsening economic circumstances (Bedford and Spoonley, 2014[14]), as no major policy changes occurred in this period. When economic circumstances improved, expressions of interest increased again.

In Australia, the number of EoI on hand has steadily increased since 2013. This may be the result of gradual transmigration towards the new system or of a genuine increased interest in migrating to Australia. In May 2015, the number of candidates in the pool (comprising those who lodged their expression of interest for the first time and those already in the pool) reached 50 000. This means that 50 000 candidates already meeting some minimum requirements were eligible to be invited to apply in the approximately fortnightly invitation round. Similarly in Canada, in January 2016, 60 042 pre-screened and valid profiles were active in Express Entry, eligible to be possibly invited to apply. As of January 2018 the number of active candidates had increased to 71 087.

Reducing processing time (at the same cost)

When data are available, it confirms that the EoI contributed to reducing visa processing time (at no additional cost for the administration). To assess the impact of the EoI on reducing processing time, data before and after the introduction of the EoI, or within and outside the EoI should be compared. The EoI introduced an additional step in the application process, i.e. the time spent in the pool before receiving an invitation to apply. This time should also be taken into account, as, even if it does not represent a lag for the administration, it is part of the time invested by migrants (and possibly employers) in their applications.

In New Zealand and Australia, it is not possible to compare processing time before and after the introduction of the EoI for the same types of visas, as comparable data are missing. In New Zealand, most visa applications for the Skilled Migrant Category are currently processed within six months.20 This is a relatively long time compared with temporary visas for work purposes (23/25 days), but an average processing time when compared with other permanent visas in the Skilled/Business Category (Investor Visas – 10 months, Residence from Work visas – 3 months, others – 6 months).21 Data on the average permanence in the pool are not available. Candidates in the pool have high selection chances, and in fact 86% of expressions of interest entered the pool in the second half of 2012 received an invitation to apply (OECD calculations on data in OECD (2014[3])). It can therefore be concluded that, from the moment in which they express their interest, applicants wait for less than one year to be issued a visa. This is shorter than the two-year wait prior to the introduction of EoI.

In Australia, the average number of days from the invitation to apply to the visa grant has decreased over time. While in 2013 granting a visa took approximately four to five months depending on the category, the latest available data22 show that, on average, applications through SkillSelect are processed within three months. This is shorter than the time taken to process applications outside SkillSelect, which lies between six and 12 months, depending on the visa category. This is the case even if the processing order favours the non-SkillSelect visas.23 Applicants who receive an invitation to apply have already, on average, spent between one and three months in the pool, depending on the category, on the quality and quantity of overall expressions of interest. Therefore, overall, applicants wait on average between four and six months from the moment they compile their expression of interest to the moment they are granted a visa. This is a much shorter waiting time than the three year period an independent migrant might have waited before the introduction of SkillSelect (Hawthorne, 2011[7]; Australian Government, 2011[6]).

In Canada, Express Entry has significantly reduced processing time, with 80% of candidates who had received an invitation to apply granted a visa within six months. This represents a reduction by 50% compared to processing time before the immediate introduction of Express Entry and a much larger improvement compared to processing time for applications outside Express Entry (applications to Provincial Nomination outside Express Entry are currently processed in 16 months and to Federal Skilled Worker Program lodged before 2015 in 24 months).24

Available data suggest that EoI systems have reduced the processing costs for the administration, while not imposing substantial additional costs on migrants and employers.

When ranking is automatic, the only additional costs are technical platform-management costs. No information is available on their amount. When semiautomatic ranking is applied, as in New Zealand until October 2016, it is fair to assume that the administrative costs are still lower than those involved if all applications received were processed outside the EoI, as only a share of expressions of interests is in fact reviewed.

Moreover, all the EoI systems have in place an automatic procedure to discard unsuccessful expressions of interests after a certain period of time. This makes application management more efficient as it prevents the formation of backlog and saves time on communicating rejections. For instance, in Australia, the time spent by the administration to send rejection letters to unsuccessful applicants was reportedly three times higher than the time to grant visas. In Canada, the EoI can take into account staff availability (for instance, in holiday periods), in setting the number of invitations to apply to be issued at each round, reducing therefore the possibility of backlogs.

In some cases, the EoI has introduced additional costs on applicants. There may be a fee to pay to enter the EoI itself. Only New Zealand has introduced such a fee, which amounts to NZD 530 and is part of a cost-recovery system. In all three countries, candidates are requested to sit a language exam to be admitted into the pool, and in Canada and Australia educational credentials are also assessed. The cost for assessing educational credentials is not fixed and depends on the body in charge for the specific qualification. In Australia, most accrediting bodies charge a fee of approximately AUD 800. Fees for the language test depend on the country where the test is administered. Prior to the EoI, costs related to language skills and qualifications assessment were paid by migrants in order to lodge a visa application. With the EoI, the difference is that the costs are requested to be paid at the pre-selection stage. The extent to which this upfront cost is discouraging probably depends on applicants’ success chances. No evidence points at the fact that pre-selection costs have a deterrent effect on applications.

When employers have access to the pool, generally they do not bear any additional costs. In Australia, employers’ access to SkillSelect is free and happens through AUSKey, which is a free login used to identify users when communicating with the government. Similarly, in Canada, employers can access the Job Bank for free.

Improving candidate quality

By definition, with the EoI, only the sub-set of the best out of all candidates in the pool is invited to apply, where “best” is defined by the selection mechanism. It is not possible to say whether the EoI has improved candidates’ quality, as selection criteria have changed over time. However, the chances to receive an invitation to apply can be considered as a proxy to assess whether the second selection improves candidate quality. If all expressions of interest were to receive an invitation to apply, the EoI would have no added value in the selection of the best candidate subset. While in Australia and in New Zealand those who express an interest in migrating have high chances to receive an invitation to apply, in Canada the selection through Express Entry is more competitive.

In New Zealand, no comparable data on the quality of skilled candidates before the introduction of the EoI exists because the allocation of points changed. One of the main concerns of the New Zealand government when introducing the EoI was the prioritisation of candidates with employment or employment offers. In the programme year 2015-16, 92% of the Skilled Migrant Category applicants claimed points for current employment or employment offers. Hence, it can be said that the government’s objective to prioritise candidates with a job offer has been met. On the chances to receive an invitation to apply, during the period 2004-13, 95% of the expressions of interest submitted were considered eligible (OECD, 2014[3]), and 83% of them received an invitation to apply. Entering into the pool and being invited to apply does not appear to be very competitive. This may be due to the fact that candidates select themselves on the basis of their success chances, given the pass-mark, or that the pass mark set by the government depends on the expected number of expressions of interest. The fact that the average point score of candidates in the pool has not decreased over time, while the pass-mark has decreased, seems to provide evidence for the first option (OECD, 2014[3]).

In Australia, before the introduction of SkillSelect, all applications for the Skill Independent visa scoring above 60 points were accepted. With SkillSelect only the top-rankers are picked, which suggests that the average point score has been pushed up. Like in New Zealand, the success chances for candidates in the pool are relatively high, as during the period July 2012-October 2014 between 70% and 90% of them received an invitation to apply and between 40-50% of the expressions of interests claimed more than 60 points. Although it is not possible to compare this figure with the actual point distribution before SkillSelect, it can be said that the EoI has likely pushed the passing mark up.

In Canada, the CRS ranks candidates across programmes on the basis of their economic success chances, resulting in only the top candidates being selected. Entering the Express Entry pool is comparatively more selective than in Australia and New Zealand. Only 54% of profiles submitted before January 2016 were considered eligible to enter into Express Entry, and only 30% of these received an invitation to apply, the cut-off floating between 450 and 500 points of the total 1 200 available points (Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), 2016[18]).

Express Entry and the use of CRS also led to the harmonisation of selection criteria across programmes. The composition of visas issued in 201525 did not change substantially compared to the previous year; however comparisons can be done only to a limited extent as the programmes requirements have changed over time.

Employer involvement

No data are available to assess the extent to which EoI systems, thanks to their job matching component, have increased employer involvement in migrant selection.

In New Zealand, employers cannot access the pool, so the EoI is not expected to have any effect on employer involvement. In Australia, employers can access SkillSelect and choose candidates and sponsor them; however no data are available on how many employers actively look for SkillSelect candidates or how many candidates receive an employment offer while being in the pool. These data are not available either for Express Entry candidates in Canada. In Australia, the vast majority of the expressions of interests do not concern employer sponsored visas, but rather Skill Independent or state/territory nominated visas. Employer consultations in Australia revealed that employers are not very familiar with SkillSelect as a tool to find candidates and that they rely rather on networks already in place. In Canada, there is a mismatch between the number of vacancies for which migrants are eligible (in 2015: 11%) and the number of migrant profiles (in 2015: 71%) in Job Bank. In 2016, Express Entry candidates continued to be the majority in Job Bank (53%), while the top three job postings were for positions for which they were not eligible. This suggests that employers are not using Job Bank to find foreign candidates as much as they could.

Involvement of sub-national actors

In Australia, state/territory nominated visas are one of the two visa categories that receive the vast majority of expressions of interest (along with Skilled Independent visa). SkillSelect is the only way through which states and territories can nominate migrants; therefore, they actively encourage applicants to use SkillSelect. However, it is not clear whether states use the pool to look for and select among potential candidates who meet the state requirements, or rather if they direct candidates that have been chosen outside SkillSelect to the pool. In general, it is not clear whether the pool of candidates, selected according to the relevant selection criteria, has an actual added value for states and territories.

In Canada, provinces may decide to use Express Entry to nominate migrants, and if they opt for doing so, they have the almost certain guarantee that their nominees would be invited to apply. However, in 2015 only about 1 in 20 provincial nominations passed through Express Entry (1 738 invitations to apply through Express Entry and 34 564 outside).26 In 2016, applications through Express Entry still remained a minority, but increased by 375% compared to 2015. Provinces still prefer applications outside Express Entry, but the trend may be slowly changing. At the moment, data on the invitations to apply to which an application fail to follow are not available. Therefore, it is not possible to check the extent to which the low number of Express Entry provincial nominees is the result of low interest by provinces to resort to Express Entry, or also of the scarce interest of Express Entry candidates to possibly accept provincial nominations, which are associated with mobility restrictions.

Conclusions

New Zealand, Canada and Australia use EoI systems as a migration management tool to support some of their migration programmes. These are programmes for permanent migration, which is subject to numerical limitations; although in Australia the EoI may also support temporary and uncapped migration schemes. Most of the applications that pass through the EoI are by migrants who are already residing in the state on a temporary permit.

With some country-specificities, in general the EoI system addresses the need to make the candidate selection process more efficient and to enhance skills matching. The first need is a consequence of oversupply, the second of imperfect labour market actor information. EoI systems in Canada, New Zealand and Australia differ in the way they pre-select candidates to enter the pool and the way invitations to apply are issued. Moreover, they present different degrees of complexity and involvement of sub-federal actors and employers. In the three countries, the EoI has been successful in improving the efficiency of oversupply management, as the processing time (summed with the time candidates spend in the pool) has been shortened. At this stage, when evidence is available, it seems to suggest that EoI performance could be improved with regard to skill matching, employers and sub-federal actors’ involvement.

EoI is a selection tool that is compatible with several selection methods and categories. There are a number of key design choices that can be drawn from the three countries’ experience with EoI.

First of all, it has to be decided to which types of migration programmes the EoI provides support. In most cases, the EoI is used to select economic migration; however, New Zealand has used the EoI to select family migrants, notably parents, on the basis of sponsor characteristics. Among economic migrants, the EoI may include several programmes; for instance, it can be extended to business and investors categories. EoIs are currently used to support skilled migration programmes. However, there is nothing in the mechanics that prevents them to be extended to non-skilled workers.

Moreover, if the same pool serves multiple programmes, it has to be decided how to coordinate the selection methods, as candidates for different programmes can be channelled into different selection paths.

Candidates in the pool must be pre-screened. Pre-screening implies some costs for the administration and for candidates themselves, so another design decision concerns the degree to which candidates are requested to prove that they meet the requirements for the specific programme, as a pre-condition to enter the pool.

Entry to the pool should not be too easy. If there are too many candidates in the pool relative to the number who are drawn, potential migrants may see no added value in participating, and active selection based on specific profiles may become too daunting to undertake. Similarly, entry to the pool should not be too difficult, or it will not provide a sufficient number of candidates. Another question is how long candidates are allowed to stay in the pool, and whether they are able to update their profiles while they are in the pool.

If a PBS is used to select migrants – as is generally the case - a design decision must be made about which factors are the most relevant to enter the pool and to be subsequently invited to apply, and in particular the extent to which having a job offer is a determinant for selection.

The choice to link the pool to job-matching platforms, whereby candidates can market themselves and employers can access the pool and pick the candidates to sponsor, carries its own challenges. When sub-national programmes require a nomination, the pool can work as a matching database that sub-national administration can customise following sub-national selection criteria. In any case, it has to be ascertained that the pool represents an added value for sponsors, rather than an extra administrative step, and it has to be decided which employers are allowed to access the pool.

References

[10] Australian Government, Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) (2016), 2015-16 Migration Programme Report, https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/ReportsandPublications/Documents/statistics/2015-16-migration-programme-report.pdf (accessed on 3 August 2018).

[19] Australian Government, D. (2017), Skilled migration visa processing times, https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/about/access-accountability/service-standards/skilled-migration-visa-processing-times.

[6] Australian Government, D. (2011), 2010-11 DIAC Annual Report, http://www.immi.gov.au/about/reports/annual/2010-11.

[14] Bedford, R. and P. Spoonley (2014), “Competing for Talent: Diffusion of An Innovation in New Zealand’s Immigration Policy”, International Migration Review, Vol. 48/3, pp. 891-911, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/imre.12123.

[16] Bonikowska, A., F. Hou and G. Picot (2015), “Which Human Capital Characteristics Best Predict the Earnings of Economic Immigrants?”, Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series, https://ideas.repec.org/p/stc/stcp3e/2015368e.html (accessed on 3 August 2018).

[15] Canadian Chamber of Commerce (2016), Immigration for a Competitive Canada: Why Highly Skilled International Talent Is at Risk.

[17] Chen, E., R. Ward and A. Coulon (2013), “Employers’ role and influence in migration: A literature review”.

[18] Citizenship and Immigration Canada (IRCC) (2016), Express Entry Year-End Report 2015, https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/express-entry-year-end-report-2015.html.

[11] Citizenship and Immigration Canada (IRCC) (2016), Report to the OECD Expert Group on International Migration (SOPEMI): Canada’s immigration policies, programs and trends.

[8] Citizenship and Immigration Canada (IRCC) (2010), Evaluation of the Federal Skilled Worker program, https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/reports-statistics/evaluations/federal-skilled-worker-program.html.

[7] Hawthorne, L. (2011), Competing for Skills: Migration policies and trends in New Zealand and Australia, New Zealand Department of Labour, Wellington, http://www.immigration.govt.nz/research.

[2] Merwood, P. (2008), Migration Trends 2006/2007, Department of Labour, Wellington, http://www.dol.govt.nz (accessed on 5 July 2018).

[20] New Zealand Immigration (2017), How long it takes to process your visa application, https://www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/policy-and-law/how-the-immigration-system-operates/visa-application-process/how-long-it-takes-to-process-your-visa-application.

[9] New Zealand Ministry of Business, I. (2016), Migration Trends and Outlook 2015/2016, http://www.mbie.govt.nz.

[5] New Zealand Parliament (2013), Immigration Amendment Bill (No 2) — First Reading, Second Reading, https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/hansard-debates/rhr/document/50HansD_20131121_00000028/immigration-amendment-bill-no-2-first-reading.

[4] NZ Parliamentary Library (2003), Immigration Amendment Bill (No 2) 2003, https://www.parliament.nz/resource/en-NZ/47PLLawBD9851/bf49cb4dadbc458ffd81e979375329e0cba80112 (accessed on 13 November 2018).

[12] OECD (2017), International Migration Outlook 2017, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/migr_outlook-2017-en.

[13] OECD (2016), “How attractive is the European Union to skilled migrants?”, in Recruiting Immigrant Workers: Europe 2016, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264257290-5-en.

[3] OECD (2014), Recruiting Immigrant Workers: New Zealand 2014, Recruiting Immigrant Workers, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264215658-en.

[1] Senate of Canada (2013), Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, https://www.sencanada.ca/en/Content/Sen/Committee/412/AEFA/01mn-51031-e.

Annex 2.A. Supplementary table on EOI systems
Annex Table 2.A.1. Comparative overview of labour migration schemes using Expression of Interest

Criteria

NZL

AUS

CAN

Skilled Migrant Category Visa

Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189)

Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)

Skill Regional visa (subclass 489)

Temporary Skilled visa (457),1 Employer Nomination visa (186), Regional Sponsored Scheme (187)2

FSWP – Federal Skilled Workers Program

Canadian Experience Class; CEC

Federal Skilled Trades Program; FSTP

Provincial Nominee Program; PN

EoI Compulsory

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Selection criteria to enter the pool:3

Selection method

Requirements + PB assessment with a fixed pass mark (100/250)

Requirements + PB assessment with a fixed pass mark (60/120)

Requirements + PB assessment with a fixed pass mark (60/125)

Requirements + PB assessment with a fixed pass mark (60/130)

Requirements

Requirements + PB assessment with a fixed pass mark (67/100)

Requirements

Requirements

Qualify for at least for one federal programme

Age

- Max 55

- Up to 30% of the pass mark in the PBS

- Max 50

- Up to 50% of the pass mark in the PBS

- Max 50

- Up to 50% of the pass mark in the PBS

- Max 50

- Up to 50% of the pass mark in the PBS

Max 50 unless exempt (187, 186)

Up to 18% of the pass mark in PBS

 

 

If candidates are in EE, the CRS point allocation applies; otherwise provincial criteria

[CRS: up to 8% points]

Professional profile

Skilled workers: the employment should belong to the list of skilled occupations

Skilled workers: the nominated occupation should be in the SOL (Skilled Occupation List)4

Skilled workers: the nominated occupation should be in the SOL (Skilled Occupation list) or in the CSOL (Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List)

Skilled workers; the nominated occupation should be in the SOL (Skilled Occupation list) or in the CSOL (Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List)5

The occupation (job offer) should be in the CSOL (Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List)6

Skilled workers: the employment should be skilled (type 0, A, B in the NOC)

Skilled workers: the employment should be skilled (type 0, A, B in the NOC)

Skilled trade occupations (specific codes in the NOC)

Work experience

Up to 30% of the pass mark in the PBS, plus up to 15% if in NZL, plus up to 15% if in a shortage area and 15% if in a future growth area

Up to 33% of the pass mark in the PBS + up to 8% if in AUS

Up to 33% of the pass mark in the PBS + up to 8% if in AUS

Up to 33% of the pass mark in the PBS + up to 8% if in AUS

3 years of relevant working experience, with exceptions (186)

Compulsory: at least 1 year skilled and full time working experience

- Up to 22% of the pass mark in the PBS, plus 15% if in CAN

Compulsory: at least 12 month of full time skilled work experience in Canada in the three years before applying

Compulsory: at least 2 years of full time skilled work experience in a skilled trade within the previous five years

[CRS: 6% if in CAN; foreign work experience considered only in interaction (see others)]

Qualifications

Up to 60% of the pass mark in the PBS, plus up to 35% if qualifications obtained in NZ

Up to 33% of the pass mark in the PBS + 8% if in AUS

Up to 33% of the pass mark in the PBS + 8% if in AUS

Up to 33% of the pass mark in the PBS + 8% if in AUS

Depending on the employment, evidence of possessing the required skills

- Compulsory: a recognised credential (if not Canadian) as of high school;

- up to 37% of the pass mark; plus 7.5% if in CAN

[CRS: up to 12%]

Partner's characteristics

Up to 20% if employment offer and 20% for qualifications, some language skills compulsory (see below)

Up to 8% for partner's qualifications

Up to 8% for partner's qualifications

Up to 8% for partner's qualifications

In adaptability: 7.5% of the pass mark for language level, 7.5% study in Canada, 7.5% past work in Canada

 

 

[CRS: education, language, Canadian work experience, up to 3%]

Language

At least IELTS 6.5 for the principal applicants and 5 for non-principal applicants when invited to apply

- At least IELTS 6.5;

- Up to 33% of the pass mark in the PBS

- At least IELTS 6.5;

- Up to 33% of the pass mark in the PBS

- At least IELTS 6.5;

- Up to 33% of the pass mark in the PBS

At least IELTS 5 (457), 4-4.5 (186, 187), with exceptions

At least CLB 7, up to 42% of the pass mark

Depending on the type of employment [CLB 7 (NOC 0 and A) or CLB 5 (NOC B)]

At least CLB 5 in speaking and listening and 4 in reading and writing

[CRS: 3% for first and second languages, plus points for interaction]

Employment offer

50-60% of the pass mark for current employment or offer , plus 10% each if employment in a future growth area or absolute skills shortage, plus 30% if outside Auckland

Up to 33% of the pass mark for being already employed in AUS (or up to 27% if overseas)

Up to 33% of the pass mark for being already employed in AUS (or up to 27% if overseas)

Up to 33% of the pass mark for being already employed in AUS (or up to 27% if overseas)

Yes

Up to 6.7% of the pass mark if the applicant has a full time, permanent offer which passed through the LMIA, unless exempt

At least one year full time job offer (unless the certificate of qualification in that skilled trade was issued by Canadian provincial or territorial authority).

[CRS: 17% for senior managerial positions, 4% for the others]

Other

Up to 10% of the pass mark for close family in NZL

Up to 8% of the pass mark for community language

-Up to 8% of the pass mark for community language;

-Nomination by state or territory compulsory and worth 8%

-Up to 8% of the pass mark in the PBS for community language;

-Nomination by state or territory compulsory and worth 16%

Employer having standard business sponsorship status (457, 186, 187) and labour market test (unless exempt) (457)

Funds required if no job offer; 7% of the pass mark if relative(s) in Canada

 

Meeting the job requirements for the skilled trade

Nomination compulsory and worth 50% of the tot points

[CRS: 50% province nomination] [CRS: Up to 8% for the interaction factor (education + language or work experience; foreign work experience + Canadian work experience or language; language + trade qualification)

Selection criteria to be invited to apply:

Selection Mechanism

At the moment of the invitation round, top rankers (i.e. those scoring more than a set threshold) receive an ItA, based on the cap set. Those with a job offer are prioritised

At the moment of the invitation round, top rankers are automatically invited within the limit of occupational ceilings

At the moment of the invitation round, top rankers are automatically invited within the limit of occupational ceilings and after the places for Skilled Independent are allocated

State and territory authorities have their own criteria. Each state or territory government agency have different processes for nominating expressions of interests

Candidates receive an ItA when get a job offer

Ranking through the CSR (see above for the point allocation), and best candidates are invited to apply within the limit of available invitations at each round

Procedures:

Draw frequency

2 weeks

2 weeks approx.

Depends on states / regions

2 weeks approx.

2/3 weeks

Permanence in the pool

6 months

Max 2 years (applications can be updated at any time)

Max 1 year (applications can be updated at any time)

Deadline to apply after ItA

4 months

60 days

60 days

Paper/ online

Paper and online

Online

Online

Eligibility of residents

Yes

Yes

Yes

Actors who have access to the pool

Central administration

Administration (at central, state and regional level) and employers

Government and provinces and territories administration; employers indirectly via Job Bank

Actors entitled to invite

Government administration, centralised

Administration (at central, state and regional level) and employers, who must have a standard business sponsorship status

Administration at central and provincial level

Length of the residence obtained

Permanent or job search visa for 9 months if no job offer

Permanent

Permanent

Provisional

Provisional and permanent

Permanent

Permanent

Permanent

Permanent

Other elements

PBS

Yes, the same point scale to regulate the access to the pool and to rank candidates

Yes, the same points scale to regulate the access to the pool and to rank candidates

No

A PBS to enter into the pool and a different PBS to rank candidates once entered in the pool

Only a PBS to rank candidates once entered in the pool

Job matching element

Not linked to the pool, candidates may access to SkillFinder, and be matched with vacancies

Employers can access to the pool and contact candidates

Subscription to Job Bank encouraged if no job offer

Pre-screening

Valid language test before entering the pool

Language and skill assessment (qualifications and experience) before entering the pool

Valid language certificate and qualifications recognised before entering the pool

Cap

Yes, general cap for permanent economic migration

Yes, by occupation and general cap for the permanent economic migration

General cap for the permanent economic migration stream (except 457, uncapped)

Yes, by round (not by visa)

Labour market test

No

No

No

No

The procedure to become sponsors foresees genuineness assessment showing recruitment efforts

Yes (except exempt)

Yes (except exempt)

Yes (except exempt)

Yes (except exempt)

1. The 457 visa was replaced by the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

2. Both the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) and the Migration Scheme (subclass 187) were reformed in March 2018.

3. The points allocation in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) used to select candidates to be invited to apply in Canada is reported in italics in this section.

4. The SOL was replaced by the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) in April 2017.

5. As of April 2017 occupations should be listed in the combined list of eligible skilled occupations, which features the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).

6. As of April 2017, the CSOL has been replaced by the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).

Source: OECD Secretariat analysis of national legislation, 2017.

Notes

← 1. In 2015, in New Zealand, 85% of the visa applications for the Skilled Migrant Category (11 113) were approved onshore (New Zealand Ministry of Business, 2016[9]); in Australia 58% of the visas for the Skill Stream were granted onshore (Australian Government, 2017[19]): in Canada 78% of the candidates invited to apply were already residing in the country (Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), 2016[11]).

← 2. Skilled Independent visa, subclass 189; Skilled Nominated visa, subclass 190; Skilled Regional visa, subclass 498.

← 3. Employer Nomination visa, subclass 186; Regional Sponsored Scheme visa, subclass 187. These visas are currently being reformed. The reform process will end in March 2018.

← 4. In March 2018 the Temporary Skilled visa, subclass 457, was replaced by the new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa, subclass 482.

← 5. Business Innovation and Investment visa includes five streams: the Business Innovation stream, the Investor stream, the Significant Investor stream, the Premium Investor Stream and the Entrepreneur Stream, each with different requirements.

← 6. For comparative reasons, the remainder of the paper will focus only on skilled migration programmes, so that the Parent Category in New Zealand and the Business and Innovation subclass and the Business Talent subclass in Australia will not be discussed.

← 7. Source: email exchange with Immigration New Zealand - Marketing Division.

← 8. New Zealand and Australia’s lists of skilled occupations (SOL) are available at http://onlineservices.immigration.govt.nz/opsmanual/35165.htm?_ga=1.94541148.1711277781.1484932783; and https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Work/Work/Skills-assessment-and-assessing-authorities/skilled-occupations-lists/SOL. The Australian SOL has been replaced as of April 2017 by the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), available at http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Work/Work/Skills-assessment-and-assessing-authorities/skilled-occupations-lists/mltssl

← 9. Australia’s lists of consolidated sponsored occupations is available (CSOL) at https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Work/Work/Skills-assessment-and-assessing-authorities/skilled-occupations-lists/CSOL. Australian CSOL has been replaced as of April 2017 by the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL), available at http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Work/Work/Skills-assessment-and-assessing-authorities/skilled-occupations-lists/combined-stsol-mltssl.. As of April 2017, the CSOL has been replaced by the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).

← 10. Candidates can amend their profiles, providing justifications to the New Zealand Immigration Service; however, it is not possible for them to upgrade their profiles by simply staying in the pool.

← 11. During 2018, IRCC has increased both the frequency and the size of draws from the EoI pool with the explicit goal of going deeper in the pool and allowing an admission chance for candidates with low CRS scores but still significant human capital potential who had been for long time in the pool. s-entry-2018-mid-year-report-building-toward-larger-draws-0610848.html#gs.=Yjne08

← 12. Skill Finder staff reviews the vacancy to ensure that enough information is provided, that there are not spelling mistakes, that the vacancy is for a skilled position (ANZSCO skill level 1-3) and, if a recruiter posts a vacancy, that the vacancy is real and that it has not been posted only to build a personal pool. Source: email exchange with Immigration New Zealand - Marketing Division.

← 13. Originally, registration in Canada Job Bank was compulsory for Express Entry candidates lacking a job offer. Failure to register within 30 days from pool admission would result in EoI profile expiration. However, acknowledging the multiplicity of tools that candidates have available for employment matching purposes and with the aim of reducing administrative requirements for EoI candidates who already undergo a complex selection mechanism, in 2017 IRCC made Job Bank registration optional.

← 14. After the November 2016 review of CRS scores and substantial decrease of points allocated for arranged employment (50 to 200 points maximum), Provincial nomination is the factors which grants the highest points premium (600 points) and the only possibility for a candidate to reach the maximum 1 200 points. 15 to 30 additional points can be allotted for French language proficiency, 15 points if the candidate or the candidate’s spouse or common-law partner has a sibling who is Canadian citizen or permanent resident and who lives in Canada, is older than eighteen, and have one parent in common.

← 15. Canada, Ministerial Instructions, Express Entry, http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/mi/index.asp?expand=mi-pr-express#mi-pr-express

← 16. To further enhance alignment between Express Entry ITAs and IRCC’ s multi-year immigration levels plans the 2017 amendments to Express Entry introduced a new tie-breaking rule, which was first implemented in November 2017. When there is a tie between candidates at the targeted ITA cut-off score, all tied candidates are ranked again based on the date and time of their profile submission, so that only the top-ranked candidates based on the planned number of invitations issued were invited

← 17. Australian Government (Australian Government, 2017[19]).

← 18. Only data on EoI invited to apply and EoI remaining in the pool are available. Because candidates may stay in the pool for up to six months, or receive an invitation to apply at the first round, it is not possible to deduce the number of expressions of interest submitted form the available data.

← 19. New Zealand Residence Programme - SMC fortnightly selection; https://www.immigration.govt.nz/documents/smc-fortnightly-selection

← 20. New Zealand Immigration (New Zealand Immigration, 2017[20]).

← 21. The Skilled Migrant Category covers the vast majority of permanent residence applications (87% in 2015), so that the requested administrative effort for this visa is considerably higher.

← 22. Australian Government, DIBP (Australian Government, Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), 2016[10]).

← 23. Australia DIBP (2017b). The processing order is the following: Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187), Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186), Temporary Skilled visa (subclass 457), Skilled Nominated and Skilled Regional visa (subclass 190 and 489), SkillSelect Independent and Family Sponsored visa (subclass 189 and 489).

← 24. Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Check application processing times, http://www.cic.gc.ca/English/information/times/index.asp#, visited on 13.02.2017

← 25. Canada residence by category, available at http://open.canada.ca/data/en/dataset/2fbb56bd-eae7-4582-af7d-a197d185fc93?_ga=1.192075817.2015673401.1484910870

← 26. Source: IRCC_overview_0001_E.xls, https://www.google.fr/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjB-MT_4ZbSAhVISRoKHQtiC88QFggcMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cic.gc.ca%2Fopendata-donneesouvertes%2Fdata%2FIRCC_overview_0001_E.xls&usg=AFQjCNFW-QP57peB3URsKKtBBv10N3QMGg&sig2=esTuDmhYnduhiwaNX_kivw

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