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Recruiting Immigrant Workers: Canada 2019

image of Recruiting Immigrant Workers: Canada 2019

Canada has not only the largest in terms of numbers, but also the most elaborate and longest-standing skilled labour migration system in the OECD. Largely as a result of many decades of managed labour migration, more than one in five people in Canada is foreign-born, one of the highest shares in the OECD. 60% of Canada’s foreign-born population are highly educated, the highest share OECD-wide. The recent introduction of Express Entry, a two-step selection system based on an initial pre-sreening of suitable candidates who enter a pool by Expression of Interest and subsequent selection of the most skilled candidates from the pool, has further enhanced the competitive edge of the selection system relative to other countries. It also ensures that those with the skills to succeed are admitted to Canada in a quick and efficient way. Core to Canada's success is not only the elaborate selection system itself, but also the innovation and infrastructure around it, which ensures constant testing, monitoring and adaptation of its parameters. This includes a comprehensive and constantly improving data infrastructure, coupled with the capacity to analyse it, and swift policy reaction to new evidence and emerging challenges.

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Permanent labour migration

This chapter first traces how the Canadian selection system for permanent labour migrants has evolved since the introduction of the points-based system in 1967. It then describes and analyses the Express Entry (EE) system. This two-step selection system, introduced in 2015, builds a pool of eligible candidates (Expression of Interest) from which labour migrants are selected (Invitation to Apply). The chapter then compares and contrasts EE to two main peer systems in other countries – SkillSelect in Australia and the Skilled Migrant Expression of Interest system in New Zealand. The chapter also analyses the performance of Express Entry during its first four years of operation. It details how well EE is fulfilling the objectives laid out at its inception: i) greater flexibility in selection and application management; ii) better responsiveness to labour market and regional needs; and iii) quicker application processing.

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