Having a job offer is no longer key to immigrating to Canada

February 15, 2018

By Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star |

Canada’s rebooted economic immigration selection system has created a bigger pool of eligible candidates by making it easier to apply without a job offer.

With the tweaking of criteria by the federal government more than a year ago, applicants with backgrounds in industrial, electrical and construction trades have become less competitive while international students are getting a boost because their Canadian education is now worth more.

According to the latest immigration data, a total of 101,107 eligible applicants were entered into the candidate pool from January to November, 2016, when Ottawa changed its selection system that ranks them and invites those who make the cut-off in each draw to apply for immigration under the economic class. Draws are held multiple times each year.

In the six months after the introduction of changes that included drastically reducing the bonus points awarded to candidates with job offers, 77,207 were entered into the pool. Although the 2017 total of candidates is not yet available, it’s bound to surpass the total from the year before.

Before the changes, almost 40 per cent of those invited to apply for immigration had a job offer. Now, only one in 10 applies with a job already lined up.

The changes to the system place a greater emphasis on so-called human capital — personal attributes such as age, education and language proficiency — and have won the praise of immigration experts, who have argued those qualities are more important for newcomers to succeed in Canada in the long run.

“It is difficult to predict an economy’s long-term needs. A skill shortage now may not be a skill shortage five years from now,” said Kareem El-Assal, senior research associate specializing in immigration policy at the Conference Board of Canada.

“But we know someone who is young, educated and fluent in our official languages is going to adapt to any economic condition.”

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