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Express entry, not foreign workers, should be top choice for business: McCallum

April 8, 2016

By The Chronicle Herald |

Canada’s immigration minister wants to make a federal program that fast-tracks permanent residency for skilled workers the top choice for businesses seeking employees from overseas.

John McCallum told a group of immigration lawyers in Vancouver that he wants to hear their input as the government continues a review of its express entry program.

He told the Canadian Bar Association’s Immigration Law Conference that he recently met with businesspeople through the Ontario Chamber of Commerce who ranked the different streams they could use to bring in immigrants.

The minister said temporary foreign workers topped the list, while provincial nominees were in the middle and express entry was at the bottom — an order McCallum says he’d like to see reversed.

Express entry was launched by the previous Conservative government to meet Canada’s labour needs by securing permanent residency for highly-skilled foreigners in six months or less.

McCallum previously announced that the new Liberal government is launching a review of the program and hopes to make it easier for international students to become permanent residents after they have graduated from Canadian post-secondary institutions.

“The challenge with me is to improve express entry to make it more flexible, more fluid, more accessible, more desirable for those businesses wanting to bring immigrants to this country,” McCallum said on Friday.

He said the government is looking at a number of options, including giving more points to students under the express entry program, which currently prioritizes immigrants who are skilled workers.

“I think the best source of immigrants for Canada is international students … because they know French and English, because they know Canada, because they’re educated, because they’re young,” McCallum said. “We should court them. We should encourage them to come here.”

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