The report argued that Canada needs to tap into the “global talent pipeline” to ensure economic prosperity in the face of low birth rates and demographic shifts. 

“Canada’s public colleges and institutes are therefore ideally positioned to support a truly national approach to integration and settlement”

It makes three recommendations focused on the development of a national employment pipeline for skilled newcomers, more employer-recognised national microcredentials and new permanent residency streams for international students. 

“Canada needs immigrants, but they continue to face barriers that generate frustration and prevent employers from fully benefiting from the valuable human capital that they bring. This includes a growing immigrant wage gap and difficulties getting foreign credentials recognised,” said CICan’s president and CEO, Denise Amyot. 

“Colleges and institutes across Canada play a critical role in supporting skilled immigrants and helping their integration through a variety of services and learning opportunities. 

“Not to mention the growing number of international students joining us from around the world, many of whom hope to put their skills to work here in Canada.

“Collectively, Canada’s public colleges and institutes are therefore ideally positioned to support a truly national approach to integration and settlement services,” she added. 

Canada has announced ambitious new immigration targets, aiming to bring in over 400,000 new permanent residents each year from 2021-2023.

The report said that colleges and institutes represent the fastest-growing level of study for international students in Canada, accounting for just under half of all study permit holders at the post-secondary level. 

“This is a significant source of skilled newcomers for communities across Canada, as many seek permanent residence after graduating with in-demand skills that match the needs of the local labour market,” CICan said. 

Achieving Canada’s 2021 immigration targets will require new, innovative and streamlined pathways to permanent residency for international students’ post-graduation by implementing retention driven programs like the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, Mobilité Francophone, and the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, which has now become a program due to its success,” the report added. 

“Colleges and institutes play a key role in ensuring that graduates have the right mix of skills that will allow them to integrate into the labour market and benefit from these programs. Models based on these pilots could be expanded across the country mapping not only to specific regions, but also industry.” 

The report said that eligibility for these programs should be directly mapped to the value of skills and labour market needs over duration or level of study.

“Considering the value of international graduates to regional economic recovery and growth, it is imperative IRCC works to establish policy alignment among immigration, labour market needs, international recruitment, and support for students,” it said. 

CICan is the voice of Canada’s publicly-supported colleges, institutes, cegeps and polytechnics, and an international leader in education for employment with ongoing programs in over 25 countries. CICan’s members add over $190B to Canada’s economy each year.

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