January 30, 2014
Expression of Interest – Canada as the Matchmaker
A few weeks in advance of St. Valentine’s Day, Canada is discussing a proposed new Expression of Interest immigration system through the use of matchmaking metaphor. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander suggests that a new database connecting prospective skilled immigrants to Canadian employers would work similarly to “a dating site”. The objective would be to facilitate “an economic match” between skilled workers and unfilled Canadian jobs, the Minister stated. This EOI based system would be loosely modeled after similar systems in place in Australia and New Zealand.
The new system is set to launch in January 2015. It will be used to manage applications for the following five immigration programs:
- Federal Skilled Workers
- Federal Skilled Trades
- Canadian Experience Class
- Business Class
- Provincial Nominees
With the introduction of an Expression of Interest system, Canada will no longer process all applications in the chronological order they were received. Applications will be processed in two separate stages. Stage 1 will be the application to the desired visa class; including language test results, education and professional skills assessments, and all other required documentation. Stage 2 will be the inclusion of the applicant into an EOI database. Employers can search the database and identify candidates for job interviews. It is through this second stage that immigrant skill sets are to be matched with labour market needs before the application processing is complete.
Commentary on the proposed new EOI immigration system has come from the government’s official opposition, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, and the CBA. Areas of concern surround the absence of details available on how this proposed EOI system will be implemented. Public consultation, the future role of LMOs, the possibility of an appeals process, and processing times are also areas of great concern.
To read an open letter on the CBA’s position on EOIs please click here. See also this video of Mario Bellissimo’s comments in his role as Chair of the National Immigration Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association.