December 29, 2014

What is the Long Term Vision of Express Entry – the Evolution of Canada’s New Immigration System?

Posted by Mario Bellissimo - Bellissimo Law Group PC

In a series of blogs and the attached paper I continue to explore Canada’s New Immigration System – Express Entry (EE). There is great interest in EE as to its scope, potential and how it may change the world of Canadian immigration.   Applicants who register online will be ranked one against the other based on the “Comprehensive Ranking System” (CRS). All applicants in the EE pool will be granted points (maximum of 1200) that take into consideration the following factors:

  • Skills and work experience (up to 500 points)
  • Spouse or common-law partner factors (such as their language skills and education -up to 40 additional points but still a maximum of only 500 points)
  • Skills transferability (including education and work experience including foreign that, when combined, result in better chances of being employed, and higher earnings – up to 100 points)
  • Additional 600 points for those with a nomination from a province or territory or a valid job offer

A key question is the legal scope of the EE program.  Is it an inventory management tool or will it redefine the economic classes?  CIC has been consistent in their messaging that this program is an application management system.  In my estimation why the question persists as to the scope of the program, is because of the very broad powers conferred on the Minister.  Key provisions that amend the Act effective January 1st, 2015 provide jurisdiction going beyond inventory management to allow for new program requirements and undefined information sharing with a potential for a five year ban for misrepresentation.

It is also important to note that three sources are identified for potential permanent residency selection including (1) the government, (2) the provinces and territories, and (3) employers.  In the new system all three sources are anticipated to actively target highly skilled immigrants for permanent residency.  This is similar to both the New Zealand and Australian models respectively.  In New Zealand 89% of applicants approved within the program are onshore while only 13% are off shore.  Onshore landings include applicants in possession of temporary migrant visas.  In Australia, the 2013-2014 Migration Programme Report lists the total number of landings at 190,000, 126,550 or 68% of which were in the economic class.  Over 50% of those landings were the result of Regional, State, or Territorial visas (similar in certain respects to the Canadian provincial nominee programs).  In total, on shore landings climbed to over 50% and in one of the subclasses involving employer driven visas 83.6% were on shore landings.

Canada by comparison in the Report on Plans and Priorities 2014-2015 notes a target of 261,000 landings, 164,500 of which or 63% are to be in the economic class.  My estimation that the on shore or in land permanent resident visas issues would likely not exceed 30%.  So it stands to reason given the focus on labour market impact assessments in EE, its reliance on the Australian and New Zealand models and the noted streams for active recruitment – the federal government, provinces and employers – the focus may be on shore landings.   So the question to ask is this the long term vision for EE? This would be a radical departure from visas being issued mainly from outside Canada.  In my next blog I will explore EE online profile soon to be released. Click here to read more.

Click here to read: The Immigration Express Entry Train: Will it be on Time | Part I

Click here to read: The Immigration Express Entry Train: Will it be on Time? | Part II