Immigration Minister John McCallum faces major challenges
Syrian refugees, temporary foreign workers, provincial nominees and more among top issues
By Reis Pagtakhan, for CBC News Posted: Nov 04, 2015 8:00 PM CT Last Updated: Nov 04, 2015 8:00 PM CT
The big question is whether the Liberal campaign promise to increase funding for the settlement of refugees over the next two years will be enough.
Many of these refugees will need assistance learning English or French, finding adequate housing and training for jobs.
While bringing in 25,000 refugees by year’s end is laudable, this will only be successful if government ensures adequate funding is available to make sure these refugees do not come to Canada only to fail.
Temporary foreign workers
Currently, the federal government only allows temporary foreign workers that are considered “high skilled” to apply for permanent residence. So-called “low skilled” temporary foreign workers do not have a pathway to permanent residence.
The federal government should adopt Manitoba’s provincial nominee model, which allows all temporary foreign workers, regardless of skill level, to apply for permanent residency.
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Manitoba’s model recognizes that employers in rural and remote areas have more difficulty recruiting Canadians for positions.
As long as employers prove there are no Canadians or Canadian permanent residents willing and able to take a job, Canada should provide a pathway to permanent residency for these workers.
In implementing the Manitoba model, McCallum would do well to work closely with new Employment Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk of Winnipeg.
Mihychuk was a minister in the provincial government, which administered the Manitoba provincial nominee program.
Prioritizing provincial nominees
Currently, the vast numbers of fast-tracked permanent resident applicants go through the federal government’s express entry system.
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- Click here for more of CBC’s coverage of express entry
Express entry allows individuals selected by the federal government to obtain permanent residency in as little as six months. Meanwhile, the majority of applicants applying to provincial nominee programs must wait years for permanent residency. In some cases, the wait can be over 4½ years.
Canada’s provinces and territories have a better understanding of their local job markets. The federal government should immediately place provincial nominees on the same fast-track as express entry applicants.