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The Express Entry program will bring more cooks than engineers into Canada

In its first year, the Express Entry program allowed more cooks and food workers than engineers and professors to apply

Canada’s Express Entry immigration favours low-wage workers: Experts

In its first year, the Express Entry program allowed more cooks and food workers than engineers and professors to apply

The results of a new immigration program meant to match the flow of foreign workers with Canada’s job market should be a wake up call for policymakers, experts say.

Under the new Express Entry system, immigrants applying for low-wage, precarious jobs in Canada are being favoured over those applying for more professional positions, said Toronto immigration consultant Parmjit Mangat.

Mangat worries the policy means new immigrants may not find stable jobs and could be at risk of having their rights violated by employers.

The problem is particularly acute in Toronto, which is both a top destination for immigrants and a growing hub for precarious employment – more than half of workers in the city are in part-time or contract jobs, according to a 2013 United Way report.

In its first year, the government saw 191,279 profiles created under the Express Entry system. Of those, 31,000 were issued invitations to apply for permanent residency.

There are hundreds of job categories in the system, but food service workers and cooks accounted for 16 per cent of all invitations.

Food service workers are being invited to apply for permanent resident status even though they don’t have job offers on the table, Mangat said, while others — like engineers and university professors — are bypassed until they find work.

“This whole process needs to be fine-tuned to better determine what kind of people Canada wants,” he said.

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