Reis Pagtakhan says Canadian businesses “must” recruit economic immigrants

OPINION

Workforce must be focus of Canada’s immigration system, lawyer says

Federal government must work with business to actively recruit immigrants to Canada, Reis Pagtakhan writes

By Reis Pagtakhan, CBC News Posted: Jul 21, 2016 10:00 AM CT Last Updated: Jul 21, 2016 10:29 AM CT

Immigrant Rana El Mansour becomes a Canadian on Canada Day in Kitchener, Ont. Canada must actively recruit economic immigrants, Reis Pagtakhan says.

On July 5, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced a consultation with Canadians on the future of our immigration system.

As part of the consultation, all Canadians have until Aug. 5 to send in their thoughts on what our immigration system should look like. From my point of view, the way to ensure that our immigration system meets the needs of Canada is to put the focus on recruiting the most talented economic immigrants.

While Canada must continue to accept refugees and family immigrants, our immigration system must prioritize developing a workforce that will meet the economic and demographic challenges of 21st century Canada. In order to do this, 75 per cent of all immigrants to Canada must be economic immigrants. Of this, the vast majority should be individuals chosen by employers, not government. Immigrants who come here without job offers here should not be our focus.

One way to accomplish this goal is to convert the temporary foreign worker program into a preliminary permanent resident program. While temporary foreign workers can become permanent residents, the process for doing this is clunky. Making the temporary foreign worker program the first step to permanent residency would show recognition that foreigners selected by Canadian employers are the most successful immigrants.

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