In this day and age, finding skilled foreign workers is a little like Internet dating.
“Jobbank.gc.ca is the best way to find foreign workers,” said Dean Jorgenson, employer liaison officer with Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada.
“You’re given an opportunity to essentially fish from the Express Entry pool, as well as other job seekers who are already here in Canada.”
Launched in January 2015, the Express Entry program contains profiles for more than 60,000 foreign job seekers, Jorgenson said at the Agriculture Labour Summit last month.
“It’s the first point of contact for people who are interested in immigrating to Canada as an economic migrant,” said Jorgenson. “It’s an application management system that we use to manage intake for a number of different economic immigration streams.”
The program manages application intake for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, Canadian Experience Class, and certain provincial nomination programs (excluding Alberta). It is a step up from the old paper-based system that worked on a first-in, first-out basis, said Jorgenson.
“With Express Entry, we’ve moved to an entirely online electronic processing system, which means we can really take advantage of our global network and use resources that we might have in one part of the world to process applications that are submitted in another,” he said.
“We’re no longer obligated to process applications in chronological order. It’s given us the ability to prioritize candidates who are more likely to succeed economically once they arrive in Canada.”
As a result, applications are processed “much more quickly now,” he added. “The processing commitment for Express Entry applications is six months or less.”
Farmers who hope to use the Express Entry program still need to complete a labour market impact assessment (LMIA), which is now free for employers who are going down the permanent residency path.
“If you’re interested in providing someone in the Express Entry pool with a job offer and are interested in pursuing the LMIA route, there is no processing fee,” said Jorgenson.
“If, however, you want to bring in the person to work temporarily while their permanent residency application is ongoing, you can apply for a dual-intent LMIA, and there’s a $1,000 fee.”
How it works
So how exactly does this job matchmaking system work?
As it goes with online daters, the first step for foreign job seekers is creating a free profile on the Express Entry site.
“Candidates go online and create a free profile, and in order to create a profile, you have to make sure you meet the minimum entry criteria for one of those programs,” said Jorgenson. “You tell us a bit about who you are, how old you are, where you’ve gone to school, what sort of work you’re currently doing and have done, and then we give you points for that.”
Candidates can earn up to 1,200 points based on their education, proficiency in English or French, and Canadian work experience — including 600 points if they have a valid job offer from a Canadian company. Once they create a profile, they then register for the Canada Job Bank.
“This is a way for applicants to sell themselves to Canadian employers, and also for Canadian employers to get a sense of who’s interested in immigrating to Canada to see if there’s someone in the pool who might meet your labour needs,” said Jorgenson.
“People in the pool are pre-approved for meeting the minimum requirements for one of these programs. These are people who would already potentially qualify for immigration.”
After that, the highest-ranking candidates in the pool will receive an invitation to apply for permanent residency.
“Every couple of weeks, the department will determine that we have capacity in our system to process X number of applications — say 1,000. We would look at the top 1,000 candidates in the pool and invite them to apply,” he said, adding that since the program launched, more than 54,000 invitations to apply have been issued.
Farmers urged to use Job Bank
Express Entry is only for permanent residency applications for jobs that are permanent, non-seasonal, and “skilled” — including management jobs, professional jobs, technical jobs, and skilled trades. The federal government is reviewing the program to allow for semi-skilled workers in the future.
“Some of you may have employed temporary foreign workers in the past, and some of them might be interested in transitioning from temporary residency to permanent residency,” said Jorgenson. “In many cases, this would be the most appropriate pathway for them.”
Jorgenson “strongly encourages” farmers who are unable to find “suitable talent here in Canada” to look into the Canada Job Bank.
“Pretty much everybody who is in the pool has a Canada Job Bank profile, so it’s a good way for you to start connecting with overseas pools of talent,” said Jorgenson. “From what I gather, people aren’t having problems finding workers right now. But keep this in mind for when it might be time to look outside of Canada for someone who meets your needs.”