Canada urged to prioritise skilled immigrant approvals

Canada urged to prioritise skilled immigrant approvals

Canada urged to prioritise skilled immigrant approvals

Ontario businesses waiting for approvals of skilled immigrant visas are concerned that much-needed expertise may be lost to Australia due to extended visa processing times.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce is pressing immigration authorities to expedite approvals of skilled worker visas, saying that Australia is processing their versions of the visas in two months or less. Local businesses eager to hire overseas talent are afraid that a shorter wait for approval will tip the scales away from Canada as an emigration destination.

Particular concerns are being expressed during the run-up to Canada’s new Expression of Interest application system, in which those keen to work in the country submit full details in a two-stage process and, if considered suitable, are asked to apply. Immigration minister Chris Alexander has estimated the process could take as little as six months, but employers are pointing out that Australia can get the job done in 58 days.

The speed of the new process is essential to its success rate with local employers, with most considering that six months may be too long to attract skilled workers as they can be accepted into Australia in less than two months. Ontario is especially concerned, as its shortage of skilled talent is becoming acute, particularly amongst the state’s SMEs.

According to the vice-president of Ontario’s Chamber of Commerce, the new system will only benefit the state if it is set up for the small and medium-sized businesses desperate for skilled workers. At present, successful applicants will be matched by computer with employers looking for their specific qualification, which rules out any emphasis on the soft skills of teamwork, analytical skills and critical thinking, important to small business owners in finding the best fit for the job offered.

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