Canada prides itself on being a country that welcomes refugees from all over the globe. Canada continues to take an active role in assisting refugees escape various conflicts. In the last year, Canada has resettled more refugees than any other country in the world.
Canada's Commitment to Welcome Tens of Thousands of Refugees
In 2021, when the Taliban took power in Afghanistan, Canada quickly committed to accepting 20,000 Afghan refugees as part of the Special Immigration Measures Program for Afghan nationals. The 20,000 person commitment was later increased to accommodate 40,000 refugees. As a result 26,735 Afghan refugees have arrived in Canada since August 2021.
Canada also quickly reacted after the beginning of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine which began in February 2022. The conflict created a refugee crisis as millions of individuals sought refugee status shortly after the conflict began. Canada took several measures to help Ukrainian refugees including the implementation of the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel, which was created in order to welcome Ukrainians to Canada. This Authorization, in addition to financial assistance, remains open and ongoing.
These crises have resulted in an expansion of Canada's immigration policy. However, Canada has also expanded its refugee program in ways which work towards achieving other goals in conjunction with its refugee policy.
Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot
In a recent announcement, Canada has undertaken to welcome more skilled refugees to Canada as part of an expansion of the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot.
What is the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot?
The Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (the "Pilot") is a program that combines refugee resettlement to Canada with economic immigration. The Canadian Government identified two primary benefits of the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot. Firstly, the Pilot helps skilled refugees immigrate to Canada through existing economic programs and secondly, Canadian employers gain access to a new pool of qualified candidates to fill job openings. The latter point is especially important right now as the Canadian Government is focused on helping Canadian employers with alleviating the ongoing labour shortages.
The Economic Mobility Pilot Pathway provides substantial assistance to those who qualify for the program. The Pilot provides refugees with the following assistance:
- applying for an economic program;
- waiving the application and biometric fees for any dependents;
- reviewing and processing the application within six months; and
- covering the cost of pre-departure medical services and medical exams.
Various Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot Options
Before applying for Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot, applicants must apply to the Atlantic Immigration Program, the Provincial Nominee Program, or the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot.
The Provincial Nominee Program is the most common program which refugees choose to apply to. The Program allows Canada's provinces to nominate individuals to apply for permanent residence to live in that province. Decisions are made based on the provinces targeting individuals with specific skills sets and knowledge.
The Atlantic Immigration Program provides a pathway to permanent residence for those who want to live and work in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot was made to spread economic immigration to smaller Canadian communities. The number of immigrants accepted under these pilots is significantly smaller than the number accepted as part of the Provincial Nominee Program. However, they could still be a good option for refugees who want to live in rural communities or Atlantic Canada.
Eligibility for the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot
In order to be eligible for the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot, Applicants must:
- be a Convention or country of asylum refugee
- be outside Canada and their country of persecution
- have no durable solution in the country they are living in
- have a document that shows their refugee status, such as:
- a valid, positive Refugee Status Determination,
- proof that they are an asylum seeker abroad, registered or recorded by the hosting state, or
- proof that they are registered as a person of concern by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Applicants must be otherwise admissible to Canada and must be eligible for one of the economic immigration programs included as part of the pilot.
Applying for the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot
Applicants can apply for the Pilot on their own or with the help of a non-government partner. Partners can help Applicants connect with Canadian employers and help them prepare for job offers. Potential applicants can use various partners to help them, such as TalentLift, Talent Beyond Boundaries, and more.
When applicants apply, they must apply for an economic immigration program, such as the Provincial Nominee Program, and apply for the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot Program. The two applications are submitted together.
Recent Updates to the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot
As part of the second phase of the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot, which started in December 2021, Canada has helped settle approximately 500 skilled refugees. Now, Canada has expanded the pilot to welcome 2,000 skilled refugees over the coming years. These refugees will fill specific labour shortages in Canada in high-demand areas, such as healthcare, skilled trades and information technology.
Canada is further committing $6 million to support six projects which are being conducted by partners of the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot. These projects will help identify qualified candidates and support candidates and employers throughout the interview, hiring and immigration processes.
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