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Immigration v Recurring Skills Shortages

Given the chronic and far reaching skills shortages seen in Calgary and Alberta as a whole throughout the boom of the last 5 years or so, it is interesting to note that Immigration Canada continues to slowly import people with specialist skills predominantly on temporary visas.

It is equally interesting to note that many of those immigrants who came to Canada when Canada most needed their specialist skills have seen their visas expire and due to the market downturn have been unable to secure a positive Labour Market opinion needed in order to extend their visa or to become Permanent Residents. Subsequently these much needed people of the last 5 years appear discarded by the very system that brought them here and are left with no choice but to return home.

What does this mean to Alberta when the market begins to recover and we return to widespread specialist skills shortages particularly in Oil & Gas, Environmental and Construction sectors?

Will these immigrants return?   Doubtful

Will new immigrants feel confident to move here given what they may have witnessed with their predecessors visas? Questionable

Will Immigration Canada do what it could have done years ago and begin importing people as Permanent Residents with no expiry dates on their visas, offering stability and continuity to employers and immigrants alike?

History suggests otherwise and there appears to be strong resistance to change in immigration circles despite the continued failure of the system to meet both employer and immigrant needs.
It could well be that the skills shortage challenges we have faced in the relatively recent past will be dwarfed by the ones we face in the mid-long term future.

Paul Smith
Principal
T.R.A.C.K. Associates

   
   
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