Economic Mobility Pilot Program Expands to Include 2000 Skilled Refugees

The Economic Mobility Pilot Program (EMPP) will provide funding to several partner organizations through Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

In a recent announcement made in Ottawa by Immigration Minister Sean Fraser that 2,000 skilled refugees will be admitted to Canada over the next few years to help fill shortages in specific, high-demand sectors.

In order to facilitate the hiring of skilled refugees, the EMPP connects them with employers who are urgently seeking to fill positions.

Among the partners receiving funding are Talent Beyond Boundaries, TalentLift, and Jumpstart Refugee Talent. These organizations will soon be able to refer and support candidates directly. Each organization will receive training and quality assurance reviews.

Jumpstart Refugee Talent Co-Founder and Global Programs Director Bassel Ramli says “the Canadian economy is experiencing chronic talent shortages across multiple sectors. Meanwhile, millions of refugees around the world seek durable solutions to secure better lives for themselves and their families. Jumpstart is supporting employers throughout Canada in hiring and moving people from displaced populations in partnership with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.”

The government has allocated $6.2 million to support EMPP partner organizations.

This funding will help six separate projects identify qualified candidates overseas and support them through the interview, hiring, and immigration processes.

The Labour Shortage in Canada

Canada like much of the world is experiencing a shortage of skilled labour and a high number of job openings. As a result of an aging population and a low birth rate, Canadians are not able to fill vacant positions.

Earlier this year, Canada released its highest permanent resident targets to date in the Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025. The country aims to welcome over 500,000 new immigrants a year by the end of the plan.

Nearly 15,000 economic immigrants will come through an economic pilot program. Over 300,000 of these newcomers will be granted permanent residence through economic immigration programs.

What is the Eligibility for the EMPP?

Under the EMPP, Canada has already welcomed over 100 skilled refugees and their families.

Refugees who settle in Canada under the EMPP have less difficulty applying for permanent residency.

In most cases, IRCC processes applications within six months. Some fees are waived, work experience is easier to prove, and loans can be used to cover travel costs, settlement costs, start-up costs, and charges that cannot be waived.

Under the EMPP, refugees must be both refugees and eligible under an existing economic immigration pilot program, such as:

  • Atlantic Immigration Program
  • Provincial Nominee Program
  • Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot

There are some requirements that are waived for applicants applying under the Atlantic Immigration Program or Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot programs. They must, for example, prove they worked the same number of hours in the timeframe listed, even if they did not work the same number in general.

Applicants must also provide a referral letter from a partner organization.

How Does the EMPP Work?

With targeted assistance, skilled refugees can meet the eligibility criteria of existing economic immigration programs, as demonstrated in the first phase of the EMPP, which was launched in 2018. With the help of this phase, it was revealed that there is a large, untapped pool of skilled candidates who can fill Canada’s workforce gaps. In the current phase, IRCC is targeting to settle 500 refugees and their families in order to better understand how to maximize the potential of skilled refugees and expand the EMPP.

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