Immigration reforms made it difficult for businesses to attract high-skilled workers, chamber of commerce says

By Susana Mas, CBC News

Foreign worker reforms attract 'fewer' skilled workers: chamber report

Perrin Beatty, the president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, says he is calling on the federal government to address key issues with Express Entry that are affecting the ability of businesses to hire high-skilled workers ‘before conditions worsen.’ (Adrian Wyld/CANADIAN PRESS)

 

Canada risks losing its competitive edge because of immigration reforms brought in under the previous Conservative government for political expediency, says a new report by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

The report is critical of the Express Entry immigration system launched one year ago and reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program made in June 2014 following a series of stories published by CBC’s Go Public team alleging abuse of the program.

The chamber calls on the federal government to conduct an immediate review before things get worse.

Express Entry was launched in 2015 to attract what the Conservative government called “the best and brightest” highly-skilled workers from around the world in an effort to meet the country’s labour needs. But employers looking for software engineers, family physicians or university academics got lumped in the same category as workers with less specialized skills.

“In an atmosphere of hyper-political reaction over temporary foreign workers, the government made policy choices that ultimately sacrificed the effectiveness of Express Entry,” the report says of changes brought in by the business-friendly Conservatives.

In a phone interview with CBC News, Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the chamber, said “It was a political response to a political problem, but with significant economic consequences for Canadian businesses.”

Canada appears to have attracted “fewer” high skilled foreign workers since June 2014 when the Conservatives announced the last set of reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, raising serious concerns for the chamber, which represents some 200,000 businesses across the country.

‘For the Canadian chamber and its members who employ highly skilled international talent, the situation has become untenable and dismaying.’– An immigration report by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce

“For the Canadian chamber and its members who employ highly skilled international talent, the situation has become untenable and dismaying,” the report says.

“Policy approaches that were born of suspicion, negativity and reprisal were applied to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and then similarly and inappropriately applied to Express Entry.

“For all the good work of government officials, the programs are falling short of their goals and creating inefficiencies within departments,” the report said.

Express Entry undermined by ‘protectionist policy’

“The concept of attracting ‘the best and the brightest’ is missing in action,” says the new report, “as the competitive model of Express Entry is currently undermined by the protectionist policy embodied in the labour market impact assessment tool.”

As CBC reported in September, businesses say the labour market impact assessment (LMIA) — a new requirement borrowed from the newly reformed Temporary Foreign Worker Program — is the biggest flaw with Express Entry.

Under Canada’s new immigration system, highly-skilled foreign workers not only have to line up a job before applying to come to Canada but their job offer has to be backed by what the government calls a positive LMIA. That assessment is a document all employers now need to hire a foreign worker over a Canadian one.

The chamber calls the introduction of this new requirement a “misstep” that has made it “extremely challenging” for businesses to attract highly-skilled workers such as video game developers, top-flight researchers and workers in the trades.

“As a result, Canada appears to have invited far fewer highly skilled workers to work here on a temporary basis,” the chamber said pointing to a 45 per cent drop in LMIA’s, which are required for work permits in the year, since June 2014 when the temporary worker reforms were brought in.

Chamber calls for ‘sober, thoughtful review’

The 32-page report titled “Immigration for a Competitive Canada: Why Highly Skilled International Talent Is at Risk” lays out what Canadian businesses see as “missteps” with the immigration changes and offers 20 recommendations.

The recommendations include:

  • Removing the new requirement of a labour market impact assessment from the Express Entry system.
  • Tweaking the points system under Express Entry to benefit high skilled workers applying under the International Mobility Program.
  • Reducing processing times for study permits and visas.

“Canada risks losing its economic and competitive advantage when it comes to attracting highly skilled international talent, says the chamber. “Fortunately, there are simple and efficient ways to mitigate and avoid that risk and undo the damaging impacts.”

Beatty is calling on the federal government “to act before conditions worsen.”

“Now is the time for a sober, thoughtful review of what Canada can accomplish through economic immigration,” the chamber report said.

A spokeswoman in the office of Immigration Minister John McCallum said he was not available for comment today.

CBC News was not able to immediately reach Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel.

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JR Immigration Law - Facebook Reviews

Jennifer Roggemann Law Office
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Collen Mae Lowe Padua
Collen Mae Lowe Padua
2017-04-08T15:15:58+0000
Kiet Tuan Duong
Kiet Tuan Duong
2016-06-16T15:58:56+0000
Michelle Serrano
Michelle Serrano
2016-06-07T19:27:11+0000
Very good Lawyer.... I had a very complicated issue in Immigration she made it fast and easy.. highly recommend.Thanks Jennifer and to your team. Good job!!!!!
Anthony Lauron
Anthony Lauron
2015-11-08T00:49:47+0000
Libby Avalos
Libby Avalos
2014-02-24T18:30:47+0000
I would definitely recommend JR Law to anyone seeking immigration assistance. We first met Jennifer in November 2011, and she and her team proceeded over the last 2 years to help my husband achieve permanent residency status thru in-land spousal sponsorship. I know that many people attempt to do this process on their own, but after being thru it, I would never recommend that. Laws are always changing, and it was such piece of mind to know that we were getting the most current information, and that everything was being done correctly. We definitely hit some bumps in the road... immigration lost part of our file, which needed to be redone, and then they were on strike, slowing everything down. JR Law supported us during the entire extra, unexpected time. Again, these things happen and we were happy to have legal support throughout. The team at JR law was always friendly, organized, supportive, and very fair and honest. We will definitely be seeing them again moving forward with any immigration issues in the future!
Claudio Leanza
Claudio Leanza
2014-02-20T15:19:38+0000
Waste of money!!!!lot of money!!
Thomas Williams
Thomas Williams
2013-12-24T00:42:22+0000
Tim Underwood
Tim Underwood
2013-11-09T01:16:26+0000
Gordie Hanna
Gordie Hanna
2013-08-04T23:27:46+0000

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Alison Moffatt
Alison Moffatt
20:42 04 Jul 18
We're so thankful we found Jennifer & her law office! As a small company, we were able to navigate the immigration system with their help and guidance - and got the outcome we wanted! Thank you so so much for everything, we have really appreciated working with your team.
Arielle N
Arielle N
03:25 20 Dec 17
We went to Jennifer with just under two months before my work permit expired and I wanted to apply for PR. Long story short, Jennifer and her staff was incredible, thorough, well experienced and fast! We all worked very hard to get my application in and today I'm already a permanent resident of this great country. Pricey though but what lawyer isn't..she does pre-warn about that but honestly with how fast they worked and their knowledge around the entire process, it was all worth it. Thank you Jennifer Roggemann and your wonderful staff. I truly believe they are the best in town.
L. Spalla
L. Spalla
17:13 25 Feb 18
They charged 300 just for one hour and a half consultation, so I asked roughly how much it would be to apply for sponsorship, they couldn’t tell me I was only calling them because I’m actually from Toronto and my fiancé wants to get a lawyer close to kw Long story short, her secretary were pushing me for a consultation without trying at least understand my situation and get me a price Basically what I’ve seen is, u go for consultation, spend 300$ they charge u whatever after, if u r not ok with the price, they still made 300$ on you
Louise Cowden
Louise Cowden
13:55 05 Jun 17
In August 2015 we walked into Jennifer's office looking for advice on how to get John PR status, and walked out after our appointment wishing we had come to see them sooner. Jennifer gave us all of the options available and set some realistic expectations. It's been nearly 2 years since we walked into her office, and just last week John became a permanent resident. We couldn't have done it without everyone in the office, they made things so much easier. The value, to us, of having Jennifer and her team is that we were not worried about our application. We knew that we were in great hands, and we would get the outcome that we were hoping for. Especially thankful for Heather and Erica, you both played a huge part in making sure that I kept calm; the professional and knowledgeable manner that you both have kept my mind at ease throughout the last year and a half. Without them, we wouldn't be able to move on with our lives in Canada. We can't thank you enough for everything that you have done for us. Louise and John
Georgia
Georgia
21:46 22 Nov 17
Very honest, straightforward person. She gave me all of the information I needed in order to make an informed decision.
Hannah Schell
Hannah Schell
16:01 24 Jul 18
A Canadian-American couple, we have been married for a long time and had been living in the United States. We are both college professors, and have struggled for years with balancing our two careers. When Martin got a job offer “back home” in Canada, we decided it was time to start a new chapter and made arrangements to begin immigrating. We had previously gone through the long, messy process of immigration to the U.S. for Martin’s green card and ended up having to hire a lawyer after trying to do it on our own. This time we wanted things done smoothly and so we started looking online for help. We googled immigration lawyers in the area and saw that Jennifer’s office was all women. Intrigued, we read everything on her website and made arrangements for a consultation when we were visiting. The date of that first consultation actually coincided with our 20th wedding anniversary - what’s more romantic than a visit to a lawyer’s office! The price tag was sobering but since we wanted this done right, we decided to go ahead. We sensed they knew what they were doing, were organized and efficient, and we liked that they didn’t talk down to us. Jennifer talks fast (!) and processes information quickly, and we appreciated that she was very thorough and open and gave us all the information we needed to make an informed decision. We decided to hire Jennifer and her team and we have never regretted that decision. Every interaction with the office (whether in person, phone or email) was professional and friendly. They were continually helpful and although we were sharing a lot of personal information, we trusted them. The most valuable thing they gave us was peace of mind. They are very efficient and we didn’t have to worry about the details. They had told us how long they expected the process to take, which helped give me a timeline of when I would be able to look for new job opportunities here in Canada, and we are thrilled that it turned out to be even faster than what they had told us. They were able to offer helpful suggestions for how to get all the needed materials along the way, including the medical exam, finger-printing, background checks, etc. We recommend that you at least go and have a consultation with Jennifer to find out all your options. They are friendly, fast, smart and helpful. Now I’m a permanent resident here and Martin and I are enjoying settling into our new community. Thank you Jennifer and team for helping us start this new chapter in our lives! Hannah & Martin
Ted Yoon
Ted Yoon
01:13 02 Aug 18
I came to Canada from Korea for college and ended up staying and working in my field. When I was eligible to apply for Permanent residency through the Canadian Experience Class, I was looking for some help. I was introduced to Jennifer through the Korean community and I went for a consultation. She sounded confident and that she could solve the problems that I had with my situation. I’m glad that I decided to hire Jennifer. She knows much more than some consultants that I talked to in Toronto. She and her office are confident and knowledgeable about what they do. They are expensive, but I always received a response quickly whenever I had a question or had provided them with documents. The fact that Jennifer could communicate with my family in Korean was very helpful. She also has an understanding of the cultural concerns that are common to South Korean men my age regarding military service in our home country. I liked that, because I lived out of town, I was able to have skype meetings with the office rather than having to drive to Kitchener to meet. Now I’m a permanent resident and I’m able to move on with my life. I’m looking forward to being able to apply for Canadian citizenship as soon as possible and I know I’ll be back for another consultation with Jennifer. Ted
Cheyenne Cartwright
Cheyenne Cartwright
21:38 01 Aug 18
We found this law office in one of the most challenging periods of our lives. Newly married, my wife Canadian and myself American, we had drastically misunderstood the processes necessary to ensure I would be able to build a life with her in Ontario, and I was only a couple of weeks away from a potential notice of deportation. Based on the mistakes I made, I did not think I even deserved a chance to make it right and managed the (short, but painful) wait for an appointment with plans to move back to the US and restart the process. Already partially reassured by the incredibly fast and professional response of the office's staff, I went into the meeting cautiously optimistic, and to make a long story short, we immediately agreed to enter a process that just in the past couple of months culminated in securing my permanent residency. Along the way, I received expedited permissions to pursue a job in Ontario, mentoring throughout the process of acquiring required documents and testimonials, anything we could have wanted, especially and all importantly the peace of mind mentioned in other reviews here already. And I never had to be separated from my wife at any point. While expensive, the costs were well explained, and we were coached in how to keep the costs as low as possible by doing as much on our end as we could. This resulted in a sizable refund of our retainer, given to us immediately along with my notice of permanent residency. I have nothing but praise for their office and staff, and anticipate continuing to exchange Christmas greetings/gifts over many happy years here in the province.
Franky Tacia
Franky Tacia
23:45 28 Jul 18
Completely unprofessional reception and an absolute scam as far as “initial consultation” that was her scribbling and circling on a bunch of random questions that lasted 15 minutes for $1000.00. Learned absolutely nothing new other then she wanted another $9,000.00 to help. Stay away!!!
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