Immigrant workers will be subject to mandatory language testing: ministers

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN –The Government of Canada is
strengthening its partnership with employers
to ensure the economic immigration program better meets the needs of
Canada’s economy, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism
Minister Jason Kenney announced today at a roundtable discussion with
Saskatoon employers.
The Government is building a fast and flexible economic immigration
system that focuses on finding people who have the skills and
experience required to meet Canada’s economic needs. The development
and delivery of a modernized, efficient economic program will rely on
partner engagement and – in particular – a greater role for
employers. The Government is working to better understand employers’
challenges, their workforce planning, hiring and recruitment
practices, and the circumstances in which they use the immigration
system. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) also wants to hear
from employers in specific areas where changes are proposed to its
programs.

“Economic growth and job creation remain the top priorities for our
Government,” said Minister Kenney. “Labour shortages are becoming a
growing problem in many regions, and this is particularly true in
this part of the country. Our Government wants to make it easier for
employers to hire permanent or temporary foreign workers when no
Canadians are able to fill a position, and we want to involve
employers in immigrant selection.”

Today’s roundtable is part of a series of meetings to consult with
employers – who have first-hand knowledge of the economic impacts of
Canada’s immigration policies – on how they can be more involved in
immigrant selection, and to update them on work the Department has
under way. Previous sessions with senior CIC officials have taken
place in Halifax, Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, St. John’s and
southern Saskatchewan. Minister Kenney will also meet with employers
in Halifax next week.

The Government has already undertaken some initiatives to make the
immigration system more responsive to the needs of employers. For
instance, the Department processes federal skilled worker
applications with a qualifying job offer on a priority basis. CIC
also recently redesigned its website to include a new section to
guide employers to the most suitable programs for hiring permanent
and temporary foreign workers. The new section of the website builds
on the success of other online tools for employers, such as the
Employer’s Roadmap.

“We want to go from a passive immigration system to an active system
where Canadian employers are actively recruiting people in the
international labour market from abroad,” said Minister Kenney.

During the meeting, Minister Kenney also outlined several important
Economic Action Plan 2012 commitments to the immigration system.
These include:

— Realigning the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to better meet labour
market demands;
— Supporting further improvements to foreign credential recognition and
identifying the next set of target occupations beyond 2012;
— Moving to an increasingly fast and flexible immigration system where
priority focus is on meeting Canada’s labour market needs; and
— Returning applications and fees to certain federal skilled worker
applicants who have been waiting for processing to be completed.