Pilot initiative helping more skilled refugees build careers in Canada

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The federal government has increased funding to expand Canada’s Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP) to help more refugees train for careers in skilled trades.

Through the EMPP, partner organizations help skilled refugees overseas connect with employers who need to fill critical labour shortages in occupations like nurse aides and personal support workers, chefs and cooks, and skilled tradespeople. Once candidates receive a job offer, they can apply to immigrate to Canada through existing economic programs, using EMPP measures that remove barriers refugees may experience due to their displacement.

To make it easier for qualified candidates to apply, Canada is rolling out a new and more flexible process with partners including Talent Beyond Boundaries, TalentLift and Jumpstart Refugee Talent.

Also, $6.2 million will fund six projects by EMPP partner organizations to help identify qualified candidates overseas and support candidates and employers throughout the interview, hiring, and immigration processes. Funding will also support the work of a partner organization that helps EMPP newcomers with affordable microloans.

“Through this ground-breaking program, our government is highlighting skilled refugees’ professional achievements by allowing them to continue their career in Canada, while giving employers access to a pool of global talent,” said Sean Fraser, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship. “Several employers have pioneered and championed this program from its inception.”

According to the Global Trends Report 2021 from the United Nations Refugee Agency, Canada resettled more refugees than any other country in the world that year, with over 20,400 refugees finding a permanent, safe home.

This new phase of the EMPP makes it easier for refugees to apply for permanent residence. EMPP facilitation measures include waiving some fees, making it easier to prove their work experience, and letting them use loans to fund travel costs, settlement needs, start-up costs and fees that cannot be waived. In most cases, IRCC processes applications within 6 months.

“The Canadian economy is experiencing chronic talent shortages across multiple sectors,” said Bassel Ramli, co-founder and global programs director, Jumpstart Refugee Talent. “Meanwhile, millions of refugees around the world are seeking durable solutions to secure better lives for their families.

“Jumpstart is supporting employers across Canada in hiring and relocating people from displaced populations. Jumpstart is thrilled to be an EMPP trusted partner as that will help scale the program and relocate more refugees to Canada.”


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