Canadian Experience Class Immigration to be Introduced in 2008

In 2008, a new stream of Canadian immigration will be available to certain temporary foreign workers and international student with Canadian degrees and Canadian work experience. First announced in the 2007 budget, the Canadian Experience Class will fill gaps the country's labour force shortage. Once the class is established and for the first time, individuals meeting specific criteria will be able to apply for permanent resident status from within Canada.

A report by the Canadian Bureau for International Education states that the international student talent pool could add up to 30,000 skilled immigrants every year if Canada were to implement a national strategy on international students. Foreign workers and international student are considered to fit well in the Canadian society because they already have the right skills in obtaining the job in Canada. They are also better accustomed to the Canadian culture.

The Canadian Experience Class adds to other initiatives to address labour market needs and to help in the successful integration of newcomers. These include establishing the Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO), improving the Temporary Foreign Worker program and expanding the Provincial Nominee Program. The FCRO is working with the provinces and territories to help internationally trained individuals get their skills assessed and recognized. The Provincial Nominee Program allows provinces and territories to identify and nominate immigrants who will address their labour market needs.

These were highlighted in the Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration that Citizenship and Immigration Canada tabled this week. The report provided a detailed analysis of immigration to Canada in 2006, an update on 2007, and plans for 2008. In 2006, Citizenship and Immigration Canada admitted 251,649 Permanent Residents (more than half under the economic class) and over 1.2 million Temporary Residents. Canadian citizenship was granted to 259,802 Permanent Residents. The 2007 update showed CIC on track to meeting its goals for the year and highlighted the $1.3 billion in settlement funding to help newcomers over five years. It also focused on improved Federal-Provincial-Territorial collaboration on immigration. In 2008, the government plans to welcome between 240,000 and 265,000 new Permanent Residents, which is consistent with this year's targets. The 2008 immigration plan focuses on Canada's labour market needs, family reunification, and the humanitarian principles of refugee protection.

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