Canada is competing with other nations for international talent, and must do even more to attract and retain newcomers, says Minister of Immigration Ahmed Hussen.
Hussen made the remarks during a wide-ranging opening address on the opening day of the Conference Board of Canada’s Canadian Immigration Summit 2017: Innovating at 150 and beyond. The summit is being held in Ottawa, just steps from the very Parliament where Canadian immigration policies are put into practice.
“Growing Canada’s population through immigration boosts economic growth and softens the economic burden of a rapidly ageing population and low birth rates,” said Minister Hussen, himself an immigrant who came to Canada as a refugee at the age of 16.
“More and more countries are also using immigration as a tool for economic growth. Source countries for immigrants, such as India and China, have rapidly expanding economies, therefore creating opportunities right at home for their best young and educated citizens.
“We must ensure that the programs that we have in place in immigration will allow us to continue to win in the global race for talent . . . we have to be able to be nimble and constantly innovate because other countries are also coming on board.”
The role of Express Entry in achieving these goals is front and center for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the department headed by Hussen, who referred to the country’s flagship economic immigration management system as “part of our toolbox, allowing us to identify the best and brightest people.”
Express Entry is now the main driver of economic immigration to Canada, with more candidates being invited to apply for permanent residence so far this year than in the whole of 2016. Moreover, IRCC is achieving its goal of inviting more candidates based on their human capital, skills, and experience, following improvements made to the system last November.