A new, simple visa lets you relocate colleagues from refugee situations. This World Refugee Day, start meeting them.

Abapi is a nurse who is relocating to Newfoundland and Labrador. She is pictured here with her niece. Photo by Will O’Hare.

Canada launched a new immigration pathway last week to help almost any hiring team recruit and relocate colleagues from refugee situations. 

This country has long understood the value of enabling groups of citizens to get involved in opening our communities to people in displacement. The Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program has seen more than 300,000 people relocate over the years because of this impulse to take individual action in the face of global crises – like oppression in Afghanistan, war in Sudan, refugee camps that persist for decades, or tragic journeys like the fishing boat that capsized near Greece last week carrying as many as 750 people including kids.

Whatever compels us, our workplaces are a major new avenue for Canadians to take action.

The new immigration pathway falls under the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP), which opens some of Canada’s skilled visas to people in refugee situations as a complement to humanitarian programs. This unique pilot recognizes that someone can be both very talented and in a very tough situation.

Like a nurse from Afghanistan, who explained that his bachelor’s degree wasn’t as far as he wanted to go, but if you’re from his country your education just moves at a crawl. He had left Afghanistan once before, then returned, and now spoke with TalentLift from Pakistan while the Taliban are in power. It’s his second time seeking asylum, his second time on pause.

And an electrician from the Tigray region of Ethiopia, who asked quietly, “how long could a visa take?” He was in Kenya’s capital city unlawfully, instead of a refugee camp, so he could keep working. In Kenya, like many countries, it’s very difficult to legally work or to move freely if you’re seeking asylum. He was a contractor doing electrical wiring in commercial buildings in Ethiopia until a few months before.

And a young software developer, who left war in Syria for Turkey and then in February had to leave an earthquake area. But she brightened, almost giggling, to share how she kept learning to code.

The EMPP has been around since 2018 and has removed displacement-related barriers in some of Canada’s skilled visas, for example, no longer requiring valid passports or savings in a bank account. But change was slow and didn’t benefit all willing employers or qualified candidates. Fewer than 200 principal applicants have relocated. 

The new pathway is Canada’s answer to a scale challenge. It promises to accelerate hiring from refugee populations with a visa that is much simpler for employers. The new pathway opens up recruitment for any job, in any sector, in any part of the country outside Quebec, with no market test like the time-intensive Labour Market Impact Assessment, and with a single federal application. The visa takes six months to process, but that’s still fairly good for international recruitment.  

All this means that if you have a job vacancy, you can help a new colleague leave a refugee situation with their family. TalentLift can help you meet them.  

Think of the talent you can gain, and the impact you can have when a new colleague and their family relocate to join your team. 

Just don’t think about that developer in Turkey. Because we’re offering her a job with TalentLift. 

Join a community of pioneering hiring teams across Canada. Start hiring with TalentLift.

With the support of the Scotiabank ScotiaRISE initiative, TalentLift has built a talent platform for displaced job seekers to self-register, develop job-readiness, and connect to transformative job and relocation opportunities to Canada. Learn more.