Partners in our mission make great products: TalentLift’s learning path powered by Thinkific

Nasser and the Thinkific team. Nasser is a Software Engineer with Thinkific, based in Vancouver.

At TalentLift, our mission is about opening doors to skilled employment opportunities for people living as refugees, and providing a holistic support system that empowers displaced talents throughout their journeys to thrive in their new environments. We believe that leveraging the right tools is key to our mission’s success. That’s where Thinkific comes into play.

Thinkific is an all-in-one online course platform that lets individuals and organizations create and deliver courses on their branded websites. TalentLift has adopted this innovative software to create courses for candidates, and further our mission in several impactful ways:

  • Job market readiness: Preparation to put your best foot forward to employers is about equipping candidates with the cultural fluency and professional norms expected within the Canadian workforce. Our job market readiness course on the Thinkific platform focuses on topics like employment expectations, resume writing, interview techniques, workplace communication and culture, and networking. Supported by these modules, our candidates can step into the Canadian job market, interviews, and eventually the workplace with confidence, ready to contribute and thrive.
  • Immigration process: For those who have successfully secured a job offer, the journey is just beginning. It’s crucial for our candidates to be empowered to navigate the immigration process alongside us. This is important for a swift visa submission and to ensure a smooth transition to life in Canada. One of our Thinkific courses is dedicated to onboarding candidates to the immigration legal framework that TalentLift follows, providing a roadmap through the visa process (program steps, document requirements, timelines, and available support), as well as the rights and responsibilities that form the backbone of their new careers and lives in Canada.

As we mark two months since embarking on this collaboration with Thinkific, we’re already seeing the empowering impact of this user-friendly platform for our candidates. 

Thinkific supports our mission in more than one inspiring way. Nasser Alkhellow is a Software Engineer on the Thinkific team who is also a TalentLift alumni supported to relocate from a refugee situation in Türkiye for work in his new home in Vancouver. This unique connection underscores how pioneering leaders like Thinkific innovate across all elements of their business, from software to impactful hiring. And, attracting superstars like Nasser helps to power product excellence.

Greg Smith, the CEO of Thinkific, and his talented team have been instrumental in this new chapter of supporting TalentLift offers to candidates. We are grateful for Thinkific’s leadership and partnership in unlocking many more journeys ahead. 

We are excited to continue to expand the scope and reach of our training programs to further advance our mission. Our focus will be on creating learning journeys for candidates that are accessible, cost-free, and centred on practical guidance.

We envision empowering many more people to leverage their skills – and this learning – to relocate alongside their families from displacement to new careers and homes in Canada.

Hala Alkhellow is a Data Engineer with TalentLift who developed an interest in technical programming despite her background in Communication Engineering from Aleppo University. Driven to deepen her skills, Hala embarked on a journey of self-study, immersing herself in various programming languages and frameworks. Through online resources and mentorship from experienced software engineers, she honed her front-end development, back-end development, and data engineering expertise. Hala firmly believes that continuous learning is the key to keeping up with the ever-evolving technology field.

Candidates living in refugee circumstances and seeking a job in Canada can join TalentLift. Employers seeking global talent while engaging their team in something transformative can start hiring.

Hey non-profits! Relocate your next employee from a refugee situation

Explore a new, impactful hiring strategy for the non-profit and charitable sector under Canada’s Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP)

Your hiring power has the potential to move talented new team members from displacement to a secure future in Canada.

There are more than 110 million people living displaced around the world. This figure has risen in the last several decades to an historic high, driven by conflict or civil instability in Syria, Venezuela, Ukraine, Afghanistan, and South Sudan, among other regions. Many displaced people are living in countries where they have limited access to work rights and other basic services. And yet, many have the skills and talent needed by teams and communities across Canada.

The non-profit and charitable sector has an opportunity to get involved, and put their own team values of inclusion and community impact into practice through a new hiring strategy: Sourcing your hard-to-fill roles from the international talent pool of people living in refugee situations.

Do you need a Software Developer? A Data Analyst? A Project Manager? A Sales Lead? A Graphic Designer? A Bookkeeper? A lot of the critical skill sets needed by non-profit teams are also really difficult to find in Canada. But the right candidate doesn’t need to be here in Canada. Your next great hire might be in a refugee situation, eager for a job and relocation opportunity.

The Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP)

Many teams in the non-profit sector may be new to international recruitment using skilled visas. That’s okay. Not having past experience with immigration shouldn’t be a barrier to starting out. Canada has a unique immigration program called the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP), which aims to help hiring teams across Canada to recruit and relocate talent from within refugee populations.

Canada is continuously improving the pilot, and it has never been easier or faster for Canadian hiring teams to participate.

A few important things for organizations to know about recruitment under the EMPP: 

  • Your team and the location of the job can be anywhere in Canada outside Quebec
  • You need to offer a full-time job
  • You should offer the prevailing (median) wage for the role and location 
  • You can work with TalentLift to learn more and find a shortlist of talented candidates living in displacement for your open roles
  • You should be ready to pay the costs of visas and relocation, and provide basic arrival support (i.e. airport pick-up) to your new employee and their family (and don’t stress – we help you plan and execute each step!)
  • You can expect a visa processing timeline of about 6 months, which is quite reasonable when seeking in-demand skills.

Importantly, supporting a candidate from displacement through the EMPP is not the same as private sponsorship through Canada’s refugee resettlement program. The EMPP falls under the economic stream and is intended to be a complementary solution, and therefore the number of people moving under this program is additional to Canada’s resettlement commitment. The costs and commitments required of hiring teams are also very different from those provided by private sponsors.

Who’s hiring?

Some pioneering non-profit teams are already showing what’s possible – including us. TalentLift hired a star Data Engineer who’s now a core part of our team, who will be relocating from a refugee situation in Türkiye. Other non-profit partners of TalentLift that are recruiting from the displaced talent pool include a church in Edmonton, a volunteer and giving platform in Vancouver, and a provider of home, long-term and primary healthcare with locations across Canada.

Why hire?

If you have open roles on your team that are difficult to fill, and your organization is mission-driven, this impactful hiring solution might be right for you. 

In summary, your team can: 

  • Access an underleveraged talent pool (candidates living in refugee situations) with in-demand skills and high potential. 
  • Gain knowledge and experience of different cultures, regions and socio-economic circumstances that will expand diversity of thought on the team. 
  • Gain creative, agile problem-solvers who have remarkable perseverance and determination. 
  • Engage in a transformative change, and in enriching community-building, when your new employee relocates alongside their family from displacement.
  • Put your values of inclusion and community impact into practice through your hiring power.  

How to get started

Get in touch! We’ll set up a discovery call to learn more about your roles and explain how it works. 

And … 

In discussion with candidates living displaced in Ecuador, the TalentLift team asked what they wished Canadian employers knew about them. “People are very resilient, hard-working and very strong,” said one candidate. Another added, “they have an adaptability. They can do different things, not only what they’re trained for,” and “they take adversity as a chance to grow.”

The Canadian charitable sector counts some 86,000 organizations, plus many other non-profits across the country. Imagine the opportunities we can offer to candidates like these to grow.

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

Recommendations to a Senate of Canada committee exploring solutions to global displacement

The Senate of Canada’s Human Rights Committee invited TalentLift to join the committee as a witness on a study that focuses on innovative solutions to global displacement. Our Dana Wagner joined fellow panelists Abdulla Daoud of The Refugee Centre and Kathy Sherrell of the Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia.

Dana spoke on the promise of the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP) to unlock more solutions for people living as refugees globally. She focused on three issue areas and recommendations to address them, that would provide talented candidates in displacement with broader and more equitable access to Canadian job and skilled visa opportunities. 

Her remarks are below and can also be viewed by video.

Opening statement at the Senate of Canada Human Rights Committee

My name is Dana Wagner and I’m the Co-Founder and Managing Director with TalentLift. 

We support employers to recruit internationally from within refugee populations, using skilled visas, as a solution to skills shortages in Canada and displacement worldwide. The Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot or the EMPP is the policy framework that makes this work possible. My remarks are about how to improve it. 

I will preface by pointing to the dissonance created by Canada’s will to lead on solutions to global displacement, and unwillingness to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. We have lost more than 7,000 Palestinian children and more than 30 Israeli children, we have 80% of Gaza displaced, and we need an immediate ceasefire.


Now, The EMPP is unlocking remarkable opportunities: A manufacturer recently set a hiring target of 100 skilled workers for facilities in Guelph. In October, the Newfoundland and Labrador Health Services hired 49 nurses living in Ethiopia as refugees. These are nurses who don’t have full rights including work rights, or a pathway to permanence where they’re living.

Recent innovations including a new federal EMPP pathway launched in June, hold promise to scale this impact.

But as always in Canada, we can do better. 

Issue number one: The EMPP is still too narrow. 

How do we measure its success? The best reference point is the whole economic stream, of permanent and temporary pathways. Until the EMPP framework and flexibility encompasses the whole economic stream available to everyone else, we don’t have full access or equity for displaced talent. 

More than 604,000 people arrived on work permits last year, in 2022, but the EMPP flexibility doesn’t apply to those programs. It also doesn’t apply to the Express Entry programs and others like the Self-Employed Persons Program.

Recommendation: Our recommendation to close this gap is to mainstream access across the economic stream, including permanent and temporary pathways. One way to begin is to conduct (following the example of a gender-based analysis) what our team calls a displacement-based analysis of the economic stream.

Issue number two: Language levels and testing are too inflexible 

The new federal EMPP pathway has language levels that are proving prohibitive to many otherwise qualified candidates. We know this because we often have employers that require lower language than the visa pathway. 

Now, onto language testing. Currently, if you apply for a skilled visa with an English language requirement outside Canada, you must take the British Council IELTS test, and you must write the exam in-person. That means that right now – candidates from Afghanistan who are living in Pakistan are risking deportation to leave home and take their IELTS exam. 

Other barriers encountered by our candidates are: testing site availability (none in some countries, or outside major cities); inconsistent access for candidates with non-traditional documents; high cost; restrictive payment methods; and – last but not least – a difficult test that does not accurately reflect working knowledge of English.


To address the too-high language level, we recommend removing the minimum English/French level in higher-skilled jobs (TEER 3-0) (and there are precedents for this in some provincial nominee programs, in Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador), potentially replaced with an affidavit from the employer that the candidate has the language needed to safely perform the job. 

To address too-restrictive English testing, we recommend accepting an online version of the British Council IELTS test; and accepting an online test by a second provider, like Duolingo.

Issue number three: Risk of uneven access across diversity dimensions

I noted that Newfoundland and Labrador Health Services hired 49 nurses living as refugees in Ethiopia. Some are living in the capital Addis Ababa, some are living in camps spread out around the country. 

Currently, a medical exam is required during EMPP visa processing before approval. Those in Addis can take one nearby. Those in most camps in Ethiopia need to take a flight to get to the nearest medical exam facility. 

Friction like this means it takes more time, and costs more money, for camp-based candidates to access the same opportunity – ultimately, that could be a competitive disadvantage.

Recommendation: We recommend investing in equitable access within talent pools, with a focus on improving access by women, those living in refugee camps or other remote areas, and those who are LGBTQ. This investment can be in funding and in targeted policy solutions. 


In closing, underlying these recommendations is the idea that people with talent and potential who live in refugee situations should have the same access to opportunities as talented people of any other background. If we build that world, then many more of the 35+ million people living as refugees can use their skills to leave situations of limbo and reduced rights, and use regular routes to reach safe new homes.

Candidates living in refugee circumstances and seeking a job in Canada can join TalentLift. Employers seeking global talent while engaging their team in something transformative can start hiring.

Empowering interviews with the TalentLift companion app: A case study for launching large-scale virtual recruitment events

In an increasingly interconnected world, opportunities are no longer confined by borders. Newfoundland and Labrador Health Services (NLHS) partnered with TalentLift to extend their reach and create a unique opportunity for talented healthcare professionals living in refugee circumstances in Ethiopia. 

Explore more details regarding this recruitment event in another blog post that we have shared.

To support the large-scale virtual recruitment event, our tech team at TalentLift developed a companion application, streamlining the interview process for the event. 

TalentLift’s companion app was designed to empower interviewers during the NLHS recruitment event and to enhance their efficiency as they conducted over 70 interviews over a three-day period. With features tailored to the specific needs of this pioneering undertaking, the app became an indispensable tool for the interview teams and a great demonstration of fit-to-purpose development.

Let’s explore how it simplified the process and improved the overall experience for both candidates and interviewers.

  1. Candidate profiles and CVs: Our app allows interviewers to log in and access comprehensive candidate profiles, including their essential details and CVs. This feature not only saves time but also ensures that interviewers have all the necessary information at their fingertips. A quick glance at a candidate’s qualifications and experiences helps interviewers gain a well-rounded understanding of each candidate’s background before the interview even begins.
  1. Private and secure feedback: After each interview, interviewers can conveniently note their feedback within the app, ensuring that their observations and thoughts are securely stored. This feature facilitates easy collaboration among the interviewing teams, allowing for efficient decision-making processes.
  1. Decision making: One of the best features of the app is the ability for interviewers to individually note their decision regarding the candidate. Whether to continue, decline, or recommend further assessment, interviewers can make their decisions right in the app at the time of the interview and before conferring with other colleagues. This streamlines the decision-making process and can help see that every candidate is treated fairly and equitably.
  1. Interview guides and job descriptions: To further assist interviewers, the app provides easy access to an interview guide created by our team, with key context on refugee circumstances and tips for an inclusive approach to hiring. Additionally, interviewers can review the job description of the position they are interviewing for, ensuring they have a clear understanding of the role’s requirements and expectations.
  1. Zoom integration and technical support: Given that all interviews were conducted on the Zoom platform, the app also provided a seamless link to the Zoom meetings. And, our team ensured that candidates were well-prepared and equipped for the interviews, ensuring a smooth and seamless experience for over 70 candidates during the three-day event.

The success of the companion app for the NLHS recruitment event goes beyond just this single occasion. We understand that such an application can have broad application for future events as well. By centralizing all interview-related information and facilitating secure communication, future recruitment events can be conducted with utmost efficiency and professionalism.

The TalentLift companion app supports recruiters in ensuring that talented individuals living in refugee circumstances have an equal opportunity to shine and contribute their skills to a safe new home. As skilled visa pathways to Canada continue to open, and the TalentLift companion app continues to evolve and adapt, we hope it will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of global recruitment, making the world a more inclusive and diverse place where talent knows no boundaries.

Hala Alkhellow is a Data Engineer with TalentLift who developed an interest in technical programming despite her background in Communication Engineering from Aleppo University. Driven to deepen her skills, Hala embarked on a journey of self-study, immersing herself in various programming languages and frameworks. Through online resources and mentorship from experienced software engineers, she honed her front-end development, back-end development, and data engineering expertise. Hala firmly believes that continuous learning is the key to keeping up with the ever-evolving technology field.

Candidates living in refugee circumstances and seeking a job in Canada can join TalentLift. Employers seeking global talent while engaging their team in something transformative can start hiring.

Newfoundland and Labrador builds hiring pipeline to displaced healthcare talent in Ethiopia

A provincial health service is extending opportunities to talented candidates living in refugee circumstances as part of the solution to a critical shortage of healthcare skills in Canada. 

Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) Health Services partnered with TalentLift to find talented healthcare professionals who are living as refugees in Ethiopia, in a pioneering initiative alongside our partners at the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). 

Under this initiative, we partnered to convene a 3-day virtual recruitment event in October, powered by our in-house hiring platform. We are thrilled to share these early results: 

  • 49 candidates moving forward
  • 70+ interviews with talented healthcare professionals 
  • Interviews held in 5 refugee camps – Jijiga, Assosa, Gambella, Melkadida, and Semera – as well as in the capital city Addis Ababa
  • The start of a talent pipeline between the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and displaced healthcare professionals in Ethiopia, making it possible for many more employment opportunities to follow

NL Health Services is among a growing group of leading employers globally who are recognizing the immense talent within refugee populations, and providing people with a chance to put their skills to use and reach their full potential in a safe new home. 

NL Health Services is also showcasing a new form of win-win global recruitment in healthcare by recruiting from within a population that has only insecure and temporary status in their host country. A job opportunity in Canada – while filling critical healthcare roles – provides a pathway to continued careers and secure futures.

“NL Health Services continues to actively recruit talented health-care workers here at home, and abroad in an effort to meet all the needs of Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Debbie Molloy, Vice President Human Resources, NL Health Services. “NL Health Services is a great place to work and an ideal place where health-care professionals from anywhere in the world can grow their careers. As such, we encourage communities throughout the province to continue to provide a warm welcome to the health-care professionals joining us from around the world so that health-care workers can have the best possible experience living and working in our province. Our hope is that Newfoundland and Labrador may become their permanent new home.”

There are thousands of healthcare professionals who are living in refugee circumstances globally who are talented, resilient and keen to contribute their skills in a safe new home. TalentLift is grateful to employers like NL Health Services that are recognizing their skills and extending opportunities to talent living anywhere. 

Read more about this pioneering initiative in an NL Health Services press release

Listen to our Dana Wagner and Debbie Molloy of NL Health Services speak about this initiative with CBC On the Go

Candidates living in refugee circumstances and seeking a job in Canada can join TalentLift. Employers seeking global talent while engaging their team in something transformative can start hiring.

Where the EMPP falls within Canada’s latest immigration plan

Ali, a Fibre Optics Technician, and his family arrived in Toronto last week, headed to their new home in London, Ontario.

Canada continues its work towards reaching an annual immigration target of 500,000 permanent residents. 

Each November, the Canadian Government releases an ‘immigration levels plan’ to forecast permanent resident newcomers to Canada. In recent years, the plan has included a three-year outlook. This year’s plan outlines that in 2024, Canada aims to welcome 485,000 newcomers, in 2025 another 500,000, and in 2026 the level will stay steady at 500,000.


  • The 2024 level represents just over 1% of Canada’s population of 38 million. 
  • The proportion of permanent residents arriving under the economic stream stays consistent with recent years at just under 60% of the overall level. Family immigration accounts for 24% and refugee or protected person immigration is 16%. This distribution stays about even for the three forecasted years, but there are notable changes within each category from year to year. For example, the target number of privately-sponsored refugees rises while government-assisted refugee numbers fall. 
  • The plan includes new annual and progressively increasing French-speaking permanent resident targets outside Quebec, up from 4% in 2023 to 6% in 2024, 7% in 2025, and 8% in 2026. The goal is to uphold bilingualism across Canada and support the growth of French language minority communities.
  • Canada’s Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP), where TalentLift’s work primarily falls, is part of the economic immigration level. Importantly, this means that folks moving from refugee situations because of their skills and talent are additional to Canada’s humanitarian programs. Each talented person hired by a Canadian team is an additional family able to leave displacement behind.
  • Dilruba, supported by our partners at FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance and TalentLift, is featured in this year’s annual report to Parliament. Dilruba is a talented healthcare professional working with the long-term care provider Chancellor Park in St. John’s. The report notes that her employer “struck gold” upon hiring her – and we note that this remarkable team has continued their impactful hiring strategy, providing opportunities to several other team members living in displacement. 
  • Canada plans to create a Chief International Talent Officer role and among the initiatives they will lead are ‘global skills missions’ to recruit talent internationally. 
  • Canada aims to introduce a new ‘client experience platform’ by the end of 2023 where applicants can better follow progress on their visa processing. 

Is the 2024 immigration target a high number? 

The 2024 immigration target of 485,000 is a relatively high number compared to recent decades, but Canada has long welcomed newcomers in ways that help to advance demographics (the Canadian birth rate isn’t high enough to sustain let alone grow the population) and the economy. Annual immigration has also changed and risen, historically, in response to major conflicts around the world.

Where do temporary residents (work permits) fit in? 

The levels plan does not include temporary work permit forecasts. But these numbers are included in an annual report to Parliament submitted by the Immigration Minister. Last year, the number of people who arrived in Canada with temporary work permits was 604,000. This includes people arriving under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the International Mobility Program. 

What are 3 ways to improve Canada’s economic immigration for talented people in refugee situations?

Canada has made remarkable advances in building a more equitable and inclusive economic immigration system for people living in refugee situations worldwide. The growth of the EMPP and the innovations within it are creating new opportunities that benefit displaced families and the teams welcoming them across Canada, and modelling a skills-based solution for the international community. 

Continued innovation can deepen all these benefits, and ensure that anyone with the talent to contribute to Canada can equitably compete for that opportunity. 

First, we encourage Canada to expand access by people living in refugee circumstances to work permits, so they too can leverage this significant entry point to Canada – or 604,000 places in 2022. As noted in the report to Parliament, “a growing number of immigrants who are granted permanent residence are already in Canada as temporary residents.” In fact, many of Canada’s economic immigration programs either require or reward in-Canada experience. Similarly, Canada should extend EMPP accommodations to all permanent residence pathways in the economic stream which currently fall outside the pilot, such as the Express Entry programs. Canada will only achieve full equity for displaced talent when they can access the full suite of economic pathways, permanent and temporary. 

Second, as Canada aims to orient economic immigration to critical labour market needs, the government should introduce greater flexibility in language requirements in its federal programs. Many of these programs have a very high language bar. This includes new pathways under the EMPP for displaced talent, which range from an English level of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 4 to 7, and the French equivalents, depending on pathway. These levels, as well as the standardized test offered by the British Council to demonstrate English proficiency, can be prohibitive in particular for people living in refugee situations who may have fewer opportunities and resources to focus on language upskilling. Instead, TalentLift has recommended accepting an attestation from an employer confirming an applicant has the language ability to perform the job. Or, if a language minimum is in place, using a low CLB and accepting a more accessible test such as the Duolingo remote test.

Third, Canada should swiftly move to make the EMPP a permanent program, in parallel to making changes towards deeper equity. The EMPP is in a pilot stage, although it has operated since 2018. Just as Canada graduated the Atlantic Immigration Program from pilot to permanent fixture, the EMPP is ready for permanence. The EMPP is unique among immigration pilots because it is a set of accommodations as well as visa pathways, all developed to provide greater access to Canada’s economic immigration stream for talented people in displacement. It is at its core an equity program. Moving from a pilot to a permanent program is important for the longevity of these advances, and for ensuring that equity doesn’t change as governments or political priorities do.

With these and other changes, Canada will continue its global leadership as a top destination where displaced talent can thrive. 

Further background can be found at: 

Candidates living in refugee circumstances and seeking a job in Canada can join TalentLift. Employers seeking global talent while engaging their team in something transformative can start hiring.

New-hire identity fraud: Experts share ways to safeguard during remote hiring

The rise of virtual hiring has brought both opportunities and challenges. On the upside, virtual hiring is deeply inclusive, opening up global talent pools including those living in refugee circumstances. On the downside, teams could face a challenge with identity fraud if they don’t have safeguards in place. 

“Employment fraud was ranked the second riskiest scam in Canada in 2022, resulting in a loss of $7 million, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. And with advances in AI technologies, I think it’s likely to get even more sophisticated,” said Kathyrin Tremblay, CEO and Co-Founder of Altis Recruitment & Technology.

As organizations increasingly embrace remote hiring, some have grappled with instances where the individual who shows up for the job differs from the one who interviewed. To better understand this issue, we welcomed two expert speakers at our recent Tech Talent Welcome Council meeting, Jehan Jamaluddin, Talent Acquisition Specialist at Giatec, and Susy Martins, Founder & CEO of Advise2Rise.

Jehan shared three eye-opening examples of new-hire identity fraud. Two of them were a method called “Bait and Switch”. In these instances, candidates who were different from the individuals interviewed would show up for work, leaving the organization in a compromised situation. A third case involved fraudulent employment information. 

In response to these incidents, Giatec took proactive measures to enhance their recruitment process, including:

  • Transitioned from phone interviews to video interviews, which provide a more reliable means of verifying a candidate’s identity.
  • Enhanced background screening, including criminal, employment, and educational verification.
  • Conducted independent research on candidates via platforms like LinkedIn and GitHub.
  • Actively watched for red flags, such as resistance to background screening, typos in official documents, or refusal to participate in video interviews.

Susy, the CEO of Advise2Rise, initially perceived new-hire identity fraud as a cybercrime issue. However, she soon realized that this was a more widespread problem that extended beyond the tech industry. When she reached out to her professional network, she discovered that others had encountered similar challenges.

Susy emphasized the importance of video interviews and having a photo on file to compare appearances. She encouraged consulting experts in the field of identity verification and fraud prevention and highlighted that this issue affects not only large corporations but also small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which may lack the resources to detect patterns in fraudulent hiring. Another strategy is working with trusted recruitment partners like TalentLift that build in safeguards to virtual recruitment.

TalentLift has a unique mission to support talented folks living in refugee circumstances globally. We have a few closer degrees of connection to candidates through our employment-readiness services, and often through local partners who work closely with candidates including the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). In addition, TalentLift has an identity verification mechanism available to interviewers on our employer portal. It enables interviewers to compare visuals of their video interview with photo ID for additional security. 

Both speakers emphasized the importance of reporting incidents: If you encounter new-hire identity fraud, you can report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Also, you can see what’s trending in the background check industry from the ISB website.

We would like to thank Jehan and Susy and the whole Tech Talent Welcome Council community for their contributions to this important topic. If you’re interested in being part of this community of peers who are piloting and embedding recruitment from within refugee populations in their talent strategy, please follow our Tech Talent Welcome Council page on LinkedIn. 

Candidates living in refugee circumstances and seeking a job in Canada can join TalentLift. Employers seeking global talent while engaging their team in something transformative can start hiring.

Ways to support civilians affected by conflict in Israel and Palestine

We are united with people worldwide who are horrified by the death and injury inflicted on Israeli and Palestinian civilians. Too many families are grieving and forever changed. Too many families face a deepening humanitarian emergency.

In the last week, thousands have been killed and an estimated 1 million Palestinians have been displaced. As the conflict continues, the need for humanitarian support has become urgent.

If you have the resources to donate to humanitarian aid efforts, here are a few options to consider: 

Please research the organization and campaign that seems right to you before giving.

Candidates living in refugee circumstances and seeking a job in Canada can join TalentLift. Employers seeking global talent while engaging their team in something transformative can start hiring.

Ways to support people affected by earthquakes in Afghanistan

Several earthquakes hit northwestern Afghanistan on Saturday. More than 3,000 people have lost their lives and emergency rescue efforts continue.

The earthquakes and several aftershocks happened in mainly rural areas around the city of Herat, with the heaviest impacts in many villages that are difficult to reach.

Rescue efforts are further complicated by unstable relations between the Taliban government in Afghanistan and much of the international community. Since the Taliban took power in August 2021, there have been significant cuts in aid funds and a deterioration in healthcare services. There is limited equipment and expertise needed for rescue and recovery.

Many of the candidates we support, our team members and our partners have loved ones in Afghanistan. We’re thinking of them and all the people in Afghanistan affected by the disaster.

If you have the resources to donate to rescue and recovery efforts, here are a few options to consider: 

  • Islamic Relief Canada is operating in Herat providing health assistance and assessing other urgent needs. 
  • Farhad Darya (an Afghan singer, composer, music producer, and philanthropist) alongside Aryana Sayeed (an Afghan pop singer and songwriter) organized a GoFundMe campaign with donations channelled to 8AM Media, a non-profit arm of Hasht-e Subh Daily Newspaper, which will work in collaboration with other non-profits to disburse funds locally in and around Herat.
  • The World Food Programme has already prepared food parcels for 20,000 people and is preparing to reach up to 70,000 earthquake-affected people with food or cash.
  • The International Rescue Committee is coordinating with NGOs to provide immediate aid and medical care.

Please research the organization and campaign that seems right to you before giving.

Candidates living in refugee circumstances and seeking a job in Canada can join TalentLift. Employers seeking global talent while engaging their team in something transformative can start hiring.

From displacement to citizenship: First EMPP candidate is now a Canadian

Mohammed is a software developer and the first candidate who arrived under Canada’s EMPP. He became a Canadian citizen in July 2023.

As he waited for the Zoom meeting to start, Mohammed wasn’t sure how a virtual ceremony would feel. He had scheduled an online ceremony to more quickly complete this last step of his Canadian citizenship, eager to get a Canadian passport to travel again to see family. As he listened to the ceremony and saw the video panels of dozens of fellow newcomers, he felt deeply moved and part of a bigger whole, in his own living room. His wife, already a Canadian, stood just off camera capturing everything.

Mohammed is a talented software developer living and working in Ontario. He arrived in Canada just over four years ago.

After fleeing the war in Syria, he found himself living in displacement in Lebanon for several years. Despite the challenges he faced, Mohammed’s passion for technology and coding never wavered. His story took a remarkable turn when he became the first candidate to relocate under the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP), a groundbreaking initiative that began as a proof of concept collaboration between the Canadian government and select NGOs to test the possibility for people living as refugees to immigrate as skilled workers. Mohammed is the program’s first success story.

After receiving a job offer with a tech firm in Kitchener, Ontario, Mohammed arrived in Canada in 2019, bringing his skills and determination to a new home. He moved from junior to senior roles, to become a key member of his team. He met his wife and began a family. Through the EMPP, remarkable people like Mohammed can arrive in Canada to continue their lives and careers with a clear pathway to citizenship.

Mohammed has been a champion for many others to follow under the EMPP. He has shared his story to inspire other hiring teams across Canada, and leant his guidance and friendship to excited but nervous families arriving behind him. His leadership continues – allowing us to celebrate this milestone as we outline the journey ahead for others!

The following is an overview of the different status options available to talented people who arrive on skilled visas to Canada and the steps towards citizenship.

Temporary vs permanent residence

A temporary resident is a foreign national who is legally authorized to enter and remain in Canada for purposes including work. Many skilled workers move to Canada first with temporary residence status using a work permit before submitting an application for permanent residence.

Employer-specific work permits allow a foreign national to only work for the employer, position, and location as indicated on the work permit. An employer who supports a work permit is under no obligation to continue to employ the foreign national throughout the duration of their work permit. An open work permit, on the other hand, is more flexible and allows the foreign worker to work for any Canadian employer without the need for a specific job offer.

Read more about temporary residence status in Canada here.

A permanent resident is someone who has been given permanent residence status by immigrating to Canada, but is not yet a Canadian citizen.

Permanent residents have the right to: 

  • Get most social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, including health care coverage
  • Live, work or study anywhere in Canada
  • Apply for Canadian citizenship
  • Leave and re-enter Canada

To keep permanent residence status, individuals must have been in Canada for at least 730 days during the last five years. These 730 days do not need to be continuous.

Read more about permanent residence status in Canada here.

When is a temporary residence (work permit) pathway used instead of a permanent residence pathway?

Canada has temporary residence (work permit) and permanent residence skilled visa pathways. The EMPP flexibilities only apply to certain permanent residence pathways. However, TalentLift supports candidates to apply for work permits in situations where it is the preferred or only visa pathway available, where no EMPP flexibilities are required, and where candidates have a pathway to permanent residence available to them either in parallel to the work permit application or after arrival in Canada.

Work permits are used by the majority of skilled workers entering Canada because they can be faster, are more affordable, are more available, and can be a mandatory first step for permanent residence pathways that require in-Canada work experience. If TalentLift supports a candidate and their family to relocate with temporary residence, we first provide them with detailed information about temporary residence in Canada and a transition plan to permanent residence prepared by our legal counsel. This allows the candidate and their family to make an informed decision before deciding whether or not to proceed.

How do permanent residents become Canadian citizens?

To become a Canadian citizen, most applicants must:

  • Be a permanent resident
  • Have lived in Canada for at least 3 out of the last 5 years (1,095 days)
  • Have filed their taxes, if they need to
  • Pass a citizenship test
  • Prove their language skills in English or French

This means that those who continue to reside in Canada after arrival, and who meet all the criteria, can typically apply after three years. There is a fee to apply and the processing time varies and is generally between 12-18 months.

Canadian citizens have the right to: 

  • Apply for a passport
  • Vote in an election

There are other neat perks too. All citizens get one year of free admission to Canada’s natural parks and cultural centres. Check out the Canoo app.

Read more about applying for Canadian citizenship here.

Canada keeps getting better

Mohammed was instrumental in confirming that people living in refugee circumstances can successfully apply to Canada’s skilled immigration pathways and respond to skills shortages if displacement-related barriers that have nothing to do with talent and potential are removed. His case is part of the foundation of a much more accessible, seamless skilled visa system for displaced talent and the teams that hire them.

Companies like the one that welcomed Mohammed are recognizing the immense talent within refugee populations and catalyzing transformative change in the lives of individuals and their families by providing a secure future and a route to citizenship.

Mohammed, this country is lucky to have you!

Mohammed is a Senior Software Engineer at Epoch and the first candidate to arrive under the EMPP. He spent 3+ years with the incredible Bonfire team before shifting to a new role. Prior to relocating to Canada, Mohammed was living in Lebanon as a refugee from Syria and working as a software developer. He is a member of Volunteers Without Borders, and a Media Management Volunteer with Beirut Marathon Association. Mohammed holds a Bachelor’s of Engineering, Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications from Al-Baath University, and a Bachelor’s of Applied Science, Information Technology from Lebanese International University. He serves as TalentLift’s Talent Advisor.

Candidates living in refugee circumstances and seeking a job in Canada can join TalentLift. Employers seeking global talent while engaging their team in something transformative can start hiring.