Hiring with Impact: Employers now have a faster route to hire displaced talent to address skills shortages

Dilruba is a talented nurse from Afghanistan who relocated to St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, under the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP)

Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced today that a new federal immigration pathway is coming this summer to support Canadian employers to hire candidates living as refugees.  

The new pathway will be an expansion of Canada’s Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP) and will not replace the current EMPP changes to other existing visa pathways, but will operate as an additional route. 

The goal is a simpler and faster pathway that helps to scale the use of jobs and skilled visas to Canada as a solution to displacement and to help fill gaps in skills shortages across all sectors in Canada. Employers are experiencing severe shortages and collaborative solutions are needed. 

What we know about the new EMPP federal pathway so far is that it will include job offers under any National Occupation Classification (NOC) 2021 category (TEER 0-5) and will be a one-step permanent residence application that IRCC aims to process within six months.

The new pathway is expected to include existing EMPP accommodations, such as:

  • Use of a loan from a trusted microlender to satisfy a settlement funds requirement, if applicable
  • Use of an expired passport or other ID in place of a valid passport 
  • Waiver of the permanent residence processing fee and biometrics fee
  • Applicants will not be required to have a refugee status determination (RSD) and can use a referral letter from trusted partners like TalentLift that have expertise in assessing eligibility. 

More information on the new federal EMPP pathway, including eligibility criteria, will be available in the coming weeks and shared on our website.

TalentLift and our partners have long advocated for simpler and faster visa pathways for displaced applicants. Canada’s existing skilled visa pathways disproportionately exclude displaced applicants for reasons that have nothing to do with skills or potential – they face ongoing barriers through requirements like demonstrating ‘temporary intent’ to be eligible for work permits (the fastest route to Canada), demonstrating Canadian work experience, and providing proof of education through original transcripts. 

This pathway is a big win for displaced talent globally and the hiring teams eager to get involved. We’re grateful to see this advance towards greater equity, and therefore greater scale for this impactful hiring solution. We hope to see IRCC continue advancing changes to other skilled visa pathways that are needed for deeper equity. 

How do hiring teams meet candidates?

Get in touch! Once we know more about your open roles and your team, we’ll shortlist candidates with the skills you need.

Our goal is a seamless recruitment and relocation experience for you and the candidates you hire, through talent search, visa, and relocation services.

 

Quotes:

“This is an innovative program that doesn’t seek to maximize the economic opportunity for refugees by chance but by choice.” – Minister Fraser

“If we develop a program that allows people to do the right thing that also meets an essential need there is no limit on what we can achieve.”- Minister Fraser

“I could put 25,000 people to work today, and that’s only in Ontario.” – Joseph Mancinelli, International VP and Regional Manager for Central and Eastern Canada, LiUNA! who introduced Minister Fraser at today’s announcement

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

Emergency visa to Canada for Ukrainians extended

Canada will continue to welcome Ukrainians displaced by war through the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET), which was set to expire March 31, 2023. 

Canada’s Immigration Minister announced that the program will be extended as follows:

  • Ukrainians and their family members will have until July 15, 2023, to apply overseas for a CUAET visa free of charge;
  • Anyone holding a CUAET visa will have until March 31, 2024, to travel to Canada under the special measures; and
  • CUAET holders who are already here in Canada will have until March 31, 2024, to extend or adjust their temporary status through these measures, free of charge.

How it works

This visa pathway is open to any Ukrainian national. Applicants apply online for a visitor visa and have the option to apply for an open work permit which will allow them to work for any employer in Canada. CUAET applicants have the following fees waived: Visa application fee, biometric collection fee, and work permit application fee, among others. The visa allows you to travel in and out of Canada and will be processed on a priority basis. Canada will aim to process complete applications in 14 days. 

How TalentLift can support you

TalentLift invites Ukrainians interested in pursuing work and relocation to Canada to register with us. If a job opportunity matches your skills, TalentLift will contact you to collect further information or to develop your CV and support your interview with an employer. If you receive a job offer, and are displaced by the war, our team will work with you and your family at no cost to apply for this visa and to pursue employment in parallel. We will prepare a transition plan to permanent residence to ensure you have a secure future in Canada. 

We will support you and your family each step of the way to relocate and begin to rebuild.

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.

Ways to support people affected by earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria

A major earthquake hit Türkiye close to the border with Syria during the morning of February 6 and severely impacted cities across both countries. Thousands of people have died and this terrible toll is likely to rise as recovery efforts continue. 

Some of the larger cities impacted are Diyarbakir, Gaziantep and Iskenderun in Türkiye, and Aleppo and Hama in Syria.

Members of our talent community and TalentLift team have loved ones in these areas experiencing loss or damage. We know many of our wider community do too. Our thoughts are with you. 

For anyone in a position to give, these are a few good options to receive your help: 

  • Molham is providing emergency aid in Syria and to displaced Syrians in Türkiye.
  • International Medical Corps is providing medical and mental health services and emergency supplies in Türkiye and Syria. 
  • Islamic Relief Canada is providing cash assistance, food, shelter, and other emergency supplies in Türkiye and Syria.
  • The White Helmets is searching for survivors in Syria. 

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.

Scotiabank invests $950,000 in TalentLift’s mission to support displaced talent worldwide

Mohamad and his family arrive from displacement, greeted by the President of Alliance Store Fixtures, a manufacturer in Woodbridge.

A carpenter and his family arrived in Toronto to begin work with a furniture designer and manufacturer last week. They are from Syria and leave years spent living as refugees in Lebanon. This week, an archaeologist displaced from Afghanistan arrived for a research role, one she begins with a top university in Canada. A software developer is on his way to Vancouver next week, also from a refugee situation.

All have skills needed by teams in Canada, and all are able to use their talent to leave displacement and advance their careers in new home communities. 

These life-changing relocations are possible when people living as refugees have a fair shot at opportunity. And these opportunities are set to grow.

Scotiabank will invest $950,000 over three years in support of scaling the TalentLift talent platform to connect displaced job seekers with employers in Canada.

With earlier transformational funding from Scotiabank’s ScotiaRISE initiative, TalentLift launched a talent platform database that enables job seekers in refugee circumstances worldwide to connect with Canadian employers seeking to recruit and relocate talent, as a skills-based solution to their displacement. 

We’re tackling a long-standing, damaging hourglass problem: There are many thousands of talented people in refugee circumstances and many in-demand roles employers would be glad to fill with this talent, but very limited infrastructure has existed to match candidates to opportunities. Our talent platform is critical infrastructure to help connect Canadian employers facing skills shortages with the immense talent and potential within refugee populations. 

Already, people in refugee circumstances living in more than 100 countries have registered their skills on the talent platform. In our start-up year, 31 people secured jobs with the support of TalentLift and our partners. When including spouses and children, this totals 83 people who relocated or were in the process of relocating from refugee circumstances to secure lives in Canada. They arrive for skills-appropriate work with an average salary of $57,000 (and as high as $110,000), with access to public health, schools for their kids, and a pathway to permanent residence and citizenship. 

We are eager to grow our impact quickly from here. 

A grim milestone passed in the last year with more than 100 million people living displaced globally in countries with few options to achieve livelihoods or security. And yet, we know that many thousands of refugees globally have the skills to immediately contribute in new communities across Canada if given the opportunity.

We can’t wait to scale these opportunities – and see the impact these stars have in their new teams and communities. 

Read more about ScotiaRISE, Scotiabank’s 10-year, $500 million initiative to promote economic resilience among disadvantaged groups, and about the bank’s commitment to diversity and inclusion

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.

Skilled visas get more seamless for displaced talent with IRCC’s trusted partner approach

There can be a lot of steps in a skilled visa application, and we’re very happy to announce one less step for our candidates. 

Talented people living in displacement globally qualify for jobs and skilled visas to Canada the same way as others do – but they can also access certain accommodations to overcome displacement-related barriers under the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP). These accommodations include use of an expired passport and use of a charitable loan for settlement funds.

A change announced today by IRCC relates to how folks qualify for these EMPP accommodations. 

Before, applicants with job offers in Canada needed to hold a refugee status determination (RSD) or other form of official registration with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) or its partners, or with a state government. Not everyone can access these options. Obtaining an RSD or an official registration can be a long or impossible process in some countries. Candidates living in refugee circumstances from Lebanon to Pakistan to Kenya have encountered this barrier.

Now, applicants can still apply with either of these options or with the new option of a referral letter from a trusted partner, including TalentLift and a handful of other NGOs. Trusted partners issue referral letters to candidates they’re supporting who have job offers in Canada and who meet Canada’s legal definition of a refugee. No RSD or registration is needed. 

This is great news for talented folks who are in displacement but who may not have access to a timely (or any) RSD or other type of official registration. This is also a win for seamless recruitment from within refugee populations globally. We’re grateful to see this advance towards greater flexibility, and therefore greater scale for this impactful hiring solution.

Read more in an IRCC press release in English or French

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.

Ontario gains a CNC Machinist from refugee circumstances in Libya

“It gave me an opportunity that I’d never dreamed of,” Mulham said, about the job that brought him to Canada a few months ago. 

Mulham is a talented carpenter from Syria who’s working as a CNC Machinist with a high-end furniture manufacturer in Ontario. He’s two months into his job and already performing as a core part of the creative team, relieving some pressure for a business and sector with an extreme shortage in skilled tradespeople. 

Mulham was living as a refugee in Libya when he got the Canadian job offer with the support of TalentLift. He told his story to our colleagues at the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) who helped at key points during the visa process – a critical support because Canada doesn’t have an embassy presence in Libya.

In a video story before he left, Mulham talks about what he’s looking forward to: Working in his field, being able to send his children to school, and the peace of a secure present and future. 

“I will have stability in Canada,” he said. 

Teams across Canada can have this remarkable impact of providing a secure future while gaining a critical skill set. TalentLift partners with UNHCR and NGOs globally to reach talented job-seekers in displacement like Mulham. Your next great hire might be one of them. 

Start hiring: https://www.talentlift.ca/engage/start-hiring/ 

Read more about Mulham’s story: https://www.talentlift.ca/scotiarise-invests-400000-in-talentlift-to-help-job-seekers-in-refugee-circumstances-find-work-and-settle-in-canada/ 

Start meeting job-seekers in refugee circumstances globally

Dilruba, a Nurse pictured above, arrived in St. John’s a few weeks ago. She joined the team at a long-term care facility in a region facing an acute shortage of healthcare professionals. Dilruba is working again in her field, which has been her dream since she left Afghanistan for her safety and sought refuge in India. She said her first day at work was “absolutely amazing.” 

Teams across Canada are supporting talented job-seekers like Dilruba to relocate alongside their families and rebuild their careers.

Companies recruiting with TalentLift have hired Software Developers, Bakers, Carpenters, Personal Care Attendants, Cooks, Long-Haul Truck Drivers, Sales Managers, and Engineers, among others. For these candidates, a job and relocation opportunity is transformative.

This deeply impactful way to hire can’t grow quickly enough. 

There are more than 100 million people living in refugee or displaced situations around the world, and they’re often living in countries where they don’t have basic rights. One of our candidates, a highly skilled Nurse from Iraq, is working 12-hour days in a plastics factory in his current host country where he has temporary status and can’t even leave his city without government permission. Another, a Fullstack Developer (who just got hired by a firm in Waterloo!) who’s Rohingya and from Myanmar, doesn’t have a single piece of official ID from either his country of birth or temporary host country. 

We work with professionals who can’t open bank accounts, can’t send their kids to school, and can’t lawfully work in their field – though many do, and take the lower pay and other insecurity that comes with it.

And yet, these same people find ways to stay current and grow, by taking courses in their in-between hours, by learning new languages, by volunteering in their communities, and much more. 

Each personal story we hear from our candidates has threads of incredible perseverance, adaptability and ingenuity. 

These are people you want on your team. Start hiring with us and meet them.  

Our funders and partners, including Scotiabank and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), make our mission possible. We are grateful for their partnership. 

The optimism of skills-based mobility greets UNHCR High Commissioner Filippo Grandi in Toronto

Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Barb Mason, Group Head and Chief Human Resources Officer, Scotiabank.
Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Barb Mason, Group Head and Chief Human Resources Officer, Scotiabank.

Durid is a Maintenance Technician and he and his spouse are working in a Southern Ontario community where their skills are in high demand, and where their daughter can go to school. Anas is a Software Engineer on a Waterloo-based team that has grown four times in size during the pandemic. Kinaz will soon relocate to British Columbia to join a healthcare employer providing critical in-home care. All three were displaced from their homes and careers due to conflict before getting jobs and pursuing skilled visas to Canada. 

These are stories that fill you with optimism, said Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, at a meeting in Toronto with Durid, Anas, Kinaz and three pioneering companies – ApplyBoard, Ice River Sustainable Solutions, and Scotiabank – behind a skills-based solution to displacement.

The scale of displacement today is unprecedented since the end of the Second World War. There were more than 26 million people living as refugees globally in 2021, before the fall of Kabul to the Taliban in August and the recent invasion of Ukraine.

Traditional solutions including humanitarian resettlement are essential but inadequate on their own to respond. Additional solutions are needed. Job-backed skilled visa opportunities hold immense promise – including potential to scale. 

Below are highlights from a discussion with High Commissioner Grandi on the promise of this solution. 

A bridge to opportunities

Anas relocated to Canada to join ApplyBoard after the team partnered with TalentLift to find software engineering talent. On his own, when he was living as a refugee in Lebanon, Anas couldn’t get traction in his international job search. It was a challenge getting a foot in the door, and there were other daily problems to face like electricity outages, a plummeting currency, and insecure status in the country. Kinaz faced similar challenges and long working days with little time beyond work and sleep. 

“You don’t have stability in your life that lets you focus on your long-term goals,” Anas said. 

He said the bridge between companies and candidates in displacement needs to widen. Organizations like TalentLift and our partner Talent Beyond Boundaries are part of that important infrastructure.

“I didn’t believe it.” 

When Durid got a call that the manufacturer Ice River Sustainable Solutions wanted to interview him, “I didn’t believe it.” After the interview, when he learned they wanted to hire him, “I still didn’t believe it,” he laughed. As awareness grows among the many thousands of talented people who could use their skills as a pathway out of displacement, more people can start believing it. 

Nearly one million vacancies

There were 915,500 open positions across Canada at the end of 2021. This is the opportunity space for connecting talented candidates in refugee circumstances with the teams and communities that need their skills.

International recruitment is a solution that is not just about workforce needs today but “understanding where the demand is going to be,” said Barb Mason, Group Head and Chief Human Resources Officer, Scotiabank. It’s an investment with enormous payoff for new employees, their families, and the Canadian economy. 

Room to improve: Speed is key

Canada is among a handful of countries pioneering ways to make international recruitment and skilled visas work better for talented people living in refugee circumstances. Equity-based flexibility, like recognizing expired passports and loans instead of savings, is significantly deepening access. But further change is needed to ensure companies can recruit and relocate displaced talent with ease and speed.

The visa timeline remains a challenge, said Jordan Ingster, Senior Legal Advisor with Ice River Sustainable Solutions, which saw demand and operations expand even through the pandemic. The team hired nine trades professionals who were living as refugees and could hire others. 

“We need to make that pathway quick,” said Dan Weber, Senior Director of Innovation and Strategy with ApplyBoard, which recently grew from a team of 400 to 1,600. “We need talent, how can we get it here?”

For that part, TalentLift is here to help. Interested teams can express interest to become part of this impactful hiring solution. 

A discussion with High Commissioner Grandi hosted by Scotiabank in Toronto.
A discussion with High Commissioner Grandi hosted by Scotiabank in Toronto. 

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.

Canada aims high in welcoming more talented candidates and their families from refugee circumstances in latest immigration plan

A family arrives in Canada supported by the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP). 

Canada released its first immigration plan since the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic today. It highlights the country’s priorities for the coming three years, including welcoming more newcomers into in-demand work from refugee circumstances under the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP).

The EMPP was first trialled as a smallscale pilot in 2018 to support people living as refugees to access job and skilled visa opportunities on a more level field with other international applicants, as a critical new mobility option that is additional and complementary to resettlement. The pilot entered a growth phase at the end of 2021 following the federal election and a pledge to see 2,000 people supported by it.

Employers working with TalentLift are eager to recruit from this talent pool – and this plan for growth is a nod to the skills needed across Canada’s economy, and to the aspirations of talented candidates in refugee circumstances globally. 

Here’s a breakdown of the number of permanent residents to be welcomed in 2022: 

  • EMPP pledge during the election: 2,000
  • Target for four pilots, including the EMPP: 10,250
  • Target for all skilled immigration (economic) stream admissions: 241,850
  • Target for all permanent resident admissions: 431,645

TalentLift is glad to see a significant target, and to know that targets are flexible and can be surpassed. There are more than 26 million people living as refugees around the world, many with the skills and talents needed in our communities. If this talent pool accounted for just 1% of newcomers under Canada’s economic stream, that would be 2,418 people moving from displacement to a secure future. 

This vision is within reach. Canada is continuing its leadership to build a more equitable skilled immigration system that works for displaced talent and the teams welcoming them. 


Read more about building an inclusive skilled immigration system and meet a remarkable newcomer, a software engineer, who recently joined the ApplyBoard team and left refugee circumstances behind.

Canada’s EMPP is open to support skilled immigration by displaced talent

Kinaz is a nurse living in displacement supported by TalentLift who will fill a critical role in healthcare in British Columbia.

Canada’s groundbreaking pilot supporting talented people living as refugees to apply to economic immigration streams is now open. As of today, people living in refugee circumstances can submit job-backed permanent residence applications through the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP).

The EMPP extends some flexibility to address administrative and financial requirements that have previously been a barrier to otherwise highly qualified applicants. Skilled immigration is an additional mobility option for those seeking a durable solution outside of traditional humanitarian resettlement. 

Talented candidates in refugee circumstances can now apply through selected economic programs with the following flexibility: 

  • 1 year of work experience accrued anytime (no recency period) under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) or Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) programs;
  • Use of a loan from a trusted microlender to satisfy a settlement funds requirement; 
  • Use of an expired passport or other ID in place of a valid passport; and
  • Waiver of the permanent residence processing fee and biometrics fee. 

These changes apply only to applicants to the provincial nominee programs (PNPs), AIP, and RNIP. 

A skills-based solution to displacement

One candidate whose application will be supported under the pilot is Mulham, hired as a CNC Machinist by a manufacturing firm in Ontario. Mulham and his family are living in refugee circumstances in Libya while they wait for their visas. 

Mulham told us this is a chance “to start a new life, to ensure that my children receive a good education and the right to live in a country that values equality among all people, away from conflicts, insecurity and fear of the future.”

Read more about this family: https://www.talentlift.ca/scotiarise-invests-400000-in-talentlift-to-help-job-seekers-in-refugee-circumstances-find-work-and-settle-in-canada/

Essential improvements for deeper equity

TalentLift has made recommendations for deeper equity and the growth of this important and win-win mobility option to Canada. These recommendations build on our team’s operational knowledge of barriers facing qualified candidates and their prospective employers:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GcjQ6LDnCbsIq4J6LYPEs5VkJYjUk3MkmglzUmBWqOg/edit

TalentLift is excited to support Canadian employers and the talented candidates they hire under  the EMPP. We and our partners across hiring teams, alongside IRCC, provinces and territories, and supporting NGOs, are modelling a scalable, skills-based solution to displacement as a complementary pathway to humanitarian resettlement.