Canada’s groundbreaking pilot supporting talented people living as refugees to apply to economic immigration streams has an important set of new rules. Phase one of the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP), launched in 2018, successfully demonstrated that displaced talent can more equitably apply if administrative or financial barriers are removed, enabling them to make significant contributions to the national economy and the communities where they and their families arrive to put down roots.
Last week, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship released details for phase two of the EMPP in a public policy. Although applications will not be accepted under the EMPP until late fall 2021, we are excited to share what has been revealed so far about the next stage of the pilot and our recommendations for further development.
EMPP phase two overview:
- Exclusive to applicants in provincial nominee programs, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP).
- Includes various ways an IRCC officer may determine whether the applicant is in refugee circumstances.
- Applicable to only those residing outside of Canada at the time of application for permanent residence.
- Permanent residence and biometrics fees are waived for principal applicants and accompanying family members.
- If the applicant has a job offer, the requirement to show funds “unencumbered by debts or other obligations” is exempted. This change allows for the use of alternative proof of settlement funds such as loans, donations or grants.
- Extension of the recent work experience period requirement under AIP and RNIP. Instead of acquiring one year of full-time work experience in the last three years, the applicant can demonstrate work experience obtained any time in the past.
- Valid passport not required. This means applicants with expired or no passports can use alternative proof of identity and alternative travel documents.
- Accompanying family members are limited to spouses, common-law partners and dependent children. This is the same rule applied to all applicants to economic immigration programs.
- Applicants are subject to all other admissibility and eligibility requirements.
- There is a cap of 500 applications that will be implemented as follows:
- 150 applications accepted until June 30, 2022
- 350 applications accepted starting on July 1, 2022
The new rules provide important clarification and some new flexibility such as removing work experience recency – a requirement that many displaced applicants can’t meet if they’ve been unable to legally work in their field in a host country. However, there are limits to scope and scale that don’t necessarily align with the fundamental goal of equitable access for displaced talent to the full breadth of the economic program.
Here are our recommendations for deeper equity and the growth of this important mobility option:
- Extend access to work permits which would ensure that temporary pathways and the many permanent residence pathways that require in-Canada work experience are accessible to displaced talent.
- Extend application to all economic immigration pathways to preserve maximal opportunities and equity of access. This includes extending the exemption from work experience recency and the flexibility on settlement funds across any pathway.
- Accept referrals from trusted partner organizations to determine eligibility of applicants as refugees and other displaced people in need of international protection. This method reduces bureaucracy and delays.
- Waive the requirement for education credential assessments or accept alternatives such as the WES Gateway Program assessment. Displaced applicants may be unable to obtain the appropriate documentation from institutions in their home country without putting themselves or their families at risk.
- Remove the 500 limitation and the expiry of the public policy to allow for further scale.
- Extend eligibility to those who are both inside and outside Canada at the time of a permanent residence application to maintain speed and flexibility towards permanence for those who are able to arrive first on work permits.
We are excited to support Canadian employers and the talented candidates they hire under this next phase of 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.
Ways to get involved: