Public policy to support the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP) – Phase 2

We aren’t currently accepting applications under the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot.
We’ll begin accepting applications in late fall 2021.

Rationale:

As a signatory to the Global Compact for Refugees, Canada has committed to exploring new ways for skilled refugees to settle in a safe third country. Moreover, Canada is experiencing labour shortages at a national rateFootnote 1 of 3.2% or roughly half a million jobs annually. This is only expected to grow as the Canadian population ages over the next 10 years. Canada is committed to attracting talent from around the world to fill labour shortages and drive economic growth, for the benefit of all Canadians.

The EMPP is Canada’s complementary pathways model for refugee labour mobility. It started as a small research project in 2018 to see whether there were refugees with the skills and qualifications to access existing economic immigration pathways, with some administrative facilitation measures to offset the circumstances of their displacement.

The EMPP is focused on pathways via regional economic immigration programs – such as the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) and, more recently, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) – where a local delivery partner (i.e. a province, territory, community-based economic development organization, or employer), together with settlement service provider organizations, helps ensure the successful settlement and integration of the newcomers and their families.

The goal of the EMPP is to provide durable solutions for refugees with the skills and qualifications that Canadian employers need. In this way, Canada is helping to evolve the narrative that refugees are not a burden, but with protection and safety, their skills, abilities and attributes that contribute to their new communities. This effort still acknowledges the protection needs and facilitation needed for refugees and displaced people outside of their country or countries of nationality or habitual residence.

Following the conclusion of Phase I, in June of 2020, I announced Canada’s ongoing commitment to refugee labour mobility with a goal of admitting up to 500 refugees and their family members through existing economic immigration pathways. This second phase of the EMPP, which will be implemented in two stages, builds on lessons learned from Phase I, and continues to explore a scalable and sustainable model for refugee labour mobility to Canada.

With this public policy, I am introducing facilitation measures that will remove major displacement-related barriers and make it easier for skilled refugees to access economic immigration on par with non-refugee candidates.

This public policy exempts EMPP clients overseas from some applicable requirements of the PNP, the AIP and the RNIP economic immigration pathways, the latter two created by Ministerial Instructions pursuant to section 14.1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), as well as some other applicable requirements of the IRPA and its Regulations.

All EMPP candidates will have to meet the class membership and selection criteria of one of the above-mentioned existing economic classes and be able to satisfy a processing officer that they can economically establish in Canada. EMPP clients will immigrate to Canada under one of the existing permanent residence economic classes. EMPP clients will also be eligible for settlement and integration services, including pre-arrival orientation and referral to in-Canada settlement services and supports.

As the first State co-chair of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) Global Task Force on Refugee Labour Mobility, Canada will share the EMPP experience and lessons learned with other countries and will help to amplify refugee labour mobility around the world.

Therefore, I hereby establish that there are sufficient public policy considerations that justify the granting, in accordance with section 25.2 of the IRPA, of exemptions from the requirements of the IRPA, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), as well as the Ministerial Instructions (MIs) for the AIP and the RNIP pursuant to section 14.1 listed below to refugees who meet the conditions set out below.

Public Policy Considerations:

This public policy aims to address challenges faced overseas by refugees due to the circumstances of their displacement when applying for economic immigration pathways to Canada on the basis of their skills and qualifications.

Whereas refugees are welcome to apply for immigration to Canada under existing economic programs at any time, I recognize that refugees often face challenges due to conditions created by their displacement. Consequently, this public policy aims to eliminate some of these challenges by offering targeted administrative facilitation measures that will be made available to eligible EMPP clients specifically.

Eligibility Requirements (Conditions) Applicable to the Foreign National (Principal Applicant):

Permanent Residence Application

Based on public policy considerations, delegated officers may grant an exemption from the requirements of the IRPA, IRPR and the MIs identified below if:

The foreign national (principal applicant):

  1. Applied for a permanent residence visa under section 70 of the IRPR
    1. as a member of the PNP class described in section 87 of IRPR;
    2. as a member of the economic class referred to in subsection 12(2) of the IRPA and described under
      1. the Ministerial Instructions Respecting the Atlantic Canada Highly Skilled Worker Class,
      2. the Ministerial Instructions Respecting the Atlantic Canada Intermediate Skilled Worker Class; or
      3. the Ministerial Instructions with respect to the Rural and Northern Immigration Community Immigration Class (i.e. RNIP);
  2. Must be assessed by an IRCC Officer to:
    1. have a valid, positive Refugee Status Determination (RSD) from either the UNHCR, or a refugee-hosting state; or
    2. be a registered or recorded asylum seeker abroad, if the RSD has not been obtained yet; or
    3. have a “person of concern letter” issued by the UNHCR for the purposes of EMPP;

      And

      1. be a convention refugee outside of Canada as defined in section 96 of the IRPA; or
      2. meet the Country of Asylum definition set out in section 147 of the IRPR; and
  3. As set out in paragraph139 (d) of the IRPR, is a person in respect of whom there is no reasonable prospect, within a reasonable period, of a durable solution in a country other than Canada, namely: (i) voluntary repatriation or resettlement in their country of nationality or habitual residence, or (ii) resettlement or an offer of resettlement in another country;
  4. Resides outside of Canada at the time of application for permanent residence under one of the economic pathways listed in (a).

Applicable requirements of the provisions of the IRPA, the IRPR and the MIs pursuant to section 14.1 of the IRPA, from which exemptions may be granted to the principal applicant:

For foreign national (principal applicants) who meet the eligibility requirements (conditions) listed above:

  1. Paragraph 10(1)(d) of the IRPR – the requirement to provide evidence of payment of the applicable fees with respect to the permanent residence visa application;
  2. Paragraph 295(1)(c) of the IRPR- the permanent residence visa application processing fee;
  3. Subsection 315.1(1) of the IRPR- the fee for the provision of services in relation to the collection of biometric information.
  4. In circumstances where there is a job offer, the respective requirements of the MIs relating to the settlement funds, and specifically that these funds be “…unencumbered by debts or other obligations…” as required by paragraph 2(2)(f) of the Ministerial Instructions Respecting the Atlantic Canada Highly Skilled Worker Class, paragraph 2(2)(f) of the Ministerial Instructions Respecting the Atlantic Canada Intermediate Skilled Worker Class, and section 9 of the Ministerial Instructions with respect to the Rural and Northern Immigration Community Immigration Class.
  5. The respective requirements of the MIs as it pertains to the three-year window within which the applicants must acquire one year full-time work experience or the equivalent in part-time work (the three-year window being three years preceding the day on which the applicants made their application for permanent residence), and specifically as required by subsection 3(1) of the Ministerial Instructions with respect to the Rural and Northern Immigration Community Immigration Class and paragraphs 2(2)(c) of both of the above-mentioned AIP MIs. The principal applicant may meet this requirement through work experience obtained at any time in the past.
  6. The requirement of paragraph 20(1)(a) and subsection 21(1) of the IRPA, as well as subsection 50(1) of the IRPR that a foreign national seeking to become a permanent resident must hold one of the documents identified under subsection 50(1) of the IRPR.

Eligibility Requirements (Conditions) Applicable to Family Members (for the permanent residence application):

Based on public policy considerations, when processing an application for a permanent resident visa, delegated officers may grant an exemption from the requirements of the Regulations identified below when a foreign national meets the following conditions:

  1. is residing outside Canada and has been included as an accompanying family member in an application for permanent residence by a principal applicant described under the eligibility requirements (conditions) a-d of this public policy;
  2. meets the definition of family member in subsection 1(3) of the IRPR;
  3. is not inadmissible pursuant to the IRPA or IRPR; and,
  4. a delegated officer has determined that the principal applicant meets all eligibility requirements (conditions) a-d of this public policy.

Applicable requirements of the provisions of the IRPA and the IRPR from which exemptions may be granted to the family members of the eligible principal applicant:

  1. Paragraph 10(1)(d) of the IRPR – the requirement to provide evidence of payment of the applicable fees with respect to the permanent residence visa application;
  2. Paragraph 295(1)(c) of IRPR- the permanent resident visa application processing fee;
  3. Subsection 315.1(1) of IRPR- the fee for the provision of services in relation to the collection of biometric information;
  4. The requirement of paragraph 20(1)(a) and subsection 21(1) of the IRPA, as well as subsection 50(1) of the IRPR that a foreign nationals seeking to become a permanent resident must hold one of the documents identified under subsection 50(1) of the IRPR.

Other Applicable Admissibility and Selection Criteria:

Foreign nationals eligible under this public policy are subject to all other applicable admissibility and eligibility requirements from which they are not exempted under this public policy or another public policy.

Effective Date and Expiration:

This public policy takes effect on the day on which it is signed.

This public policy is being implemented in two stages:

Therefore, the public policy remains in effect until up to 500 applications from principal applicants have been received, or until the public policy is revoked by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

Any applications from principal applicants received after the application intake cap of up to 500 has been reached will not be processed.

Marco E.L. Mendicino
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Dated at Ottawa, 08-14-2021

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