Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot


Canada is a pioneer in the development and use of complementary immigration pathways for refugees, offering solutions outside of traditional humanitarian resettlement. While refugees may be fleeing conflict, many of them possess skills and experience that are of great benefit to Canada’s labour market.

Canada has a 3.2% annual labour shortage and 500,000 vacant jobs every year. As a result, employers can struggle to find talent, especially in certain regions of Canada where the skilled labour gap is even larger.

Launched in April 2018, the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP) helps Canadian employers find skilled refugees to meet their labour needs, while providing safe and durable solutions for refugees in need of protection in Canada. Complementary pathways like the EMPP provide additional ways for refugees, who have skills that Canadian employers need, to find a home in Canada while contributing to our country’s economic growth.

This innovative pilot facilitates access to Canada’s existing economic pathways for qualified refugee candidates. It does this by removing unique barriers that refugees face, due to their displacement, when applying to economic immigration programs. Providing skilled refugees with access to existing economic immigration programs helps employers build stronger, more diverse workforces while granting refugees protection and a pathway to permanent residence in their new country.

Some of the facilitation measures under the EMPP include

  • processing 80% of cases within a standard of 6 months through a dedicated team
  • allowing alternative proof of work experience and other required documents 
  • waiving permanent residence application fees and biometrics fees
  • allowing the use of grants and loans to meet the requirement of demonstrating settlement funds
  • covering pre-departure medical services and the immigration medical exam through the Interim Federal Health Program
  • providing access to the Immigration Loans Program to help with travel costs, start-up costs and the right of permanent residence fee

Successful EMPP applicants will arrive in Canada with a pathway to permanent residence through an economic immigration program. They will be eligible for the settlement and integration services that are offered to all economic immigrants.

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