, leading immigration lawyer Naumaan Hameed called for a thoroughly considered rethink of the current Express Entry system – claiming the scheme could better serve desperate employers if it underwent a careful redesign – now, he’s explained exactly what needs to change.
“Potential improvements to the Express Entry system are two-fold,” says Hameed, a partner and certified immigration law specialist KPMG Law LLP.
“First, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is currently considering new ways to recalibrate the CRS points system in order to more fairly reward a candidate’s attributes and qualifications.”
The current system has attracted criticism over the “disproportionately high” number of points foreign nationals are awarded for a qualifying offer of arranged employment, which effectively skews the selection consideration of the candidates’ human capital points.
According to Toronto-based Hameed, a recalibration of the points allocation will ensure the human capital factors are more meaningful in the selection process – so a job offer alone will not disproportionally give a candidate greater advantage over another.
“These changes, if implemented, would have the effect of changing the distribution of occupations among the selected economic immigrants,” he told HRM. “The original and ultimate goal is to identify the most appropriate composition of skills and occupations for the continued economic growth of Canada.”
Secondly, and arguably more importantly, Hameed says Express Entry should be dragged into the present day by utilizing big data.
“The corporate world has long relied on big data to promote faster, more informed, and efficient decision-making,” he said. “The same technology-driven analytical approach should be taken by the government to leverage the data collected in the Express Entry system. Express Entry is essentially a system that takes in data with the intent of achieving pre-determined economic outcomes, but a valuable opportunity is being missed.”
Hameed – who has been with KPMG for close to four years – says data analytics would be a powerful diagnostic tool to assess the program’s outcomes and test if it is meeting Canada’s economic needs.
“Data could be analyzed to identify the specific occupations of selected candidates to assess whether the key sectors facing critical skill shortages are receiving a sufficient number of prospective immigrants through Express Entry,” he suggested.
“Data could also be analyzed for other beneficial purposes, such as determining the gender breakdown of applicants selected in Express Entry across occupations,” adds Hameed, who suggests the system could be used to address concerns of underrepresentation in certain industries.
“Given the wealth of data available in the Express Entry system, the government should be able to develop a much more effective and nuanced approach to selecting economic immigrants,” he told HRM.
Hameed also says big data could be used to accurately identify anyone with skills sets that are most desperately in demand by Canadian employers.
“The available data should be used in a smarter way to choose the best prospective immigrants with skills most urgently required in the labour market, instead of simply looking at generic criteria such as age, language skills, education and offers of arranged employment,” he told HRM.
“It would be reasonable to expect that candidates who have highly sought after skills deserve ‘bonus’ points as they would directly contribute to a specific economic need.”
Hameed also suggests the government establish an expert team which can predict and understand Canada’s future economic needs.
“Data analytics and leveraging advice from industry experts are the key to optimize the full potential of the Express Entry system,” he stressed.
“It may be advisable to establish an Express Entry Advisory Team, consisting of leading industry and business experts, who truly understand and have the vision to anticipate the future needs of the Canadian economy. They would be tasked with identifying the profiles of the most desirable candidates who will best address such needs.”
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