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Canada has a shortage of specialists in clinical and laboratory medicine, providing opportunities for qualified foreign nationals to gain their permanent residence here through occupation-targeted Express Entry system draws.
“The difficult working environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic led to the burnout of many medical professionals. Moreover, the rapid spread of COVID-19 left many healthcare practitioners out sick or in isolation, creating substantial bottlenecks in the health system,” notes the Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) website.
The situation is not expected to be resolved anytime soon with the labour shortage projected to last at least eight more years.
“Over the period 2022 – 2031, the number of job openings arising from expansion demand and replacement demand for specialist physicians are expected to total 29,800, while the number of job seekers arising from school leavers, immigration and mobility is expected to total 24,000,” reports the COPS website.
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“The labour shortage conditions seen in recent years is expected to persist into the 2022 – 2031 period and could even become more acute as the projected number of job openings are substantially higher than the projected number of job seekers over that period.”
The aging of the Canadian population is expected to further drive demand for specialists.
“As the Canadian population ages, the demand for health services is expected to only continue rising. The number of complex health conditions as well as those requiring additional follow-ups is expected to grow, increasing the need for specialist physicians,” notes the COPS website.
“Consequently, the employment growth rate for these workers is projected to be significantly higher than the average of all occupations.”
Although there were already many ways for specialists in clinical and laboratory medicine to immigrate to Canada, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) added one more pathway for them in May.
That month, the IRCC changed Canada’s Express Entry system to allow it to target 82 jobs in healthcare, technology, trades, transport and agriculture starting this summer – including specialists in clinical and laboratory medicine – and so opened the door to a new pathway to immigration for them.
The flagship Express Entry selection system had previously only conducted draws based on immigration programs, not by targeting specific occupations.
“Everywhere I go, I’ve heard loud and clear from employers across the country who are experiencing chronic labour shortages,” said then-Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.
Occupation-Targeted Draws To Help Resolve Labour Shortages
“These changes to the Express Entry system will ensure that they have the skilled workers they need to grow and succeed. We can also grow our economy and help businesses with labour shortages while also increasing the number of French-proficient candidates to help ensure the vitality of French-speaking communities.”
The federal government’s job-hunting and career-planning website, Jobbank, ranks the job prospects of specialists in clinical and laboratory medicine as good in Quebec and Alberta and very good, its highest rating, throughout the rest of the country over the coming three years.
In Canada, the median annual income for these workers, categorized under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 system with the code 31100, is $273,510 but that varies from a low of $100,694 right up to $557,366, reveals Jobbank, the federal government’s job-hunting and career-planning website.
That NOC category includes healthcare professionals with the following occupations:
- anatomical pathologist
- diagnostic radiologist
- emergency physician
- general pathologist
- medical biochemist – physician
- medical microbiologist
- radiation oncologist
Candidates hoping to immigrate through Express Entry occupation-targeted draws need at least six months of continuous work experience in Canada or abroad within the past three years in one of these occupations to be eligible, experience that can have been gained while working in Canada as temporary foreign workers with a work permits or as an international student with a student visa.
Provinces Have Been Conducting Occupation-Targeted Draws For Years
Under the changes announced at the end of May, the Express Entry streams, including the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program, Federal Skilled Trades (FST) program and Canadian Experience Class (CEC), as well as parts of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) are now more responsive to labour market needs.
Canada first signalled its intention to start occupation-specific draws through Express Entry in June last year, when changes were made to the Immigration, Refugee and Protection Act to allow invitations based on occupations and other attributes, such as language ability.
The majority of Canada’s provinces have been issuing occupation-specific invitations for several years.
Under the changes to the act, the immigration minister is required to consult provinces and territories, members of industry, unions, employers, workers, worker advocacy groups, settlement provider organizations, and immigration researchers and practitioners, before announcing new categories.
IRCC must also report to parliament each year on the categories that were chosen and the reason for the choices.
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) says the number of occupations facing shortages doubled between 2019 and 2021. From 2018 to 2022, federal high skilled admissions accounted for between 34 and 40 per cent of overall French-speaking admissions outside Quebec, which manages its own immigration intake.