The Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot: A New Immigration Pilot for Skilled Refugees

The Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot: A New Immigration Pilot for Skilled Refugees

September 20, 2023

On June 25, 2023, the Canadian government introduced the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (“EMPP”), a program designed to help skilled refugees and other displaced people immigrate to Canada through an economic immigration program.

Applicants can apply to the EMPP:

  • Through the Regional EMPP by applying to a regional economic program, such as the Atlantic Immigration Program (“AIP”); or
  • directly to the Federal EMPP

EMPP Requirements

All EMPP applicants must:

  1. Be a refugee or displaced person.

To prove this, an applicant must have one of the following documents:

  • a positive Refugee Status Determination (RSD) from the United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency or a refugee-hosting state;
  • proof they are registered or recorded as a person of concern by the UN Refugee Agency;
  • a refugee certificate from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine in the Near East (UNRWA);
  • proof of being registered or recorded as a person of concern with UNRWA; or
  • proof they have temporary protected status and an assessment by an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) officer that they do not have a durable solution.

Applicants that do not have any of these documents can have a partner organization assess their eligibility as a refugee or displaced person and issue a referral letter.

Please note that you must live outside of Canada when applying to the EMPP.

  1. Meet the criteria depending on how the applicant will apply.

Federal EMPP: There are two streams that an applicant may apply to under the Federal EMPP.

  • The Job Offer Stream

To qualify for this stream, an applicant must have a full-time job offer (at least 30 hours of work over a period of one week), non-seasonal, from a Canadian employer, for a job listed in Training, Education, Experience and Responsibility (“TEER”) Categories 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5.

An applicant must have proof of at least 1 year of full-time, paid work experience (1,560 hours) or an equal amount of part-time work.  The education and work experience requirements will depend on the job offer’s TEER level.  This work experience could be over any period and can include self-employment.

Applicants must prove their official language skills using an approved language test from 1 of the 2 acceptable English language tests (IELTS or CELPIP) or French language tests (TEF or TCF Canada) taken in the last 2 years showing Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 5 or higher for a TEER 0, 1, 2 or 3 job, and CLB Level 4 or higher for a TEER 4 or 5 job.

  • The No Job Offer Stream

For this stream, an applicant must have proof of work experience that equals at least 1 year (1,560 hours) of full-time, paid work experience or an equal amount of part-time work gained over the last 3 years before applying in TEER 0, 1, 2 or 3.  This work experience cannot include self-employment.

Regarding education, applicants must have a Canadian secondary school credential or a foreign degree, diploma or certificate with an Educational Credential Assessment (“ECA”) issued no more than 5 years before applying under the EMPP.

Applicants must prove their official language skills using one of the language tests outlined above for job offer stream applicants; however, applicants in the No Job Offer Stream must receive a minimum score of at least CLB/NCLC 7 in each of the 4 language abilities.

Finally, applicants must prove they have enough money to support their family in Canada.  This amount will depend on the applicant’s family size.  The settlement funds can include grants, gifts, community donations and household income that the applicant, their spouse or any dependants earn.

Regional EMPP: Applicants must be eligible for one of the AIP, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), or the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) to apply through the Regional EMPP.

To qualify for one of these programs, applicants must have English or French skills, education or job training and work experience, and a job offer from a Canadian employer for full-time work.

Applicants can learn more about the requirements for the AIP program in our previous article (“The Atlantic Immigration Program, an Option for Immigrating to Atlantic Canada,” July 6, 2023).

Applicants applying to the AIP through the Regional EMPP do not need to meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Applicants do not need to prove that they worked the hours requested in the timeframes listed. Instead, applicants only must show they worked the same number of hours before applying.
  • Applicants can apply for a loan to meet the settlement funds requirement.
  • Applicants do not need to get an ECA.

Please be aware that the exemptions listed do not apply to the PNP.

  1. Be admissible to Canada.

Applicants must be admissible to Canada.  An applicant is admissible to Canada if they do not have previous national security violations, human or international rights violations, criminal history, extensive medical issues or previous misrepresentations under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

You can find more information about the program at this link: EMPP.

Applicants can apply for the EMPP on their own or with the help of a non-government partner.  For the Federal EMPP, applicants only need to complete 1 application, regardless of the stream.  Applicants applying through the Regional EMPP must complete 2 applications, notably 1 application to the selected regional economic program, and another application for the Regional EMPP.

In summary, the EMPP is an excellent option for skilled refugees to immigrate to Canada through existing economic programs.  It gives Canadian employers access to a new pool of qualified candidates to address labour shortages.

If you are an employer who would like to make a job offer to a foreign national or an applicant who has a job offer from an Atlantic Canadian employer, please don’t hesitate to contact Suzanne Rix or Sarah Gray for assistance with your EMPP Application.

This article was written with the assistance of Elliot Hernandez, a summer student in the Halifax office.

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Cox & Palmer publications are intended to provide information of a general nature only and not legal advice. The information presented is current to the date of publication and may be subject to change following the publication date.