This paper reviews Canada's use of a skills-based determinant system for economic immigration, focusing on admission for the 'best and brightest' candidates. The human capital model has led to disproportionate access to permanent residency pathways for temporary foreign workers classified as low skill, who are often filling critical labour market gaps in essential and in demand sectors of Canada's economy. Through an evidence-based policy analysis, including a jurisdictional scan and expert interviews, three policy options were explored in challenging the human capital model and effectively providing permanent residency opportunities in Canada for temporary foreign workers in low wage positions. Recommendations include the implementation of sector-specific pathways for 'low-skill' temporary foreign workers in critical industries, greater support services and an overhaul of the points-based system to focus on competencies for labour-market driven immigrant selection, balancing abilities and labour market needs with equity and long term societal and economic goals.
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Thesis advisor: Zhu, Yushu
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