The thriving demand for optometrists in Canada is projected to persist for an additional nine years, even amid the influx of immigrants into the country. This situation creates a favorable landscape for foreign nationals aiming to secure permanent residency through occupation-targeted Express Entry draws.
The Job Bank, a prominent platform for job search and career planning, predicts a shortage of qualified candidates for approximately 700 optometrist positions. This scarcity is expected to endure from 2022 to 2031, despite the entry of new graduates and immigrants into the field.
The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently announced an innovative approach to address labor market needs. The Express Entry system, renowned for its selection based on immigration programs, is now set to target specific occupations. This development extends to sectors such as healthcare, technology, trades, transport, and agriculture, encompassing optometrists.
The redesigned Express Entry system aims to cater to the demands of the labor market more effectively. Immigration Minister Sean Fraser expresses optimism that this change will alleviate labor shortages across various industries and foster economic growth. The inclusion of occupation-targeted draws is a strategic move to ensure businesses have access to the skilled workforce required for their expansion.
For optometrists, the career outlook is highly promising. Job Bank ranks the prospects as “very good” across Canada over the next three years. To be eligible for permanent residency through the occupation-targeted Express Entry draw, foreign nationals must possess a minimum of six months of continuous work experience within the past three years, either in Canada or abroad, in one of the specified occupations. This experience can be gained through work permits as temporary foreign workers or student visas as international students.
The opportunities are notably vibrant for optometrists classified under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 system with the code 31111. As evident on the Indeed.ca job-hunting website, there were 592 job postings for optometrists in late July, with some ads covering multiple positions.
In terms of income, optometrists in Canada can earn a median annual wage of up to $167,858, with variations ranging from $27,446 to the upper limit. This information underscores the potential financial rewards associated with this profession.
Canada’s move towards occupation-specific draws through the Express Entry system began taking shape in June of the previous year. Legislative changes paved the way for invitations based on specific occupations and attributes such as language proficiency. Numerous provinces in Canada have already embraced occupation-specific invitations.
Under the amended legislation, the immigration minister must collaborate with provinces, territories, industry representatives, unions, employers, worker advocacy groups, settlement providers, and immigration researchers before introducing new categories. The Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) reports a doubling of occupations facing shortages between 2019 and 2021.
In conclusion, the pathway to immigrating to Canada as an optometrist holds significant promise, given the sustained demand for professionals in this field. The occupation-targeted Express Entry draws, coupled with the nation’s efforts to address labor shortages, create a favorable environment for foreign nationals seeking permanent residency in Canada.