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What is the outlook for international recruitment in Quebec in 2021?

Posted by: Selin Deravedisyan

international recruitment in Quebec Phoenix GMI

International recruitment to counter the labour shortage in Quebec

Is international recruitment still a good choice in Quebec?

While many employees have been laid off since March 2020, many sectors are still experiencing labour shortages.

The Quebec City Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIQ) told Ici Radio-Canada last week that the unemployment rate in the region had returned to its pre-pandemic level of 4.1%. In the regions, it is also doing well, for example Chaudière-Appalaches at 4.4% and Bas-Saint-Laurent at 4.8%.

Even the effects of the closure of essential businesses on unemployment will not last, as the upcoming reopenings should quickly bring the rate back down to very low levels.

While some sectors are more affected by unemployment, such as the hotel industry, other sectors are experiencing labour shortages, and this is holding back the development of their sector. The Association de la construction du Québec (ACQ) and the Manufacturiers & Exportateurs du Québec (MEQ) have both submitted a brief to the government in the last few days. In it, they explain, among other things, the importance of overcoming labour shortage issues to initiate economic recovery.

We might have thought that the economic downturn in 2020 would free up jobs, but employees who lost their jobs found new ones quickly afterwards. Other employees were unwilling or unable to return to their jobs for health reasons. Some have also taken the opportunity to change careers. Employers also note some difficulty in engaging employees who could benefit from ECP without working.

The hope of employers to find their employees in Quebec

On the other hand, many employers insist on looking for their employees among the candidates present on Canadian soil. Indeed, they are already familiar with the culture and work laws. They can also arrive immediately, or even within a few weeks, at their new workplace. If a new employee is found quickly in this way, it is possible to save time and possibly money on the recruitment process. But is there a candidate for everyone?

Of course, it is absolutely essential to give preference to employees who are already in Canada, because it is important to guarantee employment to our fellow citizens before encouraging foreign workers to come.

In fact, in the international recruitment process, it is fundamental for many positions to demonstrate that a reasonable search was made for a Canadian employee. This is often a prerequisite for the government to authorize the recruitment of a foreign candidate.

But finally, despite the good will of employers, it is clear that for certain jobs, such as welders, mechanics, or information technology jobs, there are many vacancies. Although these positions are important for our Canadian economy, there are not enough candidates on Canadian soil, who are both competent and motivated, to fill them all.

The issue of Covid restrictions

Now, when we think about international recruitment in Quebec, we cannot ignore the context of travel and its health restrictions. We were talking about this not long ago. Some organizational difficulties had to be noted when the Covid pre-boarding tests were put in place. These restrictions followed the implementation of the quarantine and will soon be followed by the pre-arrival tests, which will be conducted at the airport and whose results could be expected in hotels requisitioned for the occasion.

Indeed, this is a concern for some employers.

In the first few months after the start of the lockdowns around the world, there were situations where foreign applicants could not reach Canada, either because airports or biometric agencies were closed or because the countries of origin were temporarily not issuing visas. This may have delayed these arrivals. Fortunately, all of our candidates have been able to return gradually for several months. We would like to thank the employers who have been so patient and understanding of the situation.

These privileged relationships with employers have facilitated communication and the companies have been able to rely on the Phoenix GMI teams to manage the logistical situation and to follow up on these cumbersome procedures. Our knowledge of the field at different levels (candidates’ countries, employers and the functioning of our government) allowed us to take the necessary steps. And our multidisciplinary teams have also been a great resource, able to quickly coordinate the different dimensions of these issues involving so many different actors.

Fortunately now, the hardest part is behind us, and the government is even thinking about granting flexibility for temporary foreign workers. So the situation is really favorable.

We can even start to serenely envisage a near end, albeit progressive, to these restrictions. The Covid situation is increasingly under control. The number of new daily cases in Quebec, as of February 5, 2020, is currently back to October levels. New hospitalizations and admissions to intensive care are also down, and vaccination campaigns are gradually underway.

This is a great opportunity to consider international recruitment! As the difficulties are gradually diminishing, they will be fully resolved when it is time to welcome the candidates who are being recruited.

Government issues that promote international recruitment in Quebec

For its part, the government has understood the challenges of international recruitment.

On the one hand, it has taken to heart the issue of labour shortages raised by professional associations, such as the manufacturing and construction industries. In mid-January, he created an interdepartmental government intervention group on labour shortages. This group includes five ministries, including, of course, the ministry of immigration.

Moreover, he has never stopped promoting international recruitment, and on the contrary, he has doubled his efforts to support employers facing a labour shortage in his own way.

The stakes are high for him, because if the problem persists during a pandemic, the impact and aggravation will be exponential when the economic engines take over. It will be impossible to operate at full capacity because of the labour shortage.

What form does international recruitment take in Quebec?

As you can see, Covid’s restrictions are not a major problem for future candidates. We just need to adapt our logistics to this transitional situation.

While it was common to travel to our candidates’ home countries prior to March 2020, assignments have since become largely virtual, and this trend is expected to remain for part of 2021. That said, even for recruiting candidates already in Canada or Quebec, this will be the preferred method!

To recruit internationally, there are different formulas. But an international recruitment agency that is committed to being a real partner in your success will offer you a highly individualized service. At Phoenix GMI we offer employers the opportunity to recruit candidates from a country where the culture is not only compatible with your company’s, but where the culture will also allow for easy integration into the community where your company is located. The choice will essentially be made for a candidate whose skills and knowledge match the job profile. But it should also focus on the candidate’s interpersonal skills, in order to guarantee both integration into your company and into our country.

To succeed in your international recruitment in Quebec, you should also be able to count on an agency that manages the remote technical tests for you and validates the real skills of your candidates.

Since virtual missions do not facilitate immersion in the culture of the candidate’s country of origin in the same way as a real mission, a conscientious company will offer this service by making employers aware of the cultural context and approach of temporary foreign workers according to the geographic recruitment pool. Indeed, a good consultant knows this culture better than anyone else, and during the pre-selection process, the candidate’s adaptation to a new cultural environment is evaluated in the same way as his or her professional skills.

Some may also wonder if it is still possible to carry out real assignments.

Indeed, despite the government’s announcement to restrict travel, some employers still prefer to travel on assignment to meet and finalize technical tests. And this is still possible in the current context. It will require braving imposed quarantines and all other restrictions, but it does guarantee a deep cultural immersion with the candidates.

Either way, with a structured recruitment agency like Phoenix GMI, allow 2-8 months and you’ll have your candidates ready to secure your operations.

Implementing international recruitment now is a major win. Employers who are currently canvassing will be the first to welcome their new employees. They will also be the first to guarantee orders to their customers in the coming months. The others will then only begin to wake up from their lethargy!

Recruiting internationally, for unbridled production in Quebec

International recruitment is more important than ever. Unfortunately, the availability of employees on Canadian soil is insufficient to fill all the vacant positions.

However, the economy has already started to rebound and the unemployment rate that gradually rose with the closing of essential businesses will soon return to normal in many regions. When the economy is back in full swing, every business should be able to operate at full production capacity. This is the only way to capture the contracts that will be available.

The government, for its part, is doing its best to ensure the continuity of this solution in which it believes. It strongly encourages it, notably through subsidies for employers. Taking charge now of its personnel needs to support the operating teams and guarantee the production of its future orders will allow the Quebec economy to get back on its feet quickly. But it also means getting a head start by ensuring an incredible competitive advantage.

Phoenix GMI offers international recruitment and immigration services for Quebec and Canadian companies, and for candidates wishing to make a life project in Canada.

Our multidisciplinary, rigorous and dedicated team implements concrete and personalized strategies for its clients.

Author: Selin Deravedisyan