An immigrant-focused financial recovery plan should be at the forefront of Canada’s post-pandemic goals.
A recent study by the World Education Service (WES) highlights this need. In June, WES surveyed 1,800 permanent residents, international students, and temporary foreign workers in Canada to understand the impact of COVID on their economic health.
WES is one of the main providers for Educational Credential Assessment (ECA). ECA is used to verify that foreign credentials are equivalent to Canadians. They are often required by immigration candidates when they submit economic class applications to the federal government or a province or territory.
loss of income
According to the study, 15 percent of all respondents lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Many of them also found it difficult to rent or make mortgage payments.
Under one quarter (24 percent) of the permanent residents lost their main source of income. For temporary workers, this percentage was 22 percent.
For international students, 34 percent found it difficult to afford rent or utilities.
As such, eligible permanent residents, temporary foreign workers, and international students applied to receive emergency benefits aimed at offsetting the loss of income due to the epidemic. This includes Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and Employment Insurance (EI).
The CERB was accessible to employed as well as self-employed Canadians and permanent residents. The CERB was introduced after the onset of the epidemic.
On the other hand, EI provides temporary benefits for eligible individuals who lost their jobs. EI is not bound by the epidemic, and any type of employment-related benefit has been available for 80 years.
In addition, many permanent resident students who are also eligible for the Canadian Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), an emergency benefit for Canadian and permanent resident students.
In June, about a third of those claiming to be eligible for EI had benefited from it. This is a significant increase from April when it was only 13 percent.
Nearly half (48 percent) of those claiming to be eligible for the CERB received benefits in June. It is also an important growth mantra. In April, it was just 19 percent.
The WES survey found that people receiving EI or CERB were largely made up of permanent residents and temporary workers (90 percent).
Some international students were likely to receive either benefit. This is due to the eligibility requirements of these programs. To be eligible for CERB, international students must earn more than CAD $ 5,000 in 2019.
The CERB is scheduled to expire in October and eligible individuals will receive an EI instead.
This means that many freelancers and “gig economy” workers will not be able to receive benefits. This is because many of these workers do not qualify for EI.
To address this, the Government of Canada is offering a transitional benefit. This is good news for immigrants and students, many of whom had unstable employment and therefore do not qualify for EI.
Canada’s economy has rebounded in recent months with some 2 million jobs that have been lost by the epidemic since it was recovered.