Canada is eyeing artificial intelligence developed by researchers at Zurich and Stanford Universities to help immigrants to Canada settle in areas where they are most likely to prosper.
“Ottawa has been working with the Immigration Policy Lab to take a look at the possibility of using … (an) … algorithm to help individual economic immigrants decide where they are most likely to succeed economically upon arriving to Canada,” states the Digital Tools For Immigrant And Refugee Integration In IGC States report.
The report, assembled by the Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees – IGC group in Switzerland, pinpoints several of Canada’s existing commitments to providing digital services for immigrants.
“Ottawa … has launched several digital and online initiatives to help new permanent residents find employment, language courses, and housing as they live into their new home, states the report. “Some are financed by provincial governments, such as the Welcome to Alberta app and British Columbia’s Advisor app.
“Others are funded federally by Canada’s immigration department, IRCC, such as the NewTo app which brings together a range of stakeholders to pinpoint ways to help immigrants integrate in Toronto,” says the report. “IRCC has also funded NewYouth.ca , an online community for immigrant and refugee youth in Ontario that, among other services, allows new immigrants youth to submit question online and receive personalized responses.
“Also financed by IRCC is Rumie Tablet , an interactive digital learning app that has customized interactive educational contents. All content can be accessed offline, making it a portable library for users to use both in and out of the classroom.”
Fully-Online Immigration System
Certainly, Canada’s minister of immigration, Marco Mendicino, has given strong support for putting the country’s entire immigration system online and making it easily accessible.
“My vision for our immigration system moving forward is that it is completely virtual and that each and every one of these steps is integrated so that we become the envy of the world,” Mendicino said.
“In a world that is increasingly going virtual and digital, we are setting the pace, especially when it comes to our immigration system. As it stands, we’re the only ones that have moved our citizenship ceremony online, as i understand, and now we’re also moving into the digital space when it comes to testing applicants.”
Ottawa’s work with IPL is yet another step in the country making use of cutting-edge technology to help newcomers successfully settle in communities and prosper there.
Geomatch Strikes Balance Between Immigrant’s Desired Location and Goals
The IPL algorithm, dubbed GeoMatch, takes the large amount of data the federal government has about applicants for immigration to Canada and uses it to list the places where they would be most likely to get more money and acquire all of the services they need.
“Say a government wants to achieve at least a twenty-five (25) per cent employment rate among refugees,” says IPL researcher Dr. Jens Hainmueller.
According to the IPL webpage, its algorithm “uncovers synergies between people and places, using historical data to assign refugees to resettlement areas where they are most likely to thrive.”
Tech Best Used With Face-to-Face Interaction
The approach integrates refugees’ preferences, prioritizing areas they have designated as top choices, places that also provide them the best chances of meeting Canada’s goals for successful integration.
The GeoMatch algorithm will use data about the immigrants’ background information about economic outcomes in various areas to project where a newcomer might get the best start in Canada.
Although an attractive and promising technology, GeoMatch and other digital technologies are best used in conjunction with face-to-face interactions with immigration officials, says the IGC report.
“While digital tools hold much promise in terms of improving the effectiveness of integration systems in IGC States, they are not a solution, nor are they a substitute for in-person learning and interaction,” it states. “Many new immigrants face obtacles to accessing the internet, including connectivity issues and marginal levels of digital literacy.
“Digital inventions are best used alongside more conventional forms of learning and training, and including the end users in the design of digital tools can help ensure their relevance, accessibilities and effectiveness.”