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Canada to Expand Transitions to Permanent Residency

Honorable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, has proposed expanding options to permanent residence for international students and temporary foreign employees. The new five-pillar approach intends to increase the number of foreign workers and international students who transition to permanent residence and have substantial work experience in fields where there is a persistent labor shortage.

The strategy was developed in response to Motion 44 proposed by Randeep Sarai, Liberal Member of Parliament for Surrey Centre in May of 2022. The motion requested that the government develop and publicly release a plan to expand economic immigration to meet labor needs with workers of all skill levels.

Temporary foreign workers and international students are essential contributors to the Canadian economy, which is why the government is working to create more avenues to permanent residency. Foreign workers contribute to economic recovery and growth by addressing immediate labor needs, providing a diverse variety of skill levels and educational backgrounds, and supporting company expansion, innovation, and productivity. International students are an important source of talent, helping to expand Canada’s labor force, enhance productivity, and offset the impact of the country’s ageing population.

Five Pillar Strategy

Pillar 1

The enhanced immigration levels targets set in the Immigration Levels Plan 2022-2024 are intended to give Canada with a larger, permanent labor supply. This strategy expands chances for more temporary workers to become permanent residents, thereby addressing labor market shortages and fueling our post-pandemic economic growth.

Pillar 2

Through recent changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Express Entry system will be reformed, including increased flexibility in immigration selection tools under Express Entry. The Department will also review the Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System criteria, specifically the points awarded for Canadian work experience and education, language proficiency, and a job offer. These revisions set the stage for the upcoming version of Express Entry, which will include more options for workers of all skill levels to transfer to permanent residence.

Pillar 3

This includes implementing changes to permanent economic immigration plans to aid in the transition of workers in high-demand occupations from temporary to permanent residence. On November 16, IRCC plans to adopt the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021. This new occupation classification system will make 16 new occupations eligible for Express Entry while eliminating three previously eligible occupations. The government also intends to improve newcomers’ access to information to ensure that they meet the necessary qualifications and connect them to federal, provincial, or territorial immigration programs; remove barriers for physicians and other high-demand workers; and improve pilot programs to support permanent residency pathways for caregivers and agri-food workers.

Pillar 4

IRCC will support communities in attracting and retaining newcomers, including through Francophone immigration. The government aids Francophone minority groups outside of Quebec with initiatives targeted at attaining the 4.4% French-speaking immigration objective by 2023. A new Municipal Nominee Program is also being developed to assist municipalities in attracting and retaining newcomers to meet their local labor needs. In addition, the government is continuing to collaborate with provinces, territories, and Canadian employers on pathways to permanent residencies, such as the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

Pillar 5

IRCC has reporting a decrease in its August 31 inventory. Still, Canadian immigration backlog is at 2.6 million. The government plans to “modernize the immigration system through technology advances”.  The government is expanding processing capacity, improving client experience, and modernizing the immigration system. These measures are aimed at ensuring that newcomers are welcomed as permanent residents as soon as feasible.

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