Canadian Immigration News

Why the Focus on Transitioning Temporary Foreign Workers Living in Canada to Permanent Residents?

4.5 minute read
"For the Canadian Immigration Levels Target Plan for 2021-23, Canada announced that it plans to invite over 401,000 new immigrants over the next years. However, due to the current travel restrictions imposed given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that crippled Canada’s immigration system in 2020, the Canadian government has thought it best to encourage temporary residents to transition to permanent residence. "
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Jun 2, 2021
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For the Canadian Immigration Levels Target Plan for 2021-23, Canada announced that it plans to invite over 401,000 new immigrants over the next years. However, due to the current travel restrictions imposed given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that crippled Canada’s immigration system in 2020, the Canadian government has thought it best to encourage temporary residents to transition to permanent residence. 

Why Is the Immigration Target Set So High? 

Experts believe that high levels of immigration will benefit the post-Covid economic recovery for Canada significantly. Therefore, the immigration target has been set high to invite the maximum number of foreign workers to meet the demands of the local labor market. While unemployment is still soaring higher than normal, it is expected that immigration will fill the required gaps in the labor markets, create jobs and contribute to the development of the Canadian economy. 

However, as the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic sweeps across different countries in the world, border restrictions and travel control will get tighter and it will become increasingly difficult to admit foreign nationals coming from overseas. Many foreign nationals who received their Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR) since March 2020 have still been unable to travel to Canada due to the ongoing pandemic. It was expected that the rollout of the vaccination drive will soon lead to the end of such restrictions. However, the progress seems very gradual as many countries like India and Britain fight the overwhelming increase in Covid infection due to a second or third wave. 

Why Is Canada Focusing on Transitioning Temporary Foreign Workers into Permanent Residents?

While there are some exemptions for family members, essential workers, international graduates and some other groups, many approved foreign nationals still face obstacles in their journey to come to Canada and begin their permanent residency. As border restrictions make it difficult for overseas applicants to travel to Canada even after confirmation of permanent residency, temporary residents are the solution. Temporary residents can easily transition without much trouble and integrate quickly into the Canadian society and economy. 

As they already have experience working in Canada, it is beneficial to the labor market. According to a study by Statistics Canada, foreign workers with Canadian work experience do almost 8% better in the labor market compared to those with no Canadian experience. This is because as temporary residents, these individuals have already learned the language and understand the Canadian work culture and practices to easily navigate the job market.

What Are the Different Pathways for Permanent Residence for Temporary Foreign Workers?

There are a few main pathways for temporary foreign workers in Canada:

Express Entry: 

The Express Entry system is the fastest way to gain permanent residence in Canada. In 2021, the government body of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada accepted almost 90% of all applicants for permanent residence from the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) linked with the Express Entry system. To be eligible for the CEC program, an applicant requires a year of Canadian work experience and language skills with a level 5 or 7 on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) for English or French, based on their occupation.

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP): 

11 Canadian provinces and territories offer their own separate PNP to nominate applicants with the skills and experience required to meet the local labor market demands. These programs also offer Express Entry aligned immigration streams to make it easier for the province to choose skilled candidates who are interested in settling down in the province.

The immigration streams offered under different PNPs have very specific eligibility requirements and criteria. For example, Ontario requires foreign nationals in tech occupations to meet its local labor market needs. Therefore it offers the Human Capital Priorities Stream (OINP) aligned with the Express Entry system and also holds regular Tech Pilot draws to specifically target foreign workers in tech occupations.

Quebec Immigration: 

Quebec has the right to nominate applicants for permanent residence in the province to maintain its unique identity as a predominantly French-speaking province. Therefore, Quebec offers its own immigration pathways that require a 2-step process.

Temporary foreign workers can apply for the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSP) or Quebec Experience Class (PEQ). They must first get approval from the Quebec government in the form of a Certificate of Selection (CSQ) which will allow them to further apply for permanent residency if they meet the eligibility criteria for the program.

What Else Is Canada Doing to Encourage Transition of Temporary Foreign Workers into PR?

Canada recently announced on April 14, 2021, that it will be launching 6 new immigration pathways for temporary workers in healthcare and other essential occupations that will come into effect on May 6, 2021. These immigration pathways include:

A total of 90,000 applicants will be accepted through the first three pathways mentioned above, while the PR pathways for French speakers will be accepting applications till November 5, 2021. These immigration pathways are a part of the plan to maintain immigration levels in 2022.

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