In September 2022 the Canadian Government released the new strategy regarding proceedings for immigrants in Canada. The news will have a great impact on temporary residents of Canada who wish to become permanent residents. Immigration Minister Sean Fraser tabled a plan to change the way that both foreign workers and international students, who have significant experience in employment areas with labour shortages, can become permanent residents.
In a publication from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, the Canadian Government outlined the rationale for expanding the pathways available to temporary workers to access permanent residency.
The proposed changes will help boost Canada’s economy which international students and temporary foreign workers play a crucial role in. The Canadian Government recognizes that an important part of Canada’s immigration system is having pathways by which temporary residents can become permanent residents. By creating additional pathways to permanent residency, the government increases the attractiveness of Canada as a destination for international students and temporary foreign workers. Often, the ultimate goal for many temporary immigrants to Canada is to achieve Canadian permanent residency before their temporary status expires.
According to the government, increasing the number of pathways for permanent residency will allow Canada to meet labour needs and address long-term labour shortages in the future. These changes will also help strengthen the relationship between Canada’s labour market and its immigration programs.
In considering these changes, the Canadian Government has indicated that it will be mindful of the balance between the immediate needs of Canadian employers, Canada’s long-term economic goals, protecting vulnerable workers, and ensuring opportunities for domestic workers.
The strategy that will be used for expanding the pathways to permanent residency is outlined as part of a five-pillar approach on the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada website.
Pillar one uses the 2022-2024 Immigration Levels planned targets for immigration to provide Canada with a larger, permanent labour supply. As part of the plan, more temporary workers will be able to transition to a permanent residence status in an effort to help Canada’s economic growth in the years following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pillar two will rework the Express Entry system by increasing flexibility in immigration selection tools in this system. The changes will allow the Immigration Minister to respond to labour market needs and economic priorities through immigration.
This pillar also highlights the desire to increase Francophone immigration by selecting candidates with specific attributes, like in-Canada experience. There will be a review of the Comprehensive Ranking System criteria for Express Entry with potential changes coming to Canadian work experience and education, language proficiency, and job offers. When draws for express entry begin to ramp up again, these changes will have a big impact on who receives invitations.
Pillar three will make improvements to permanent economic immigration programs by focusing on essential workers in high-demand occupations. This will entail adopting the new 2021 National Occupational Classification. Adopting the National Occupational Classification will amend the eligibility requirements for certain professions as it expands the number of pathways available for potential immigrants to apply under. New occupations will be eligible for Express Entry under the 2021 National Occupational Classification, which should increase the number of applicants eligible for Express Entry.
The Government has also indicated that pillar three will improve access to information for newcomers to Canada in order to ensure that they meet the necessary qualifications and help connect them to federal and provincial or territorial programming.
Some professions, such as physicians, will have barriers lifted where essential workers are in high demand. Further, improvements to pilot programs will impact availability to in-home caregivers and agricultural workers.
Pillar four focuses on supporting specific communities in attracting and retaining newcomers to Canada, with an emphasis on Francophone immigration. The Government is focused on supporting Francophone minority communities that exist outside Quebec, with a target of having 4.4% French speaking immigration by 2023.
This pillar also highlights a new Municipal Nominee Program which will be developed to help communities meet their labour needs. On a larger scale, the Federal Government has indicated that it will continue to work with the provinces to develop new pathways for the Provincial Nominee Programs in order to help the provinces meet their labour needs and adapt to the labour market.
Pillar five involves an increase in administrative capabilities for Canada’s immigration system. The Government is seeking to improve immigration applicant experience and modernize the immigration system through technological improvements. The goal is to expedite the process in order to welcome new permanent residents as quickly as possible. Though there are no specific details given as to the type of improvements that the Government is looking to add, more information will likely be revealed in the coming months.
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