Canada’s immigration system has changed in many ways over the past few years. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a focus on increasing immigration to Canada and the numbers of both permanent and temporary residents in Canada were increasing year over year. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, immigration and travel to Canada drastically decreased. The Government of Canada also instituted strict border policies with strict immigration control, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada had greatly reduced processing capacity for applications.

When travel and immigration resumed, there were record numbers of immigrants coming to Canada in 2022 and 2023, with the population growth rate in Canada at its highest since 1957, which was largely due to increased immigration. The population in Canada rose by almost 1.3 million people in 2023, and 97.6 percent of that increase was from immigration. Moreover, approximately 800,000 foreign workers entered Canada in 2023, many of which are temporary workers.

However, the increase in immigration has caused changes in immigration policy. Recently, the Canadian Government has instituted a cap on international study permits for the first time in history, largely as a reaction to an increase in immigration. Now, more caps on immigration are set to be implemented as Canada’s immigration policy continues to evolve.

Recently Announced Changes to Temporary Residence

In late March 2024, Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced that the number of temporary residents in Canada will be reduced over the next three years. To that end, a cap on temporary residents is going to be set by the Government of Canada for the first time in September 2024. As it stands currently in 2024, temporary residents comprise roughly 6.2 percent of Canada’s total population. The Canadian Government has now stated an explicit goal of reducing the proportion of temporary residents in relation to Canada’s total population down to five percent by 2027. This would represent a decrease of roughly 19 percent in the temporary resident population in Canada.

This change is expected to be reflected in the 2024-2026 Immigration Levels Plan, which, for the first time, will account for temporary residents. When the plan is released in the fall of 2024, the total number of temporary residents allowed under the cap will be revealed. Importantly, international students and asylum seekers will contribute to the total five percent cap on temporary resident admissions.

In May 2024, the Canadian Federal Government immigration representatives are set to meet with their provincial and territorial counterparts in order to discuss the temporary resident cap. As such, more information about the cap may be released after those meetings conclude.

Other Temporary Resident Changes Set to be Implemented

There are other changes coming that will impact temporary residents, as well as businesses that hire temporary residents, sooner than the autumn implementation of the temporary resident cap.

One change pertains to a COVID-19 pandemic era policy decision regarding foreign workers. In April 2022, the Government of Canada allowed businesses in the accommodation and food sectors to hire up to 30 percent of their workforce through the temporary foreign worker program in low-wage positions. However, as of May 1, 2024, the cap for foreign workers in these industries will be brought down to 20 percent. Some industries that are seasonal in nature, such as agriculture, fishing, and tourism, are to be exempted from the cap during their peak seasons.

There are also changes coming to Labour Market Impact Assessments. Some employers are required to complete a Labour Market Impact Assessments in order to hire foreign workers. Generally, they need to show that there is no Canadian worker or permanent resident available to do the job and, thus, there is a need for a foreign worker to be employed. New Labour Market Impact Assessments will be valid for six months instead of 12 months, and there are to be stricter requirements for obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment. There will also be priority given to hiring asylum seekers who have work permits.

Temporary Residence in Canada

There are various ways in which an individual can have temporary residence in Canada. People come to Canada as temporary residents for business, through work permits, visitor visas, super visas, and as international students on study permits. Depending on the entry stream that an individual comes to Canada under, they will be subject to different application requirements, and their length of stay in Canada will also depend on the type of temporary residence authorization that has been obtained.

In order to know what kind of visa to apply for, it is important to ascertain your primary reason for coming to Canada and the length of stay you require. For example, business visitors coming to Canada are only authorized to stay up to six months in Canada because they are considered to be people coming to Canada to participate in business activities without becoming part of the labour market. There are strict requirements on who constitutes a business visitor, as it is different from having a work permit. Study permits allow the visa holder to stay in Canada for the length of their study program. Further, options such as the Post-Graduation Work Permit allows study permit holders to remain in Canada after their study permit ends.

When making an application to come to Canada, be it a temporary residence application or any other application, it is important that the application is as complete and accurate as possible. This will help ensure the best chance of a successful application and can mitigate the chance of costly mistakes and unnecessary delays.

Contact Garson Immigration Law for Assistance With Temporary Resident Applications

At Garson Immigration Law in Toronto, we exclusively practice immigration law. We understand that the immigration process can be complicated and stressful, which is why our knowledgeable immigration lawyers successfully help guide our clients through the immigration process. We provide practical and tailored immigration advice to help you find a solution for your unique immigration needs.

We work to find effective solutions for our clients regarding various immigration matters, including permanent residenceinadmissibility, and US immigration. If you have any questions about making an immigration application, contact us online or call us at 416-321-2860 to speak with a member of our team.

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