On May 11, 2022, Private Member’s Motion M-44, introduced by Randeep Sarai, Liberal Member of Parliament for Surrey Centre, was passed in the House of Commons. The Motion calls on the Government to publicly release a plan to expand economic immigration pathways so workers at all skill levels can access permanent residency and to support greater transitions from temporary resident status to permanent resident status.
Temporary foreign workers and international students play an important role in Canada’s economy and that is why the Government aims to enable greater pathways to permanent residency. Foreign workers help address the immediate workforce needs of different employers, provide a wide range of skill levels and education backgrounds, and support business development, innovation and productivity – all of which contribute to our country’s economic recovery and growth. International students are a key source of talent that help grow Canada’s labour force, boost productivity, and balance the impact from Canada’s aging population.
Helping to transition from temporary to permanent residence is already an important feature of the Canadian immigration system. A number of our existing programs provide a pathway to permanent residence for temporary foreign workers and international student graduates across various sectors and skill levels.
When it comes to permanent economic immigration, the strongest candidates have not only the skills to integrate quickly into the Canadian workforce, but are also well-placed for success in the long term. These skills provide individuals with long-term flexibility to handle changes in workforce needs and economic downturns in the future.
This strategy sets out a range of pathways focused on increasing opportunities to transition from temporary to permanent residence, strengthening Canada’s ability to meet a wide range of labour needs and address long-term labour shortages, and supporting community and regional needs. Our goal is to strengthen the connection between the labour market and our immigration programs, to ensure the Canadian economy has the broad range of skills needed across all different sectors from health, hospitality, transportation, trades and resources, IT and engineering. Simply put, we’re focused on helping individuals transition from temporary to permanent residence by expanding or adjusting the existing pathways for foreign nationals who are working in Canada and seeking to stay, including international student graduates.
This will require applying the right immigration tools to strike a balance between addressing the immediate needs of Canadian employers and meeting medium-to-long term economic goals, while also being mindful of protecting vulnerable workers and ensuring opportunities for domestic workers.
Through this strategy, the Government will use a five pillar approach to achieve its objectives:
Pillar 1 uses the increased immigration levels targets outlined in the 2022-2024 Immigration Levels Plan to provide Canada with a larger, permanent labour supply. This plan increases the opportunities for more temporary workers to transition to permanent residence to help address labour market shortages and fuel our post-pandemic economic growth.
Pillar 2 aims to reform the Express Entry system, including by increasing flexibility in immigration selection tools under Express Entry, through recent changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. These changes will allow the Minister to respond to labour market needs and regional economic priorities, as well as to increase Francophone immigration by selecting more candidates with specific attributes, such as in-Canada experience. The Department will also review the Comprehensive Ranking System criteria under Express Entry, particularly points awarded for Canadian work experience and education, language proficiency, and a job offer. In consultation with key partners, the Minister will be better placed to ensure the labour market needs of industries and employers across Canada are being met. These changes form the foundation for the next version of Express Entry, that will include more opportunities to transition to permanent residence for workers at all skill levels.
Pillar 3 involves making improvements to permanent economic immigration programs to help the transition, from temporary to permanent residence, of essential workers in high-demand occupations. This includes:
- adopting the latest version of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 which expands eligibility to certain in-demand occupations within a number of permanent economic immigration pathways;
- improving newcomers’ access to information to ensure that they meet the necessary qualifications and connecting them to federal and provincial or territorial programming;
- exploring better ways to transition essential workers who are in high demand, such as removing barriers for physicians; and,
- introducing improvements to pilot programs to support transitions to permanent residence for those working in in-home caregiving occupations as well as in the agri-food sector.
Pillar 4 aims to support communities in attracting and retaining newcomers, including through Francophone immigration. The Government supports Francophone minority communities, outside of Quebec, through measures aimed at meeting the 4.4% French-speaking immigration target by 2023. In addition, a new Municipal Nominee Program is being developed to help municipalities attract and retain newcomers to address their local labour needs. The Government also continues to work with provinces and territories, and employers on innovative pathways to permanent residence, including through the Provincial Nominee Program, which allows provinces and territories the flexibility to adapt and evolve their immigration streams to meet their individual labour market needs.
Lastly, through Pillar 5, the Government is increasing processing capacity, improving client experience and modernizing the immigration system through technological improvements. These initiatives are focused on ensuring newcomers are welcomed to Canada as permanent residents as quickly as possible.
These pillars will complement the existing provincial and territorial tools that allow them to independently select candidates to meet their specific regional needs, across all skill levels.