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New 5-Pillar Plan Announced to Expand Transitions to PR

Published on: September 22nd, 2022

Canada’s immigration minister has outlined a plan to allow more temporary residents to become permanent residents. In the new five-pillar plan released on September 20th, 2022, the IRCC will aim to expand pathways to Canadian permanent residence for international students and temporary foreign workers.

On September 20th, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser tabled a strategy to expand pathways to permanent residency for temporary foreign workers. 

The strategy was In response to a motion put forward by Randeep Sarai back in May of 2022. The motion called on the Government to develop and publicly release a plan to expand economic immigration to allow workers of all skill levels to meet labour needs. It also sought to expand pathways to permanent residence for temporary foreign workers, including international students with significant Canadian work experience in sectors facing persistent labour shortages. 

Five Pillar Strategy

The new strategy uses a five-pillar approach to provide pathways for more temporary residents to become Canadian permanent residents. 

Pillar 1: Aims to provide Canada with a larger permanent labour supply by using the increased immigration targets outlined in the 2022-2024 Immigration Levels Plan. Canada is already on track this year to welcome a record number of newcomers by the end of the year. Fraser is expected to release the new 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan sometime before November 1st.

Pillar 2: Focuses on reforming the Express Entry system to give the IRCC more flexibility to invite candidates based on labour market needs. The Comprehensive Ranking System under Express Entry will also be reviewed. The CRS will be reviewed particularly for points awarded for Canadian work experience, Canadian education, language proficiency and having a job offer.

Pillar 3: Targets improvements to permanent economic immigration programs to help the transition from temporary to permanent residence for essential workers in high-demand occupations. A part of these planned improvements is implementing the new 2021 National Occupational Classification (NOC) on November 16. The new NOC system will allow sixteen new eligible occupations for Express Entry and will remove 3 previously-eligible occupations. 

Pillar 4: Aims to attract and retain newcomers, including through Francophone Immigration. A new Municipal Nominee Program is also being developed to help municipalities attract and retain newcomers to address their local labour needs. The government is also continuing to work with provinces, territories, and Canadian employers to provide pathways to PR, such as the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

Pillar 5: the Canadian government is increasing processing capacity, improving client experience and modernizing the immigration system through technological improvements. The goal of these improvements is to ensure newcomers are welcomed to Canada as permanent residents as quickly as possible. 

The focus of these pillars is to better support existing provincial tools rather than provide a whole new program. The goal is to assist provinces in independently selecting candidates to meet their specific regional needs, across all skill levels.

Continued Increased Labor Shortages

Canada is facing historic labour shortages across a number of sectors. Health care and social assistance sectors have been particularly hard hit since the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of job vacancies in these sectors has reached 136,100 according to figures released by Statistics Canada on September 20th, 2022.

Overall, labour market tightness is likely to pose hiring challenges across industries, but those in health care, accommodation and food services, and scientific and technical services are likely to be the most challenging. In the same report released by Statistics Canada, in the second quarter of 2022, there were on average 44 newly hired employees for every 100 vacancies. This is in sharp contrast to the same period in 2016 when there were 113 new hires for every 100 vacancies.

One of the ways that the Canadian government plans to address these shortages is through immigration. Temporary workers and international students have long played an important role in Canada’s economy and labour force. According to the IRCC “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.”

This five-pillar expansion towards permanent residency will allow for a more tactical and targeted immigration approach. This will allow provinces to better target hard-to-fill jobs for areas that are particularly hard hit by labour shortages. With job vacancies up in six provinces, this will likely be a great benefit for those struggling to fill essential roles.

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