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