Canada’s strategy for improving pathways for the transition from temporary to permanent residency has been outlined by Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.
Fraser presented details of his five-pillar approach, which will benefit temporary workers and international students, in the Canadian parliament’s routine proceedings on Tuesday, September 20.
It followed a motion introduced in May urging Ottawa 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”.
The strategy is a crucial part of Canada’s response to its shrinking labour market, caused chiefly by low birth rates and a growing number of retirements among the baby boomer generation.
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Fraser’s five pillar approach is summarized below:
Pillar 1: Increased Immigration
Fraser says his plan will use the targets outlined in his most recent Immigration Levels Plan, covering the period 2022 to 2024.
This plan calls for 431,645 new permanent residents this year, 447,055 next year and 451,000 in 2024, giving Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) ample room for newcomers.
The Economic Class proportion of these new arrivals is more than half: 241,850 in 2022, 253,000 in 2023 and 267,750 by 2024.
Fraser is also due to present a new Immigration Levels Plan, to include 2025, before November 1.
Pillar 2: Express Entry Reform
It has already been reported that Canada is set to begin occupation-specific invitations through Express Entry in early 2023.
This follows many of the provinces, which have been conducting such draws for several years.
The changes were made through an update to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, allowing “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”, IRCC said in a publication supporting Fraser’s announcement on Tuesday.
Express Entry’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is to be reviewed with a focus on points for Canadian work experience and education, language skills and job offers.
IRCC called these changes “the foundation for the next version of Express Entry”.
Pillar 3: Other Economic Immigration Improvements
These changes are intended to help essential workers in high-demand occupations transition from temporary to permanent residence.
The changes include:
- Launching the new National Occupation Classification (NOC) 2021, due to happen in November. IRCC says this will expand eligibility to certain in-demand occupations within a number of programs.
- Improving access to information to ensure newcomers meet the necessary qualifications and connecting them to federal and provincial programs.
- Better ways for essential workers in high demand, such as doctors, to transition from temporary to permanent.
- Improving pilot programs including those for caregivers and the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot.
Pillar 4: Helping Communities
Here, IRCC mentions its new Municipal Nominee Program, which has been in the works for a while but was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canada also plans to assist francophone minority communities outside Quebec with a 4.4 percent French-speaking immigration target by 2023.
Pillar 5: Modernizing the System
IRCC says it plans to increase processing capacity, a statement of the obvious given its backlog of more than two million applications.
It also says it plans to improve “client experience and modernize the immigration system through technological improvements”.
All of these changes are aimed at getting newcomers to Canada as permanent residents more quickly.