Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker Seeing Fewer Immigrants To Canada In 2022

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Canada immigration news: The popularity of the Temporary-to-Permanent Resident (TR-to-PR) Pathway means the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) immigration programs are seeing a drop in numbers in 2022. 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) launched the TR-to-PR last year with the goal of accepting as many as 90,000 applications by the time the program closed in November.

By the close of the year, the pathway had accepted 84,177 applications and IRCC figures showed Canada had welcomed 23,885 new permanent residents under this TR-to-PR pathway. 

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Under its Immigration Levels Plan for 2022-2024, Ottawa wants to see 40,000 new permanent residents to Canada under what is called federal economic public policies, which includes the TR-to-PR pathway. The plan allows for as few as 30,000 and as many as 48,000 new permanent residents under these policies this year.

The plan is to also bring another 32,000 new permanent residents under those policies next year, with a range of between 25,000 and 42,000 new permanent residents.

By the end of next year, all the applicants who will be accepted under the TR-to-PR pathway should have received the green light to stay in Canada as permanent residents.

That massive influx of new applications under the TR-to-PR pathway, though, has apparently led many applicants for immigration to turn away from the CEC and FSW in favour of the TR-to-PR pathway. 

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The latest IRCC data shows the combined number of new permanent residents to Canada under the CEC and FSW so far this year is only 50,815, or 10,163 per month. 

Projected out to the rest of the year, that means Canada is on track to welcome only 121,956 new permanent residents under the CEC and FSW this year, 42,019, or 25.6 per cent, fewer than the 163,975 new permanent residents that came under those programs last year.

The projected drop in CEC and FSW immigrants this year, based on the current trend, almost exactly matches the number of new permanent residents expected to come to Canada under the TR-to-PR pathway.

CEC, FSW Numbers Were Rising – Except For 2020 – Until This Year 

In the past five years, the combined number of new permanent residents to Canada under the CEC and FSW rose steadily from 80,155 in 2017 to hit more than twice that number last year after recovering from the massive drop in immigration during the first year of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, the number of new permanent residents to Canada under the two programs fell to 60,805, a drop of 43.7 per cent, from 108,160 the previous year. The numbers then soared to a record high last year when overall immigration to Canada also hit a record high of 406,005 new permanent residents.

 With the success of the TR-to-PR pathway, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser is reportedly hoping to unveil a new program to allow temporary residents to more quickly get their permanent residency in Canada.

“We are looking right now at the best path forward to create a permanent pathway for temporary residents,” Fraser reportedly told the CBC earlier this year.

The original TR-to-PR pathway targeted healthcare and other workers in Canada and recent international graduates from Canadian colleges and universities. It applied across the country, with the exception of the francophone province of Quebec, which operates its own immigration system.

Now, the immigration minister is reportedly eyeing an entirely new pathway for temporary residents to get their permanent residency and expects to have something to present within 120 days following a motion in the House of Commons in May. 

Expect New TR-to-PR Pathway To Be Announced This Autumn

“That actually puts me on a clock to come up with a framework to establish this new permanent residency pathway, not just for international students, but also for temporary foreign workers,” Fraser reportedly told the CBC in June.

“We’re in the depths of planning the policy so we can have a policy that’s not driven by a need to respond urgently in the face of an emergency, but actually to have a permanent pathway that provides a clear path for those seeking permanent residency who can enter Canada.”

In his interview with Canada’s national broadcaster, the immigration minister did not divulge any details of this new pathway. 

Canada is currently facing a massive labour shortage and Statistics Canada reports the country’s unemployment rate is at a record low of 4.9 per cent.

With that labour shortage, retaining international students and temporary foreign workers could help ease the strain on employers.

In Canada, there are three types of temporary work visas for foreign nationals who want to work in the country:

  • open;
  • employer-specific, and;
  • post-graduate.

With an Open Work Permit, a foreign national can work anywhere in Canada for any employer without that business having to go through a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

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Employer-specific work permits, on the other hand, only allow foreign nationals to work for specific employers who have tried, through the LMIA process, to find Canadians to do those jobs. When the employer is unable to find a suitable candidate in Canada, he or she can hire a foreign national who then has to get an employer-specific visa.

The last type of work permit is for international students who have studied at a Canadian college or university, graduated, and now want to continue to live and work in Canada. The Post-Graduate Work Program permit (PGWP) allows them to do that and the length of time of the permit depends on the length of the study program they completed.

Through agreements with many other countries, Canada also offers the International Experience Canada (IEC) program and issues work permits to foreign nationals of those countries who want to come here:

  • for a working holiday which allows them to work for many employers without having a job offer before they come to Canada;
  • as young professionals planning to come to Canada for a job that boosts their professional development with the same employers back in their home country, or;
  • for an international co-op internship, typically to allow them to graduate from a study program at a Canadian college or university which requires they complete a work term in Canada.

International students who want to come to study at a Canadian college or university for more than six months need to get a Study Permit once they have been accepted into that program.

Among international students coming to Canada, roughly a third the year plan on seeking permanent residence once they graduate. That means these students first get a study permit to complete their studies and then apply for a PGWP if they get a job offer upon graduation. That allows them to get more Canadian work experience and strengthens their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score for their application for permanent residency through Express Entry.

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