Open Up More Pathways To Permanent Residency For Temporary Foreign Workers, Canada Told

Extra H-1B Canada Open Work Permit Applications Already Received To Be Processed
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A senior policy fellow at Toronto Metropolitan University and former deputy minister of immigration says temporary foreign workers in Canada need more pathways to permanent residency.

“If there are particular occupations where there’s a real need and we’ve become dependent on temporary foreign workers. We should include them in a permanent system,” Naomi Alboim reportedly told Canadian Manufacturing.

“At the end of the day, the demographics of the Canadian workforce mean that we have to work internationally.”

The latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reveals there were 465,350 foreign nationals in the country who had gotten work permits through the International Mobility Program (IMP) last year.

Based on the first four months of this year, the IMP can be expected to close the year with an even higher number as there were 249,060 such foreign workers through the program by the end of April.

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That puts the IMP, which allows Canadian employers to hire foreign workers on a Canada work permit without the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), on track to end the year with 747,180 foreign workers coming to Canada through that program, if the trend continues.

There were also 135,760 foreign nationals working in Canada through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) in 2022, a number that may be surpassed this year as 72,030 such workers had already come to Canada through the TFWP by the end of April, 2023.

That trend, if it continues, would see 216,090 temporary foreign workers through that program by the end of this year.

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The IMP and TFWP together resulted in 601,110 temporary foreign workers in Canada last year.

Once a foreign national gets work experience in Canada, he or she can apply for permanent residence under the Express Entry system’s Canada Experience Class Program (CEC) at the federal level or, if he or she is in Quebec, the Programme de l’Expérience Québécoise (PEQ) or Quebec Experience Class immigration program.

But, there’s a snag in the system for many temporary foreign workers: lower-skilled jobs tend to come with fewer opportunities to transition to permanent residency.

Expert Recommends Making More Low-Skill Jobs Available For Permanent Residency

“We have developed, in my view, a really bifurcated system,” Alboim, a former Ontario deputy minister of immigration, reportedly said.

“High-skilled, permanent. Low-skilled, temporary. And I don’t think that’s healthy for the economy, and I don’t think that’s healthy for the country.”

The senior policy fellow is hoping Ottawa will add more low-skill occupations to the list of those considered eligible for economic immigration.

As the TFWP becomes more widely used to recruit foreign nationals for jobs in Canada, there are also a growing number of reports about alleged abuses of these workers by Canadian employers.

Derek Johnstone, a special assistant to the national president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, reportedly told Canadian manufacturing that tying work permits to specific employers has a chilling effect on worker complaints of abuse.

“It puts the entire onus on the migrant,” Johnstone reportedly said.

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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.