Canada is looking to offer more avenues of permanent residence to foreigners already in the country.
Nigeria online news understands that following the announcement that Canada would welcome more than 400,000 immigrants per year for the next three years, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino told Bloomberg that the federal government will make an announcement on this soon.
Why this change is necessary
The immigration minister said it is important for Canada to identify how it can speed up the pathways to permanent residence for international students, temporary foreign workers and asylum seekers already in the country. This is necessary to alleviate the economic challenges Canada currently faces, in part due to lower levels of immigration caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decline in immigration levels from Canada has slowed population, workforce and economic growth.
Both permanent and temporary residents have declined significantly this year. After a net increase of more than 190,000 temporary residents in 2019, the first half of 2020 has seen that number decline to 18,221. The number of permanent residents is down 60% year-over-year according to government data for August.
Canada will not meet immigration goal by 2020
At its current rate, Canada is slated to receive only about 200,000 permanent residents this year, which is far fewer than the 341,000 it was targeting before the coronavirus pandemic. This has already slowed Canada’s total population growth, which was just 0.1 percent in the second quarter of 2020. Canada’s population generally grows more than one percent per year.
Mendicino told Bloomberg that making temporary residents permanent will address Canada’s short-term needs to respond to the coronavirus. He also said it will help address Canada’s long-term demographic challenges, which include an aging population and low birth rate. These two factors mean that more gaps will be created in the labor market as the older population retires. With a low natural growth rate, Canada will need immigrants to support the population and ensure that vacant positions in the workforce are filled.
The government will analyze foreign talent already in Canada to find asylum seekers, students and workers who have the skills that align with essential services in the economy, Mendicino told Bloomberg.
He also said that students from other countries are “particularly attractive” as potential counter forces to the effects of an aging population. Because of this, the government makes it easy for them to work in Canada.
For example, Canada is allowing online study at a Canadian designated learning institution between May 2020 and April 2021 to count toward future eligibility for Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). The PGWP is coveted among international students because it allows them to gain the Canadian work experience they often need to be eligible for a variety of economy class immigration programs. These programs include the Express Entry Canadian Experience Class, the Provincial Nominees Program (PNP), and the Quebec Experience Program.
Canada has also recently opened its borders to students who are enrolled in classes in post-secondary schools that have coronavirus preparedness plans.
The benefits of the Canadian experience
There are two main benefits of offering more public relations avenues to students, foreign workers and asylum seekers in Canada. In the short term, this will offset the temporary decline in immigration caused by the pandemic, which will support economic growth. In the long term, it will benefit Canada because immigrants with Canadian experience tend to do well in the labor market.
The combination of having Canadian education, work experience, professional and social media, and fluency in English and / or French results in faster integration into the job market and long-term high wages.
This has been shown in numerous studies conducted by Statistics Canada, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and other researchers. As a result, the selection criteria used by the IRCC, the provinces and territories under the PNP and by Quebec give preference to candidates with Canadian study and work experience.
What would the changes look like?
The minister did not hint at what the changes may entail, but his options may include one or more of the following:
- launch new federal pilot programs
- holding program-specific Express Entry drawings
- modify Express Entry’s Comprehensive Classification System (CRS) to provide more points for the Canadian experience
- modify the eligibility criteria for federal programs (for example, reduce the work experience requirement for the Canadian Experience Class)
- extend the duration of temporary work permits to give candidates more time to obtain the Canadian work experience they need to be eligible to apply for an immigration program like the Canadian Experience Class.
The minister and the IRCC have not provided any further indication on the reforms they have in mind, so interested parties will have to wait for official word from the federal government.