New Canadian immigration program in the works

Shelby Thevenot
Published: June 15, 2022

Canada is working on a new fast-track immigration program for temporary foreign workers and international students.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser told CBC News the new program will be a permanent pathway for temporary residents. It will be similar but not identical to the Temporary Residence to Permanent Residence (TR2PR) program which opened the door to 90,000 essential workers and international student graduates last year.

“We are looking right now at the best path forward to create a permanent pathway for temporary residents,” Fraser said to CBC News.

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Shortly after being appointed immigration minister, Fraser was mandated to “expand pathways to Permanent Residence for international students and temporary foreign workers.” Now, Fraser has 120 days to develop and release a strategy to achieve these goals, as dictated by a motion passed in the Canadian House of Commons.

“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 said.

Further details of the new program are expected to be available by September 9 when Fraser's 120-day deadline is up.

Express Entry changes

Canada will once again invite Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates to apply for permanent residence this July, but that's not the only change coming.

Bill C-19 is now passing through the Senate and is on track to become law. It will give Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) the authority to invite Express Entry candidates in the pool based on an economic goal, such as occupation, French-language ability, or education credential.

IRCC will be required to engage in a public consultation process to help them select which groups of Express Entry candidates will be invited in these types of draws. Further, IRCC must report annually to Parliament describing the economic goal that was sought in each instance.

How to come to Canada as a temporary resident

Although it is not always necessary to be in Canada to be eligible for an immigration program, studies have shown that immigrants with Canadian experience tend to have higher wages and more instances of employment in the initial years after landing than those who immigrated directly.

Canadian study and work experience can also open the doors to many more immigration programs.

In order to study in Canada, you need to get accepted to a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) and obtain a study permit. If you graduate from a full-time program of at least eight months, you may be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), which many people use to gain Canadian work experience.

A work permit is usually required to work in Canada. There are more than 100 work permit options divided into two broad categories: Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) work permits and International Mobility Program (IMP) work permits. The major difference is that TFWP work permits require the employers to complete a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), whereas IMP work permits exist to support Canada's economic, social, and cultural priorities. IMP work permits are LMIA-exempt, because the work performed by these work permit holders has been shown to be of significant benefit to Canada, or is the result of a reciprocal agreement with another country.

How to immigrate through Express Entry

Express Entry is an application management system for three Canadian immigration programs including the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canadian Experience Class, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program. Meaning, in order to get into the Express Entry pool of candidates, you need to be eligible for at least one of these programs.

Once you are in the pool, you get a score based on IRCC's Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS takes into account your work experience in a skilled occupation, study experience, official language ability, age, and other economic factors. The more CRS points you have, the higher the chances you will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence.

Express Entry candidates in the pool may also be invited to apply for a provincial nomination though a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). If you respond to the invitation and get nominated, you will be awarded an additional 600 CRS points. This bonus will effectively guarantee that you will receive an ITA in a subsequent Express Entry draw.

The ITA is the key to applying for Canadian immigration through Express Entry. Once IRCC receives your response to the ITA, their processing standard to respond is six months. The pandemic has slowed down actual processing times however. The current wait times are available on the IRCC web page.

Correction: This story originally said September 8. Fraser's deadline is up September 9.

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