Over 120,000 temporary residents transitioned to Canadian permanent residents in 2022

Edana Robitaille
Published: February 17, 2023

New data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) shows that 124,950 temporary residents transitioned to permanent residents in 2022.

The numbers show permanent residence transitions among those who last held a study permit, work permit under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), or work permit under the International Mobility Program (IMP). These programs may provide potential permanent residents with an advantage when they decide to apply for PR.

Data from Statistics Canada suggests that temporary residents have established roots in their communities and are able to integrate into to the labour force more easily.

Additionally, by spending time in Canada before applying for PR, they might deepen their knowledge of English or French, which puts them in a position to earn more than those applicants who speak neither language before or after landing in Canada.

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International Mobility Program

Last year, 97,665 people became permanent residents after transitioning from the IMP. The IMP covers multiple types of work permits that do not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWPs) fall under the IMP. The data shows 52,725 PGWP holders became permanent residents accounting for the largest share of IMP participants who got PR status.

The PGWP allows newly graduated international students in Canada to live and work anywhere in the country for up to three years (depending on the length of their program of study) if they have completed their program at a designated learning institution.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

There were 7,555 people who transitioned to PR from the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). Foreign workers under the TFWP require their employer to obtain a LMIA from Employment and Social Development Canada. An LMIA is a document that proves hiring foreign workers will have a positive or neutral impact on Canada’s labour force.

Study Permit Holders

The 2022 data also shows 19,730 new permanent residents last held a study permit .

Canada is now host to over 800,000 international students. Typically, those seeking PR first get a PGWP to gain Canadian work experience. However, it is still possible to transition to PR directly from a study permit for candidates who meet the eligibility criteria of an economic class pathway. This is also true for those who are sponsored under a family class program, or gain PR via a humanitarian program.

Economic immigration programs can help with transition from TR to PR

Many economic immigration programs reward candidates with Canadian experience. For example, a candidate within the Express Entry application management system will receive additional points in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) for having Canadian work or study experience.,

Prominent pathways to PR include regional economic immigration programs such as the Atlantic Immigration Program or the Rural and Northen Immigration Pilot. There are also programs that target specific labour shortages such as caregiver pathways.

Lower TR to PR transitions than 2021

The number of temporary residents who became permanent residents in 2022 is less than the 191,360 in 2021. For example, 157,695 people who were in Canada as part of the IMP transitioned to permanent residents and 10,985 came from the TFWP. Study permit holders accounted for 22,680 of new permanent residents.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, border closures and travel restrictions made it more difficult for newcomers to immigrate as permanent residents from abroad. IRCC then turned its focus on potential PRs already living in Canada. One measure occurred in February 2021 when IRCC held its largest-ever Express Entry draw of 27,332 candidates in a CEC-only draw.

In January 2021, IRCC paused Express Entry draws for candidates in the Federal Skilled Worker Program and Federal Skilled Trades Program. However, the department continued to hold draws for candidates in the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) until September 2021 and for the Provincial Nominee Program. Under the CEC, candidates require one year of Canadian work experience and must have lived in the country for at least one year out of the past three.

The government also introduced an additional pathway that allowed temporary residents to transition to permanent residents. The program had six streams for candidates with experience in high-demand occupations such as healthcare and a pathway for international students. Three of the programs were for English and French speakers while the other three were exclusively for French-speaking temporary residents. The program ran from May until November 2021.

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