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Canada to make permanent residence easier for temporary residents

Canada has announced that it plans to make it easier for the more than 1 million temporary international students, workers and asylum seekers now living in the country to become permanent residents, giving them a path to citizenship. The government stated that it is the logical way forward to make up for a decline in foreigners moving to Canada during the pandemic.

Declining immigration is a major blow to a Canadian economy that has relied heavily on foreigners to drive population growth, labor force growth and demand. Canada’s total population grew just 0.1% in the three months through June 2020, the second-lowest quarterly gain in records dating back to 1946.

Canada relies on two tracks of migration in any given year: permanent residents and a much larger group of temporary residents. Both are down dramatically due to the pandemic. Although Canada had aimed to welcome 341,000 new permanent residents in 2020, only 128,186 new permanent residents arrived between January and August as the pandemic wreaked havoc on immigration and travel plans. The number of temporary permit holders also declined from 2019 level.

Canada immigration plans

In October, the government of Canada announced dramatic increases to Canada’s immigration plans for 2021 to 2023, to boost its economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Canada aims to welcome more than 1.2 million newcomers between 2021 and 2023: 401,000 newcomers in 2021, another 411,000 in 2022, and 421,000 in 2023.

Canada will be adding new initiatives to attract new migrants and also to ensure that temporary migrants stay in the country. According to Minister Mendicino, the government will look at the foreign talent that is already in Canada in order to find the asylum seekers, international students, and workers who have the skills that align with essential services in the economy.

Many migrants work in essential services like health care, where capacity is currently being tested, Mendicino said. Making temporary residents permanent will address Canada’s short-term needs to respond to Covid-19 and help the country address the longer-term demographic challenges, the minister said.

The government will be targeting international students in particular:

International students who tend to be a younger population, who tend to be right at the outset of their careers having a longer period within their lifespan to contribute and they are a very attractive pool that we’re going to look very closely at.

 Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino 

The minister and IRCC have not provided any detail information on the plans but these should be expected shortly as a priority policy matter.

See Canada Expands Citizenship to Foreigners in Bid to Stem Exodus