Express Entry Draws Resume and New Measures on Temporary Foreign Workers
Posted on 23/04/2022
Are you an Express Entry applicant who applied under any of the following: Canadian experience class, federal skilled workers class, or federal skilled trades class? You’ve probably noticed that Invitations to Apply (ITAs) have been placed on pause over the past couple of years due to COVID restrictions.
Are you an international graduate whose post-graduate work permit is about to expire?
Are you visiting Canada and are interested in obtaining temporary work, perhaps with a view to applying for permanent residence at some point in the future?
IRCC has recently announced policies to help you and other people in similar situations. Let’s review the details.
- First of all, the pause in ITAs has meant that the backlog of high-skill workers’ (whether CEC, skilled trades, or skilled workers) applications has been reduced by more than half from 119,800 applications down to 48,000 applications with the result that your Express Entry application will begin to be processed much more quickly than has been the case over the past 2 years.
- Secondly, people with post-graduate work permits that expire between January 2022 and December 2022 will have the opportunity to apply for an open work permit of up to 18 months. This will give them more time to gather valuable work experience and a permanent job offer which will allow them to apply for permanent residence.
- Thirdly, decisions on permanent residence applications will be doubled so the number of ITAs offered will be (and in fact are) rising considerably. For example, in the first 3 months of 2022, 113,000 permanent resident visas were approved. This higher rate of decisions (mostly positive but of course some will be negative) will mean more ITAs over the coming years.
- Finally, while temporary work permits have been doubled over the past few months, visitors to Canada who have been able to apply for a temporary work permit without having to leave Canada since August of 2020, will have this policy extended until the end of February 2023.
The reason for this is the great demand for skilled labour in Canada’s economy. With aging baby boomers retiring at an increasing rate and with new industries and start ups as well as established industries desperately needing skilled workers, it was inevitable that Canada would have to continue to accommodate their immigration policy to meet this need.
As well, the Ministry of Employment, Workforce Development, & Disability Inclusion has announced further measures for Temporary Foreign Workers. It’s called the TFW Program Workforce Solutions Roadmap. The program was launched in 2021 in order to help temporary workers stay in Canada and apply for permanent residence. Although it has been closed to new applications since November of 2021, the following changes have been announced:
- Applicants won’t have to stay in Canada while their application is being processed.
- Applicants can apply for an open work permit which will be valid until 2024 while they wait for their application to be finalized.
- Applicants’ immediate family members outside of Canada will be able to apply for open work permits, as long as they were included in the principal applicant’s original application.
Further changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers TFW Program Workforce Solutions Roadmap include:
- There is now no limit to the number of low-wage positions in seasonal industries like fish and seafood processing and the duration of these seasonal jobs has been increased from 180 days to 270 days – that is from 6 months to 9 months.
- LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessments) are now valid for 18 months rather than 6 months.
- The maximum length of employment for the High-wage stream and Global Talent stream is now 3 years, up from 2 years.
- In 7 designated sectors with proven labour shortages – such as accommodation or food services – up to 30% of their workforce can now be under the TFW Program for low-wage positions of 1 year duration.
- All other employers in other sectors can now hire up to 20% of their workforce in low-wage positions under the TFW program, up from 10%.
As a closing thought, keep this in mind. Around 95,000 post-graduation work permits will expire between January 31 and December 31 in 2022. While around half of these recent graduates have already applied for permanent residence or for other work permits, IRCC estimates that around 50,000 recent graduates will benefit from these new measures.
So, stay tuned for further details in the weeks and months ahead!