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New Study Reveals Canadian Immigration Biases

March 2017, 24
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New Study Reveals Canadian Immigration Biases
The latest Statistics Canada report has revealed interesting data about Canada’s immigration system under the policies of the last few decades. Currently, there is a shift towards migrant workers, the number of temporary foreign workers achieving permanent residency has increased from 9 per cent to 21 per cent.

A few decades ago – in the 1990’s, around 9 per cent of temporary foreign workers gained permanent residency. By the end of 2014, this had increased to 21 percent.

One out of five foreign workers now becomes a permanent resident.

The Canadian immigration system increasingly favours temporary migrants to meet changing labor market needs. Previously the system focused on long-term labor and population growth where migrants could enter having already been granted permanent residency.  A more temporary based system allows labor when it’s needed but an easy route for Canada to restrict migrant numbers when the labor market is not so buoyant.

There is concern temporary migrants find themselves stuck in poor employment conditions, afraid of losing valuable employment, whilst trying to obtain permanent residency through one of Canada’s immigration streams. This is particularly true for low-skilled workers who have fewer routes available for permanent immigration.

The more flexible temporary foreign worker route, where many can go on to apply for permanent residency, prevented the issue of highly skilled workers being granted residency before gaining permanent employment. When they traveled to Canada, some ended up in lower-skilled vacancies when higher skilled jobs were not available.

The new study by Statistics Canada is the first to more thoroughly examine Canada’s immigration policies and their outcomes. It comes before the imminent federal budget which is likely to include changes to Canada’s temporary foreign worker programs.

Recently the Express Entry system has seen a lower threshold for Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points and more candidates being invited at each Express Entry draw. Though the Express Entry system is a route more tailored to higher skilled workers.

The number of temporary and migrant workers in Canada, including those working via intra-company transfers, has tripled since the start of this decade and is now at more than 500,000. The figure for permanent settlement is currently around 260,000 per year. Higher skilled workers have declined from 67 percent in the late 1990’s to 40 percent a decade later. 

New immigration programs such as the Canadian Experience Class and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) are designed to help individuals who have studied or worked in Canada already, giving migrant workers more options to gain permanent status. 

The study has shown that more low-skilled workers who arrived between 2005 and 2009 became permanent residents than did higher skilled workers. Many low-skilled workers are achieving residency through the PNP program.

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