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Strength of Temporary Overseas Workers who gain PR in Canada increases as per a Study

February 2018, 20
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The new report of Statistics Canada shows that many immigrants who arrive in Canada as temporary overseas workers stay longer and obtain permanent residence.

It goes by the name “Just how temporary are temporary foreign workers?”, and looks at data for four groups of temporary foreign workers in the age range of 18 to 64 years who got a work permit between 1990 and 2009. Collectively, the groups stand for more than 1.3 million work permit holders.

The study suggests that a majority of TFWs, left the country in a span of within two years of getting their first work permit, but there was a tendency among recent arrivals to stay longer. The duration of their stay was stringently regulated, despite the common misconception, that host countries do not have sufficient control over the duration of stay of TFWs. It is restricted by the regulations which govern the terms of work permit holders.

To be able to work in Canada as a TFW, a job offer is mandatory. Receiving permanent residence is possible without having a job offer, through the Express Entry system of Canada

Policies assisting TFWs transition to PR

The focus of study of the report were TFWs who arrived in Canada by using the programs which are now grouped under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program having Seasonal Agricultural Workers, Live-in Caregivers, and Low-Skilled workers, and high-skilled professionals, the International Mobility Program having high-skilled professionals, professionals working under international agreements and as research cum studies work permit holders.

The study considered the variables to know the impact on length of stay among TFWs in these two groups. The variables under the subject were source-country economic and social conditions, individual demographic characteristics, host-country institutional factors, and local and regional socio-economic conditions.

The policies and regulations of Host-country were crucial for the length and type of their stay. The expansion of stay among fresh arrivals began in the late 1990s as Canada increased its reliance on TFWs and the enlarged the pathways to attain permanent residence.

Pathways to PR

The pathways to the permanent residence were more for high-skilled temporary workers. It is a reflection of the fact that selection system of immigration rewarded candidates for their education, work experience in the country and proficiency in the official language. There was again in work experience as a TFW in Canada was desirable and had eligibility under the Canadian Experience Class and in the score of Ranking System in the federal Express Entry. Preference is given to such work experience in many Provincial Nominee Programs, which permit the provinces and territories to seek the nomination of a fixed number of immigrants every year.

The participants of Live-in Caregiver Program were able to apply for PR after completing two years of full-time work. However, the same alternative is not available for seasonal agricultural workers, who are required to make an exit from the country after completing eight months.  

The study revealed the fact that the pathways to PR for low-skilled workers can be sought by using provincial or territorial nomination programs, which meet the local labor requirements.

Country of origin

The Country of origin plays a major role to determine the duration of stay of TFWs in Canada. The citizens of countries with low level of economic development and social stability stayed longer as temporary residents or became permanent residents when compared to the citizens of prosperous and stable countries.

The study also revealed that by the completion of five years of acquiring the first work permit, 42.8 percent TFWs from low per capita GDP countries obtained permanent residence. 7.4 percent of TFWs from countries with high per capita GDP obtained permanent residence. Social stability was a factor in the length of stay, and 37.9 percent of TFWs from low social stable countries gained permanent resident status within five years.

Citizens of countries with less development and reduced stability benefitted from TFWs in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, Live-in Caregiver Program, and the Low-Skill Pilot. The workers in these programs stayed longer and returned after a few months.

Individual characteristics, besides regional socio-economic conditions, did not have a major association with the duration of the stay. Workers arriving in the age group of 25 to 44 years stayed longer as temporary/permanent residents compared to younger/older age groups.

The share of TFWs who received PR was high between the second and fifth year after getting the first work permit.

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