The TR to PR Pathway was announced by the Canadian government in April 2021. The program allowed essential workers and international graduates to apply for Canadian permanent residence. 80,000 applications were accepted by Immigration, Refugee, Citizenship Canada (IRCC) before the program terminated in November 2021.

On May 11, 2022, Canada’s Parliament passed a motion requiring Immigration Minister Sean Fraser to develop a strategy for a new immigration path that would assist existing temporary workers and international students in becoming permanent residents more easily.

On September 20, the new strategy was revealed by Minister Fraser.

The outcome:

There is no new immigration program for workers and students in Canada.

Minister Fraser’s plan does not involve developing a new immigration program. Instead, it focuses on broadening or changing current pathways to better assist temporary workers and international students who want to stay in Canada permanently.

The strategy for increasing transitions to permanent residency is based on five key pillars.

The five pillars included in the strategy are expected to make it simpler for workers and students already in Canada to get permanent residence status. But what are they?

Pillar 1

Make use of record-high immigration targets

Pillar 1’s objective is to increase immigration levels targets set forth in the 2022-2024 Immigration Levels Plan in order to supply Canada with a larger, permanent workforce. This plan provides more opportunities for temporary workers to become permanent residents, which will help address labour shortages and fuel our post-pandemic economic growth.

Canada plans to welcome more immigrants than ever before in the next three years. In recent years, the number of new permanent residents admitted into the country has been on the rise, with over 430,000 expected this year and a projected increase to more than 450,000 by 2024.

Pillar 2

Adjust the Express Entry system

Pillar 2 aims to improve the Express Entry system by enhancing flexibility in immigration selection tools under Express Entry, through recent amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The Minister will now be able to address labour market demands and regional economic priorities, as well as increase Francophone immigration by selecting more candidates with certain qualifications, such as in-Canada experience.

Furthermore, the Department will analyze the Comprehensive Ranking System requirements under Express Entry – like points rewarded for Canadian work experience and education, language ability, and a job offer.

The modifications to Express Entry could have a significant influence on who is invited through the system. The effects of these changes will be more evident in 2023.

Pillar 3

Improve the transition, from temporary to permanent residence

Pillar 3, Minister Fraser has outlined four ways to help smooth the process of transition for essential workers in high-demand occupations, from temporary to permanent residence:

  • adopt the latest version of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) for 2021, which expands permanent immigration eligibility to include a number of in-demand occupations.
  • improve newcomers' access to information, ensuring that they have the necessary qualifications and connecting them to federal and provincial or territorial programs.
  • finding new and innovative ways to support essential workers who are in demand, like reducing obstacles for physicians and; introducing improvements to pilot programs in order to support transitions to permanent residence for those working in the occupations of in-home caregiving and the agri-food sector.

Pillar 4

Support communities in attracting and retaining newcomers

Pillar 4 aims to support communities in attracting and retaining newcomers, specifically including Francophone (French) immigration. Outside Quebec, the government will support Francophone minority communities through policies that aim to fulfil a 4.4% French-speaking immigration goal by 2023.

Furthermore, a new Municipal Nominee Program is being created to help municipalities attract and keep newcomers in order to address their local labour needs. The Government also continues to collaborate with provinces and territories, as well as employers, on new ways to attain permanent residency.

Pillar 5

Increase processing capacity

Finally, Pillar 5 of the plan aims to increase processing capacity, enhance client experience, and update the immigration system via technological advancements. The goal of these initiatives is to expedite the processing of permanent residence applications.

Minister Fraser claims that these shortened processing times will allow “newcomers to Canada to be permanent residents as soon as possible.”

Canada’s Immigration Department has fallen considerably behind in terms of processing immigration applications. The average processing time for most immigration programs exceeds IRCC’s goals.

In August 2022, the department took measures to regain control of application processing. The plan was to hire up to 1,250 additional employees for IRCC. If successful, this plan should have most immigration programs running smoothly by the middle of 2023.

Conclusion

It is clear that the Canadian government is making efforts to improve the immigration process, with the aim of reducing processing times for temporary residents, including temporary foreign workers and students on their new permanent residency pathway.

The government’s plan to reduce processing times for permanent resident applications is ambitious, however, it remains to be seen whether these measures will be successful in achieving this goal. The effects of these changes will be more evident in 2023.