As part of Canada’s recovery from the Covid pandemic, Canadian employers are trying to fill thousands of skilled job positions, in many industries. To address Canada’s labour shortage, new immigration measures have been announced.
While the main focus of these measures is to attract skilled workers to fill labour needs, these measures also speed up and facilitate immigration administration processes, as well as assist foreign nationals who are looking to achieve permanent residence status.
To help address the labour shortage, these new measures and extensions of policies are being implemented to facilitate skilled workers, current and former international students, and others, including those following the temporary resident to permanent resident pathway, to continue contributing to Canadian workplaces.
Temporary Increase of Work Hours for International Students
The Canadian government lifted the weekly limit of 20 hours that international students can work off of campus. Previously, study permits put a cap on off-campus work hours at 20 hours.
This temporary pilot project is set to run from November 15, 2022 to December 31, 2023, as announced by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship.
It is not expected that all international students will be working full time throughout schooling, although it is likely that many will take advantage of this hourly limit increase to work full time through scheduled school breaks.
While this guideline change comes as a result of attempting to address the labour shortage, it provides a valuable benefit to international students, as well. This increase will help international students provide for themselves while studying. It also enables them to gain valuable work experience.
Finally, this protects international students from exploitation from an individual employer that may pressure them to work over the 20-hour limit without protection or pay.
Express Entry Draws
Express Entry draws had been temporarily halted during the Covid pandemic. Invitations to eligible foreign national workers to apply to become permanent residents under the Canadian experience class, federal skilled worker class and federal skilled trades class, were paused.
In April 2022, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced that the pause would be ended, and, in early July, Express Entry draws started again, with invitations for eligible candidates to apply for permanent residence going out.
The Express Entry mechanism allows candidates from certain immigration programs to apply for permanent residence; it is the method in which the Government of Canada handles these applications for permanent residency from skilled workers.
Immigration candidates are ranked and selected through this process. Candidates must submit a profile to be assessed and ranked; then, at certain intervals, applicants with the highest rankings are invited to apply for permanent residence.
Express Entry is the mechanism by which candidates can apply, but it is not an immigration program itself. Candidates must be part of an immigration program that is managed by Express Entry, such as the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canadian Experience Class Program, Provincial Nominee Program, and Federal Skilled Trades Program.
Candidates under one of these programs are now eligible again to receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent residency.
Student Permits – Post Graduation Work Permit
Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada also announced a new temporary measure that affects recent international graduates with expiring temporary status.
Former international students that are currently working in Canada, under a post-graduation work permit that expires in 2022, are eligible. Temporarily, these graduates are being allowed to stay in Canada for up to 18 months longer.
This additional open work permit time will allow these recent graduates to gain even more work experience in Canada. It also provides these former international students an improved possibility of qualifying for permanent residency, while helping to address labour shortages in Canada.
Many former foreign students in Canada end up becoming permanent residents. In 2021, over 88,000 of these students moved directly from a post-graduation work permit to permanent status.
Temporary Resident to Permanent Status Work Permit Extensions
Also announced, in April 2022, was a new public policy about issuing open work permits for those applying to become permanent resident applicants under the temporary resident to permanent resident pathway. The policy came into effect on June 6, 2022.
Now, those who are waiting for a permanent residence application decision, and who have applied for an open work permit, will be able to get an open work permit that is valid until the end of 2024. The purpose of having work permits valid for a longer period is to ensure that applicants do not need to apply to extend a temporary status again before their permanent residence applications are finalized.
Immediate family members of a principal applicant, who are outside Canada and included in the applicant’s permanent residence application, are now eligible for their own open work permit. This measure is aimed at helping reunify families.
With new guidelines, international students in Canada are temporarily able to work off campus for over 20 hours a week, while enrolled in an active educational program.
Get Assistance With Your Application and Immigration Status
If you believe you may qualify under these new measures to address Canada’s labour shortage or have any questions about them, Oro Immigration Services offers the highest standards of professional immigration consultation services and can help you.
We can guide you throughout the process, and help you with your applications. We can offer expert assistance to those seeking temporary resident status or permanent residence in Canada.