IRCC Announces New Measures to Address Canada’s Labour Shortages

In a recent news release, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) revealed a new set of measures to help tackle Canada’s labour shortage. One of the things addressed was the Express Entry draw that has been on pause. The most popular immigration stream is set to resume soon, with invitations for applying for a permanent residency sent out in early July.

To address the shortage, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser stated that “Canada needs to look at every option so that we have the skills and labour needed to fuel our growth.” Fraser said that he acknowledged the pressure felt “ in all sectors across the country”, and that the government is actively focused on providing more opportunities for applicants to build their lives in Canada.

Federal High-Skilled Stream to Resume in July

When the pandemic hit and travel restrictions were set, it delayed the processing of overseas applications, which then led to an increase in the size of the processing inventory. To manage that, the IRCC put a pause on processing outside-Canada applications and focused more on applications that came from within the country.

Federal high-skilled streams, including the Canadian experience class, federal skilled worker class and federal skilled trades class remain paused but will resume in early July. The IRCC says the new applications will be processed within 6 months.

International Graduates to Stay Longer in Canada

A new temporary policy regarding international graduates with expiring status has also been revealed. According to Minister Fraser, the new temporary policy will allow them to stay in Canada longer, so they can continue to gain work experience and have a better chance of qualifying for PR status.

Ex-international students who are currently in Canada and have a post-graduation work permit that expires between January and December 2022 will be eligible for an additional open work permit of up to 18 months starting in summer 2022. A simplified, expedited process is being explored by the IRCC, and details will be provided in the coming weeks.

More Than 100,000 Work Permits Processed So Far This Year

In the first quarter of 2022, the IRCC has processed nearly double the number of work permits compared to last year.

Recognizing that visitors in Canada might want to stay to find meaningful employment, the temporary public policy that was first introduced in August 2020 has now been extended until February 2023. Using this policy, visitors can apply for an employer-specific work permit without having to leave the country.

Temporary Resident to Permanent Resident Pathway Changes

Finally, new measures for those who applied for permanent residence through the Temporary Resident to Permanent Resident Pathway last year have also been announced. Even though new applications are no longer possible, the processing for ones already submitted will continue. However, starting today:

  • Applicants will no longer be required to remain in Canada while their application is being processed;
  • Applicants who apply for an open work permit while waiting for their permanent residence application to be finalized will be able to get work permits valid until the end of 2024; and
  • Immediate family members who are outside Canada and who were included in a principal applicant’s permanent residence application will be eligible for their own open work permit.