Mohanad Moetaz - 14 November, 2020
Canada is looking to offer more permanent residence pathway options to temporary residents who are currently in the country.
Immigration minister Marco Mendicino told Bloomberg that the Canadian federal government will make an announcement soon.
This spells good news to many temporary residents including international students, temporary foreign workers and asylum seekers.
Mendicino said it was important to identify ways to provide better pathways to permanent residence. This is to help tackle the economic woes Canada is currently facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic and low immigration levels.
Lower immigration levels means a slowing population growth, a shrinking labour force and therefore, low economic growth.
After a net increase of 190,000 temporary residents in 2019, that number fell significantly to 18,221 in the first half of 2020.
Canada is on its way to welcome a total of 200,000 new immigrants in 2020. That number is much less than the 341,000 target that was set prior to the pandemic.
This has slowed Canada’s population growth to 0.1 per cent. In comparison, Canada usually has a population growth of over one per cent every year.
Mendicino maintains that helping temporary residents become permanent residents will address Canada’s needs to respond to COVID-19. In addition, it will address Canada’s demographic challenges such as an aging population and a low birth rate.
This means that a large portion of the population will reach retirement age within a decade. Canada will look to foreign talent in Canada and abroad to prevent labour shortages from occurring.
Since talent from abroad will address a slowing economy as well as Canada’s demographic challenges, the government is making it easier for students and young people from other countries to work in Canada.
For example, Canada announced immigration measures to support Hong Kong residents to come to Canada by obtaining an open work permit.
Canada has also opened up its borders to students who are enrolled in institutions that have coronavirus readiness plans.
Benefits to offering permanent residence options
The benefits of offering more permanent residence pathways are twofold. First, this will address the low immigration levels due to the coronavirus pandemic. In turn this will help with economic growth.
Second, this will benefit Canada in the long term because candidates who already have Canadian experience tend to have very strong labour market outcomes.
Since many of the candidates already have Canadian work experience, have already settled in well, and have high English or French language ability, this results in quicker labour market integration, as well as higher wages further down the line.