Canada is providing a new pathway to permanent residence for 500 out-of-status immigrants working in construction in the Greater Toronto Area.
The construction industry in the Greater Toronto Area is facing significant labour shortages and relies in part on an underground labour market comprised of out-of-status workers.
Out-of-status workers are those who came to Canada with a valid immigration status that has since lapsed, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation.
To address this issue, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will issue permanent resident status to 500 out-of-status construction workers and their families via a new temporary program managed in conjunction with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).
“Without status, these workers have continued to fill labour shortages, while contributing greatly to our society and economy,” the CLC said in a news release. “However, fear of detection, detainment, and deportation drives these workers and their families ‘underground,’ often limiting their access to social programs, and making them vulnerable to employer exploitation and abuse.”
Foreign nationals must have met the following criteria in order to be eligible for the program:
- Entered Canada legally as a temporary resident.
- Lived in Canada continuously for the past five years.
- Worked in the construction industry of the Greater Toronto Area (City of Toronto, Durham Region, Halton Region, Peel Region, York Region); and have accumulated three years of full-time construction work experience within the past five years.
- Provide evidence of CLB level 4 in English or French.
- Have a family member who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, or have a spouse, common-law partner or child in Canada;
- Have a referral letter signed by the Canadian Labour Congress.
- Not be inadmissible for any reason other than overstaying their temporary resident status and working without authorization.
The following occupations are eligible under the temporary program:
- Major Group 72 Trades and Skilled Transport and Equipment Operators
- Major Group 73 maintenance and equipment operation trades
- NOC 7441 - residential and commercial installers and servicers
- NOC 7521 - heavy equipment operators (except crane)
- NOC 7611 - construction trades helpers and labourers
The Canadian Labour Congress will open applications on its website on September 3, 2019. Applicants will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis.
Should more than 500 people apply, priority will be given to those with
- children in Canada
- a spouse or common-law partner in Canada
IRCC will begin processing applications referred to it by the Canadian Labour Congress on January 2, 2020.
Removal orders, where they exist, will be stayed for those approved through the program.