Updated: Temporary public policy to further facilitate access to permanent resident status for out-of-status construction workers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)

Background

On January 2, 2020, the Temporary Public Policy for Out-of-Status Construction Workers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) was implemented. That public policy was developed to recognize the economic contribution of long-term resident construction workers and has sought to regularize individuals who have been contributing to the Canadian economy by filling a regional labour market need. At the same time, that public policy was addressing the vulnerable position of these workers due to their lack of immigration status.

This temporary public policy has the same objectives and will further facilitate access to permanent resident status for 500 construction workers in the GTA plus their family members (the 500 application cap includes the principal applicants whose applications have already been approved under the Temporary Public Policy for Out-of-Status Construction Workers in the GTA).

Public Policy Considerations

Skilled trades, particularly those in construction, are and will continue to be in demand over the next several years in the GTA. The construction industry is facing significant labour shortages. A stable construction workforce will help ensure that housing and infrastructure projects are delivered. Reports indicate that this workforce has been supported for many years, in part, by long-term residents who have fallen out of immigration status and are operating in the underground economy.

Providing an opportunity to become permanent residents addresses the vulnerability of this undocumented population and allows them to continue to contribute to the construction sector with legal status. Many undocumented construction workers may be unaware of their employment rights or are hesitant to exercise them. These workers may not benefit from workplace regulations, such as health and safety inspections.

Given certain challenges encountered by this group of workers in the last year, issuing a more facilitative public policy would further incentivize this population to regularize their status in Canada.

As such, I hereby establish that, pursuant to my authority under section 25.2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the Act), that there are public policy considerations that justify the granting of permanent residence to principal applicants and their family members in Canada if these foreign nationals meet the applicable conditions (eligibility requirements) listed below. I further establish that there are public policy considerations that justify the granting of an exemption from the provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the Regulations) listed below to foreign nationals who are family members of the principal applicant who meet the conditions (eligibility requirements) for family members outside Canada.

Conditions (eligibility requirements) applicable to the principal applicants

Based on public policy considerations, delegated officers may grant permanent residence status to foreign nationals who meet the following conditions, up to a cap of 500 applications (the 500 cap includes principal applicants whose applications have already been approved under the Temporary Public Policy for Out-of-Status Construction Workers in the Greater Toronto Area).

Foreign National who:

  1. Legally entered Canada as a temporary resident;
  2. Has continuously resided in Canada for at least five years on the date of their application;
  3. At the time of the eligibility assessment by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), is working without authorization in the construction industry in the GTA and has accumulated, and be able to provide evidence of, three years full-time work experience within the past five years in construction in the GTA in the occupations referenced in Annex A;
  4. Has family (mother, father, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew or cousin) living in Canada who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, or has a spouse, common-law partner or child in Canada;
  5. Has a referral letter signed by the CLC attesting that the applicant meets the above eligibility conditions or a letter signed by the CLC attesting that the applicant meets the eligibility conditions of the Temporary Public Policy for Out-of-Status Construction Workers in the GTA; however, it is the delegated officer who will make the final determination whether the applicant meets the conditions (eligibility requirements); and
  6. The foreign national is not inadmissible other than pursuant to any of the following:
    1. paragraph 40(1)(a) of the Act for no other reasons than misrepresentation related to overstaying their temporary resident status and working without authorization;
    2. paragraph 41(a) of the Act for no other reasons than overstaying their temporary resident status and working without authorization;
    3. section 42 of the Act where the family member is inadmissible under 40(1)(a), 41(a) or 42 of the Act for no other reasons than overstaying their temporary resident status and working or studying without authorization.

Conditions (eligibility requirements) applicable to family members in Canada:

In-Canada family members of a principal applicant who applies for permanent residence under this public policy are eligible to be granted permanent residence pursuant to this public policy if they meet the following conditions:

  1. the foreign national is in Canada;
  2. the foreign national has been included as an accompanying family member in an application for permanent residence by a principal applicant under this public policy;
  3. the foreign national meets the definition of a “family member” in subsection 1(3) of the Regulations;
  4. The foreign national is not inadmissible other than pursuant to any of the following:
    1. paragraph 40(1)(a) of the Act for no other reasons than misrepresentation related to overstaying their temporary resident status and working or studying without authorization;
    2. paragraph 41(a) of the Act for no other reasons than overstaying their temporary resident status and working or studying without authorization;
    3. section 42 of the Act where the family member is inadmissible under 40(1)(a), 41(a) or 42 of the Act for no other reasons than overstaying temporary resident status and working or studying without authorization; and
  5. a delegated officer has determined that the principal applicant meets all conditions (eligibility requirements) pursuant to this public policy.

Conditions (eligibility requirements) applicable to family members outside Canada:

Based on public policy considerations, when processing an application for a permanent resident visa, delegated officers may grant an exemption from the requirements of the Regulations identified below when a foreign national outside Canada meets the following conditions:

  1. the foreign national has been included as an accompanying family member in an application for permanent residence by a principal applicant under this public policy;
  2. the foreign national meets the definition of family member in subsection 1(3) of the Regulations;
  3. the foreign national is not inadmissible other than pursuant to any of the following:
    1. paragraph 40(1)(a) of the Act for no other reasons than misrepresentation related to the foreign national having previously overstayed their temporary resident status and working or studying without authorization in Canada;
    2. section 42 of the Act where the family member is inadmissible under 40(1)(a), 41(a) and 42 of the Act for no other reasons than overstaying temporary resident status and working or studying without authorization; and
  4. a delegated officer has determined that the principal applicant meets all conditions (eligibility requirements) pursuant to this public policy.

Provisions of the Regulations for which an exemption may be granted to the family member abroad:

  1. paragraph 10(2)(c) of the Regulations – the requirement to indicate the class prescribed by these Regulations for which the application is made;
  2. paragraph 70(1)(a) of the Regulations – the requirement to apply for a permanent resident visa as a member of a class referred to in subsection 70(2) of the Regulations;
  3. paragraph 70(1)(c) of the Regulations – the requirement to be a member of an immigration class; and,
  4. paragraph 70(1)(d) of the Regulations – the requirement to meet the selection criteria and other requirements applicable to that class.

Granting of these exemptions will facilitate issuance of the permanent residence visa to these foreign nationals.

Principal applicants or family members who have made a refugee claim in Canada and failed refugee claimants are not eligible under this public policy. 

Approval in Principle: Once a delegated officer assesses that a foreign national meets conditions 1 to 6 applicable to principal applicants, except for the admissibility determination, this will result in an approval in principle under the public policy. Once approval in principle is received, a removal order, where one exists, will be stayed pursuant to section 233 of the Regulations. The stay of removal will be in effect until a final decision is made on the permanent residence application.

A Memorandum of Understanding between IRCC and the CLC must be valid for this temporary public policy to be in effect. If the Memorandum of Understanding is terminated, IRCC will return applications to the applicants and processing will cease.

A final assessment of admissibility will be conducted prior to granting of permanent residence or issuance of the permanent resident visa for overseas accompanying family members. For greater certainty, those with known inadmissibilities, other than those listed above, will not receive approval in principle

Fees: Any applicable fees, including fees for processing an application for permanent residence under subsection 25.2(1) of the Act as well as applicable Right of Permanent Residence Fee, must be paid.

Greater Toronto Area (GTA) as defined by Statistics Canada – Toronto Economic Region: City of Toronto, Durham Region, Halton Region, Peel Region, York Region.

Start and End Date:

This public policy takes effect on July 30, 2021, and applies to applications received by IRCC on or after that date. This public policy will end on January 2, 2023 or once 500 principal applicants (plus their accompanying family members) have been granted permanent residence, whichever comes first. As with all public policies, this public policy may be revoked by the Minister, without prior notice.

The Temporary Public Policy for Out-of-Status Construction Workers in the GTA that took effect on January 2, 2020 will terminate on July 29, 2021 and be replaced by the present public policy. Pending applications that were received by IRCC on or before July 29, 2021, that have not been finalized on July 29, 2021, will be processed under the Temporary Public Policy to Further Facilitate Access to Permanent Resident Status for Out-of-Status Construction Workers in the GTA.

Marco E.L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
Dated at Ottawa, May 24th, 2021

Annex A – Construction Industry Occupations Included in the Temporary Public Policy for Out-of-Status Construction Workers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)

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