CIMM - Temporary to permanent residence pathways - June 2, 2021
To strengthen Canada’s economy and as part of efforts to build back better, my department has created new streams to permanent residence for graduates and skilled workers who are already in Canada.
New temporary pathways recognize the contributions of people already here and working – international graduates with education and experience to fuel innovation and growth; and essential workers in health, and on the front lines foundational to our economy.
Dedicated streams for French-speaking and bilingual individuals underline the importance of francophone immigration to communities outside of Quebec.
IRCC continues to process applications for permanent residence in all lines of business, and where authorized, welcome newcomers from overseas. These include reuniting families and resettling the most vulnerable refugees.
TR-PR Pathways Initiative
On May 6, 2021, my department launched an extraordinary and innovative pathway to permanence for foreign nationals who are already physically present in Canada.
This Temporary Pathway to Permanent Residence helps retain the talent of those already here in support of economic recovery and will support the achievement of overall admission targets by quickly increasing the inventory of potential permanent residents. We also introduced a supplementary measure to help expedite processing under this pathway by exempting clients who are assessed as low risk to public health from the requirement to have a medical examination.
Other Permanent Resident Applicants
Invitations to apply through the Express Entry system have focused on candidates nominated by a province or territory, as well as candidates who are eligible for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). This included issuing an invitation to apply to all candidates in the Express Entry pool who were eligible to apply for CEC on February 13 2021. This large “draw” from Express Entry resulted in invitations to apply for permanent residence being sent to over 27,000 candidates, over 90% of whom are already in Canada and employed.
All successful CEC candidates have Canadian work experience and have proven that they can contribute to the Canadian economy. Individuals who qualify for this program have high human capital, at least one year of skilled Canadian work experience, and sufficient proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages.
IRCC continues to process applications for permanent residence in all lines of business and we have employed various measures to stay on track to meet this year’s admissions levels.
Those excluded from the TR to PR initiative:
Out of status and undocumented individuals
This pathway seeks to help accelerate permanent residence for temporary foreign workers working in essential positions and international graduates already living and working in Canada.
For this reason, only those with valid temporary resident status can be eligible to obtain permanent resident status pursuant to this temporary pathway. Out of status and undocumented foreign nationals, including asylum claimants, are ineligible. It is anticipated that there are sufficiently high numbers of eligible applicants in Canada with valid temporary resident status to meet and exceed the established intake caps.
Opening this pathway up to those without status could be a draw for new undocumented workers to enter Canada with the hopes of a similar pathway in the future. This would increase their vulnerability and jeopardize the managed migration model that Canada relies upon.
Those who were unable to apply because the cap is full
While space remains for temporary residents to apply under the worker and francophone streams, the graduate stream cap had been reached within approximately 25 hours of being open.
Several permanent resident pathways continue to be available to graduates in Canada with work experience, including the Canada Experience Class under Express Entry and the Provincial Nominee Program.
Background: Undocumented Construction worker pilot
It is difficult to know the exact figure; however, limited data suggests there are up to 500,000 undocumented workers in Canada with half living in the Greater Toronto Area.
There is demand for workers in the construction industry – 40% of Ontario’s construction jobs in 2017 were in the Greater Toronto Area and 22% of workforce expected to retire by 2026.
The Temporary Public Policy for Out-of-Status Construction Workers in the Greater Toronto Area recognizes the economic contributions of these workers and aims to address their vulnerability due to their lack of immigration status.
This public policy, launched on January 2, 2020, is an opportunity to: support Canada’s economy in an in-demand sector; regularize a vulnerable group who has been working and contributing; and ensure immigration status and workplace protections.
The public policy is a small, one-time initiative that provides an opportunity for up to 500 construction workers without status (excluding refugee claimants and failed refugees) to become eligible for permanent residence, as well as their family members in and outside Canada.
Applicants must use the Temporary Pathway to Permanent Residence online application system, except in cases where an applicant requires accommodation due to a disability.
Given pandemic-related processing challenges, accepting paper applications for this new pathway was not feasible.
The intake caps for the worker streams remain open, meaning that many individuals with work experience in an essential occupation, including those with limited internet, have an opportunity to apply.
Those who are unable to meet the language proficiency (including some Seasonal Agricultural Workers)
Not all temporary residents in Canada will meet the eligibility requirements of the new pathway.
While the official language proficiency requirement may be a barrier for some potential applicants, it is critical to successful integration and positive economic outcomes. It helps ensure that new permanent residents can navigate the local labour market, and remain resilient to changing economic circumstances should they need to find a new job, if an initial employer-employee relationships breaks down.
Language proficiency requirements:
Official language proficiency is a strong predictor of economic establishment.
Requiring official language proficiency in economic immigration programs facilitates settlement and integration in Canada and ensures that new permanent residents have the language skills to navigate the local labour market, and remain resilient to changing economic circumstances should they need to find a new job, if an initial employer-employee relationships breaks down.
Graduates from a Canadian Post-Secondary Institution:
Language tests are generally not required for IRCC to issue a study permit.
While some post-secondary institutions assess language proficiency prior to accepting a student into a program, this is not done consistently or through a test approved for economic immigration. This inconsistency, coupled with the elapsed period of time between enrollment and application for permanent residence, renders it an unreliable measure of language proficiency for an economic program.
Most international graduates from Canadian post-secondary institutions should have no trouble achieving the necessary CLB 5 across all language skill areas. Having completed education in one of Canada’s official languages is not accepted as proof of official language proficiency.
In-person language tests
IRCC requires designated language testing organizations to meet and maintain high standards of integrity with respect to testing procedures, including but not limited to test security, test sites, candidate registration, test writing, test scoring, and reporting on results.
At present, approved tests by the four IRCC-designated organizations are delivered and monitored in-person at language testing centres. This is to maintain the security and integrity of the test and test results obtained, as well as to mitigate against identity fraud.
Two-year language test validity
Proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages is a key determinant of labour market success. Applicants to most economic immigration programs must demonstrate that they meet minimum language requirements.
Language ability can change significantly over time. For this reason, language test results have a two-year validity period which aligns with that of the designated language testing organizations.
IRCC is aware of the difficulties faced by prospective applicants in registering to English language testing sessions.
Demand for in-Canada language testing surged following the announcement of the temporary pathway. Designated language testing organizations have responded by increasing the number of sessions available between mid-April and early summer, 2021.
Many foreign nationals with experience in a higher-skilled occupation saw the large Canadian Experience Class round of invitations (where over 27,300 individuals were invited to apply) in February 2021 as a sign that to be in the pool with a lower score was a feasible pathway, and they sought language testing to submit their Express Entry profile.
Bridging mechanism for people whose work permits expire after submission, but before being granted PR
This initiative was designed as a temporary pathway recognizing the unique circumstances of the pandemic.
Applicants must ensure that they maintain their temporary resident status and authorization in Canada while awaiting decision on their permanent resident application.
As with other temporary workers, individuals who have applied to this pathway may apply for new work permits or to extend their existing status. There are a number of facilitative measures in place to enable people to renew their work permits and extend their status, and we hope candidates will avail themselves of these.
System Issues on the launch of the application portal
The Department put new IT infrastructure in place using an agile approach and meet the expedited timeframes for implementation, enabling applicants to apply using an electronic application.
The IT system was stable following launch and the majority of the errors encountered immediately on program opening were experienced by potential applicants who were attempting to apply from outside of Canada.
Our e-payment system was functioning at reduced capacity due to the increased volumes.
Many applicants took advantage of the opportunity to pay their fees in advance of program opening and did not experience any difficulties.
The issue was resolved within 24 hours. For those who were attempting to pay immediately following launch, my Department provided workarounds to enable them to submit their application within the intake cap.
IRCC expects that final decisions will be made starting this fall. Admissions are expected in both 2021 and 2022.
Applicant to this new pathway will have demonstrated language proficiency and labour market attachment. These factors will support the economic establishment and outcomes of new permanent residents.
Supporting facts and figures
Uptake for the new Temporary Pathway to Permanent has been strong, with the intake cap for the international graduate stream being reached in approximately 25 hours.
As of May 26, 2021, 10,148 applications have been received in the essential workers stream and 1,518 have been received in the health-related workers stream. The streams targeting French-speaking and bilingual candidates is uncapped. Application intake is ongoing and will continue until the program ends on November 5, 2021.
New Temporary Pathway to Permanent Residence
The new pathway opened for intake on May 6, 2021, which created three new streams for foreign nationals in Canada, outside of Quebec, to apply for Permanent Residence:
International graduates – requires language proficiency of CLB 5, an eligible credential from a Canadian post-secondary institution, current employment in any occupation, and temporary resident status in Canada.
Temporary workers (stream A – health related work experience; stream B other essential work experience) – requires language proficiency of CLB 4, at least 12 months of eligible work experience in the past three years, current employment in any occupation, and temporary resident status in Canada.
The intake cap for international graduates was reached on May 7th.
Since 2010, official language test results from designated organizations, arranged and paid for by the applicant, have been the only evidence of official language proficiency accepted by the Department for the purposes of immigration to Canada. This universal approach to language testing has been found to be the most fair, transparent, objective, consistent and accurate way to evaluate an applicant’s language proficiency (speaking, writing, listening, and reading).
There are currently four designated language testing organizations which offer approved tests for the purposes of immigration to Canada, two in English and two in French.
Prospective applicants for immigration to Canada who are native speakers on English or French are also subject to the same requirement to provide a language test result from a designated testing organization.
When universal testing requirements were introduced in 2010, serious consideration was given to providing a narrow exemption to language testing for native speakers; however, research and analysis concluded that there is no clear and fully defensible definition of native English or French speaker. Therefore, in the interest of fairness, the decision was made to treat all applicants the same. This approach is still maintained today.
Immigration Medical Examinations:
Medical screening is required for all applicants for permanent residence, in order for IRCC to determine admissibility on health grounds. Immigration Medical Examinations are performed by third-party Panel Physicians on behalf of IRCC. In some parts of Canada, particularly areas that typically receive fewer immigrants than larger jurisdictions, Panel Physician capacity is not sufficient to meet the current demand for in-Canada medical examinations. In order to ease the pressure on Canada’s panel physicians, IRCC has approved a temporary public policy for the TR to PR pathway which exempts certain low risk temporary residents, in-Canada, from the requirement to submit a new immigration medical exam if they have already previously completed an IME. This public policy will create operational efficiencies without introducing significant public health or program integrity risks.
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