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New measures to address Canada’s labour shortage

May 11, 2022

By Government of Canada |

As Canada continues to recover from the pandemic, employers are actively looking to fill hundreds of thousands of vacant positions in all sectors across the country. Immigration is more important than ever to fuel Canada’s economy, as our strong economic growth is now outpacing our ability to find and keep workers. Canada is a top destination for global talent. We need to use this fact to ensure that businesses and employers have access to the skilled workers they need to grow and succeed.

Today, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced that Express Entry draws will soon resume and that invitations for candidates to apply for permanent residence will begin in early July.

Travel restrictions throughout most of 2020 and 2021 delayed the processing of overseas applications, which led to an increase in the size of the processing inventory. To manage this inventory, we temporarily paused invitations to apply under the federal high-skilled streams, including the Canadian experience class, federal skilled worker class and federal skilled trades class. Invitations to apply will resume in early July, and the vast majority of new applications will be processed within the 6-month service standard.

As a result of the temporary pause, the federal high-skilled processing inventory has been cut by more than half, decreasing from approximately 111,900 people in September 2021 to just 48,000 people by March 2022. This inventory will be further reduced by July 2022, allowing us to return to the service standards that our clients expect.

Minister Fraser also announced today a new temporary policy that will give recent international graduates with expiring temporary status an opportunity to stay in Canada longer, so that they can continue to gain work experience and have a better chance at qualifying for permanent residency. Starting in summer 2022, former international students who are in Canada and have a post-graduation work permit expiring between January and December 2022 will qualify for an additional open work permit of up to 18 months. We are exploring a simplified, expeditious process for this, and details will be made available in the weeks ahead.

These talented and skilled international graduates play a vital role in addressing our labour shortage, and those nearing the end of their post-graduation work permit are already well-integrated into Canada’s labour market and work in key industries across the country. Tens of thousands are able to successfully transition to permanent residence each year, including more than 157,000 former students who became permanent residents in 2021, with more than 88,000 of them transitioning directly from a post-graduation work permit to permanent status.

This additional open work permit will allow applicants to continue contributing to the Canadian economy, helping address our labour shortage while gaining valuable work experience and preparing their Express Entry profiles.

To help bring even more skilled workers quickly to Canada, we have doubled the number of permanent residence decisions made in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the same time period in 2021. From January 1, 2022 to March 31, 2022, we have made over 156,000 final decisions on permanent residence applications and, through these efforts, Canada welcomed over 113,000 new permanent residents in the first quarter of 2022.

We have also processed more than 100,000 work permit applications in the first quarter of 2022, nearly doubling the number processed over the same time period in 2021.

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