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Ottawa makes massive data change on temporary foreign worker numbers

June 24, 2023

By Tri-Cities News |

The federal government has revised more than two decades of immigration data, saying that “technical difficulties” led to bloated figures for a subset of temporary foreign workers.

Slightly more than one million people held work permits through the International Mobility Program at the end of last year, an increase of 48 per cent from 2021, according to figures that were published by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in February.

But recently, IRCC updated those numbers – and they are significantly different. Now, the federal government says that roughly 675,000 people held IMP work permits at the end of 2022, a decline of about 340,000 from the earlier dataset. The figures for all previous years, dating back to 2000, were also reduced.

Globe and Mail journalists recently discovered the revisions. The federal immigration department did not publish the new figures with an explanation for why they had changed so much.

IRCC spokesperson Matthew Krupovich said in a statement that the department experienced “technical difficulties” when producing the figures. The current numbers, he said, are “accurate.”

The Globe and Mail asked IRCC for a deeper explanation of these issues, but has yet to receive a response.

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