By Peregrine

On 1 November 2017, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced Canada’s immigration plan. The plan breaks with practice of previous years by laying out immigration targets for the next three years.

  • The plan of 310,000 new permanent residents in 2018, growing to 330,000 in 2019 and 340,000 by 2020, will meet the government’s target of close to 1% of the Canadian population. Over three years, this represents an increase of close to 15% on the number welcomed in 2016 (296,000).
  • For economic class immigrants, the total number will increase from 155,994 admitted in 2016 to a target of 195,800 by 2020 (an increase of 25%).
  • Within the total number of economic class immigrants, the number of highly skilled immigrants (under the Federal High Skills Program) will increase from 60,000 admitted in 2016 to; 74,900 in 2018; 81,400 in 2019 and; 85,800 in 2020 (an increase of 43%).

Background

Recently, Canada has introduced several measures to encourage immigration:

  • In December 2016, the Canadian government cancelled a regulation that restricted most temporary foreign workers from staying in Canada for more than four years.
  • From 28 April 2017, the Government of Canada removed the condition that applied to some sponsored spouses or partners of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to live with their sponsor for two years in order to keep their permanent resident status.
  • From 12 June 2017, the Global Skills Strategy encompasses two new work permit exemptions for short-term work, and two-week work permit processing for certain highly-skilled occupations.
  • Provisionally effective from 21 September 2017, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union includes several provisions for the entry of short-term business visitors and temporary foreign workers.
  • From 11 October 2017, the residency requirement for citizenship eligibility was reduced from four to three out of five years. Credit is now given for time spent in Canada as a temporary resident (up to 365 days) prior to becoming a permanent resident, and only applicants between 18 and 54 years of age are now required to meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship. Previously, applicants between 14 and 64 years of age had to meet the language and knowledge requirements.
  • From 24 October 2017, the Canadian government reset the age of dependency back to “under 22”, to allow dependent children aged 19, 20 and 21 to accompany foreign residents.

Action Items

  • Employers looking to hire foreign nationals in Canada should contact their immigration specialist to understand how these changes may affect their plans.