The new year is here – what does that mean for Canadian immigration? From higher overall targets, to changes to how economic immigrants are selected, to an updated National Occupation Classification (NOC), to new polices for students and spouses of workers – we have got it covered! Make sure to follow us on social media so you can keep on top of the changes as they happen.
2023-2025 Immigration Targets
Excellent news – in 2022, Canada welcomed over 405,000 newcomers! This is the most Canada has EVER welcomed in a single year. And the numbers will continue to grow. As part of the Immigration Levels Plan, the government has set the following targets:
- 465,000 permanent residents in 2023
- 485,000 permanent residents in 2024
- 500,000 permanent residents in 2025
The plan has a long-term focus on economic growth, with about 60% of planned admissions to be via the Economic Class by 2025. This includes the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Trades as well as business and provincial programs.
There will be a focus on attracting newcomers to different regions of the country, including small towns and rural communities – which are traditionally not where newcomers tend to go.
Why such high targets?
We need people! Immigration accounts for almost 100% of Canada’s labour force growth, and, by 2032, it’s projected to account for 100% of Canada’s population growth.
On top of this, Canada’s aging population means that the worker-to-retiree ratio is expected to shift from 7- to-1 50 years ago to 2-to-1 by 2035.
The Plan also confirmed that there will be “new features in the Express Entry system to welcome newcomers with the required skills and qualifications in sectors facing acute labour shortages.” This includes “health care, manufacturing, building trades and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).”
Although no details have yet been released, we expect that this means there will be occupation-specific draws, targeting those who have experience in occupations that are facing a labour shortage in Canada. Immigration Canada have done this in the past – before Express Entry existed.
These NOC-targeted draws in the Express Entry system are expected to be similar to how Provinces have been inviting candidates lately. Technical implementation of this is expected in the first quarter of 2023 but the exact date is still unknown. We are eagerly anticipating the details!
Express Entry draws are usually every two weeks. We are in a little period of flux right now though as there has not been a draw since November 23, 2022, when the threshold was 491 and 4750 people were invited. We are expecting a draw any day but of course do not know when it will happen. Watch this space!
The NOC 2021 changeover
The new National Occupational Classification (NOC) was introduced on November 16th 2022 and is now in use across the board. There were glitches to the Express Entry system, related to the new NOC codes, which is widely believed to be the reason for the recent Express Entry delays.
Applicants need to ensure that their NOC is updated in their Express Entry profile, or they will NOT be eligible to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA)
Provincial and territorial nomination programs have also been affected – all applicants have had to update or even resubmit their profile.
Working with a study permit
If you are an international student and have submitted your application for a study permit on or before October 7th 2022, then there is no longer a limit on the hours you can work while class is in session. This policy is in place until December 31, 2023. You must have a study permit with off-campus work authorization and be studying fulltime at a designated learning institution (or part-time during your final academic session). Full requirements and details can be found here.
Family work permits
Great news for family members of work permit holders. Another temporary policy will be introduced in January 2023, whereby Canada will expand eligibility to work in Canada to spouses and working-age children through a phased approach for workers at ALL skill levels. This is a huge benefit to spouses of semi or low-skilled workers who previously were not eligible for an open work permit.
It is estimated that family members of more than 200,000 foreign workers will then be able to begin working in Canada. We are still waiting on specific details of this program.
After massive delays and a huge backlog mostly caused by COVID, Immigration Canada have said they are getting back to their published processing times. Let’s cross our fingers and hope this proves to be the case.
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