The main immigration developments of 2022
Canada’s immigration system saw many key developments in 2022 as the country dealt with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) continued to assess Canada’s economic and societal needs through immigration, resulting in some important new developments this year that could have a big impact on Canada’s immigration system. country’s immigration in 2023.
The Immigration Levels Plan
Perhaps the most impactful announcement of the year was the immigration levels plan. On November 1, IRCC announced its plan to welcome newcomers over the next three years. Canada will seek to welcome more than 1.45 million new immigrants between 2023 and 2025; through its economic, family, humanitarian and refugee components.
By 2025, the annual number of new immigrants will increase to 500,000. Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are also expected to overtake Express Entry as the leading pathway for economic immigration to Canada.
These are historic levels of immigration not seen since the previous century. They also talk about the importance of immigration as a strategy to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Express Entry resumes in 2022
This month of July saw the return of Express Entry draws for the first time since December 2020 – a turning point in Canada’s COVID recovery.
The Express Entry system includes the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). Together, these programs welcome large numbers of economic immigrants each year.
International students able to work more than 20 hours per week
From November 15, 2022, international students can temporarily work more than 20 hours per week during school sessions. This development marked a huge shift from previous employment terms for students, which previously had a cap of 20 hours per week on a part-time basis, during college semesters.
Now, students can work an unlimited number of hours during academic semesters in off-campus part-time work, until December 31, 2023. This change was intended to address historic labor shortages in Canada, particularly in sectors that students regularly occupy (e.g. food services, retail and hospitality).
NOC 2021 Changes and Addition of Express Entry Eligibility
On November 16, 2022, Canada introduced the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 used to classify and describe occupations.
The main change was an update to the training, education, experience and responsibility (TEER) codes; and the addition of As a result, 16 newly eligible occupations were added to the Express Entry system, while . Three professions have also been removed from Express Entry eligibility due to the change.
This change has received more attention due to unforeseen issues following NOC changes in IRCC’s systems, affecting some Express Entry candidates.
New Brunswick announces new immigration pilot project
In early November, New Brunswick Immigration and Opportunity announced a new immigration pilot project to welcome essential workers to the province. The program, called the Pilot Project for Essential Workers of New Brunswick (PTNBC), was designed to meet the specific labor needs of New Brunswick and is distinguished by its objective of helping immigrants establish in the province.
The program is fulfilled by six selected employers in industries such as manufacturing, food production, agriculture and aquaculture; chosen for their existing immigrant settlement services. The NBCWP is part of a larger IRCC initiative to welcome newcomers to larger areas of Canada in need of people.
Families of LIMA-based work permit holders are now eligible to apply for open work permits
In response to historic labor shortages and a growing class of retirees leaving the workforce, IRCC has made an unprecedented policy shift to maximize the potential labor force already in Canada. : Families of LMIA-based work permit holders would now be eligible to apply for open work permits. (OWP).
OWPs allow holders to work for any employer in most industries. Alternatively, LMIA-based work permits are tied to a single employer in a specific industry.
The new initiative is expected to be rolled out in three distinct phases, starting in January 2023.
Express entry to target professions in 2023
On June 23, Bill C-19 was passed by both Houses of Parliament. The bill contains a provision that allows the Minister of Immigration to create groups within the Express Entry pool, based on policy objectives (such as in-demand occupations), and issue invitations to apply (ITA ) to these groups.
The objective of this bill is to take greater advantage of the Express Entry system to meet the needs of the Canadian labor market. While the policy change helps Canada better respond to labor shortages, it represents a change from the current system of issuing ITAs, which is based on Comprehensive Ranking Scores (CRS).
Megatrends as we approach 2023
It is possible that 2023 will be shaped by many of the significant changes brought about in 2022. These themes include:
- Renewed efforts to welcome newcomers to larger regions of Canada.
The expansion of the Provincial Nominee Program, the NBCWP, and the strength of the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) support this idea. These are possible indicators that IRCC will seek to welcome newcomers to less populated provinces, where aging populations need immigrants.
- A tendency to target specific occupations for immigration.
IRCC has already expressed its intention to pursue this strategy in 2023, in the context of record vacancies. Canada has removed barriers to permanent residency for doctors – one of the most in-demand professions in recent years – likely a growing theme as IRCC seeks to meet specific labor needs through immigration.
- A continuous movement towards maximizing the potential workforce in Canada.
Amid persistent labor shortages and the continued overqualification of immigrants, IRCC has already made changes to this end. Among these are new OWP eligibility for families of LMIA-based work permit holders and new financial investment in immigrant accreditation for healthcare workers. These changes reflect Canada’s interest in making better use of foreign talent already present in the country.