Canada Is Implementing New Immigration Strategies To Reduce The Number Of Temporary Residents By 2027



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Following the 2023 implementation of Canada's Tech Talent Strategy, which seeks to attract more highly skilled workers in the tech industry with expanded immigration programs, Immigration Minister Marc...
Canada Immigration
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Following the 2023 implementation of Canada's Tech Talent Strategy, which seeks to attract more highly skilled workers in the tech industry with expanded immigration programs, Immigration Minister Marc Miller noted that the population of temporary residents in Canada had reached roughly 2.5 million, or approximately 6.2% of the Canadian population, by the end of 2023. The country aims to reduce the population of temporary residents to a target of 5% of the total Canadian population by 2027.

To start, Canada has placed new limitations on certain non-graduate international student visas, citing integrity issues with institutions accepting more international students to increase revenue without ensuring those students have the support and resources required for success. Additionally, Canada has taken steps to reduce the number of unqualified asylum seekers by imposing new visa requirements on Mexican visitors.

International Students

In January 2024, Canada announced that it would temporarily limit the number of new international student visas issued in the next two years in order to assess the integrity of the program and stabilize continued growth in international student programs. The number of new international student visas for 2024 has been capped at 360,000 which is a 35% decrease from those issued last year. Importantly, those pursuing master's and doctoral degrees, and elementary and secondary education are not included in this cap. The Ministry of Immigration will assess further at the end of the year to determine the number of new international student visas to be issued in 2025.

Despite these changes, Canada continues to focus on welcoming those with in demand skills including international students in master's and doctoral programs. In the announcement, the Canadian government emphasized that "In the coming months, we will continue to work to provide clear pathways to permanent residence for students with in-demand skills and explore new measures to better transition international students to the labour force."

While graduate students will see an increase in post-graduation work authorization with a proposed 3-year work permit for those graduating with a master's degree from a Canadian college or university, Canada is limiting other international student post-graduation work permits in Canada, private institutions may obtain a license for the curriculum and other intellectual property owned by public colleges to then offer these licensed programs to its students. Starting September 1, 2024, international students who begin a study program at such a private institution will no longer be eligible for a post-graduation work permit. These new limitations on post-graduation work permits for international students enrolled in these private institutions arise from concerns about the quality of education from these non-accredited institutions, as well as concerns about rapidly increasing numbers of international students in Canada.

Asylum Seekers

Citing pressure from unprecedented numbers of new asylum seekers in recent years, Canada's Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced new visa requirements for Mexican nationals seeking to travel to Canada. In 2023, 17% of all new asylum claims in Canada were made by Mexican citizens. Of these asylum claims by Mexican citizens, roughly 60% were rejected, withdrawn, or abandoned. As a result, the country has updated its electronic travel authorization (eTA) policies to impose additional visa requirements on travelers from Mexico in an effort to identify and restrict those intending to make unfounded asylum claims before they enter the country. As of February 29, 2024, many Mexican citizens seeking to travel to Canada are no longer eligible for an eTA and must apply for a visitor visa before travelling to Canada.

Mexican citizens may still be eligible for an eTA for visa-free travel to Canada if they:

  1. Are traveling to Canada by air,
  2. Intend to remain in Canada for less than 6 months, and
  3. Have either held a Canadian visitor visa in the past 10 years or currently hold a valid nonimmigrant visa in the United States.

Mexican nationals seeking to enter Canada by land or sea or who otherwise do not meet the new eTA criteria must apply for a physical visa stamp to be placed in their passport through a Canadian consulate or embassy prior to travel. Mexican nationals planning travel to Canada may complete this questionnaire provided by the Canadian government to determine whether a visa is required for their trip. In furtherance of its goal to stabilize growth and reduce the total population of foreign nationals residing temporarily in Canada, the Ministry of Immigration is conducting further review of existing immigration programs to identify market needs as well as opportunities to minimize abuse of the systems. Further information on the country's plans for immigration programs impacting temporary residents is expected by Fall 2024 with the release of Canada's annual Immigration Levels Plan.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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