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Canada to reduce number of temporary residents to 5% of the population

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Canada is set to implement limits on the influx of temporary residents for the first time ever in order to decrease the proportion of temporary residents to 5% of the population, down from the current 6.2%.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller made this announcement on Thursday stating that these limits will be gradually reduced over the next three years, starting with the first cap to be set in September.

Nairmetrics learnt that the restrictions will affect international students, foreign workers, and asylum claimants.

Earlier, Minister Miller previously addressed the need to revise immigration targets in response to affordability and housing challenges, adding that the move is to ensure “sustainable” growth in the number of temporary residents coming into Canada.

Curbing population of immigrants

Mr. Miller highlighted that Canada has witnessed a notable surge in the admission of temporary residents in recent years.

As of 2024, for instance, the total number of temporary residents in Canada stands at 2.5 million, which is a significant increase from nearly one million in 2021, as reported by national data collection agency Statistics Canada.

While acknowledging the country’s reliance on temporary foreign workers to address labor shortages, Mr. Miller emphasized the necessity for improvements to enhance the system’s efficiency. Additionally, Canada has international obligations to provide refuge for individuals fleeing war and political persecution.

  • “To be clear, these are important global commitments to Canadians.
  • “At the same time, there should be an honest conversation about what the rise of international migration means for Canada as we plan ahead”, Mr Miller said.

Earlier, the Minister had implemented a limit on the number of international students admitted to Canada for the next two years, resulting in a planned 35% decrease in approved study permits.

This move has drawn criticism from some post-secondary institutions, fearing a loss of revenue and a deterrent for students considering Canada as a study destination.

What the new policy says

As part of the new policy, Canadian businesses will be required to decrease their reliance on temporary foreign workers by May 1st and will have a shorter timeframe to demonstrate that these positions could not be filled by permanent residents or Canadian citizens.

However, exceptions will be made for workers in the construction and healthcare sectors, both experiencing labor shortages, who will maintain current entry levels until at least August 31st.

Statistics Canada reports that in 2021, the majority of temporary residents, about 40%, held work permits, while students comprised 22%, and asylum claimants made up 18%. Others held a combination of permits, such as study and visa, or were family members of temporary residents.

The announcement on Thursday faced criticism from advocates for temporary foreign workers, who argued that migrants work in precarious conditions and have been unfairly blamed for the affordability and housing crisis. Additionally, Canada has reinstated visa requirements for Mexican nationals due to a surge in asylum seekers from Mexico.

These policy changes mark a significant departure for Canada, which historically relied on open immigration to fill job vacancies and address its aging workforce. The Trudeau government faces mounting pressure to tackle the increasingly unaffordable housing market, with home prices averaging C$700,000 and Canadian rent increasing by 22% in the last two years.

 

 

 


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