Last year, individuals seeking to immigrate to Canada found that studying or working in Canada prior to applying for permanent residency was an even greater asset.
When compared to the previous year, the number of new permanent residents having relevant expertise nearly doubled in 2021. According to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data, 22,670 new permanent residents arrived in Canada last year after previously studying in the country as overseas students. That is over three times the 7,750 new permanent immigrants who previously held study permits in 2020, and nearly double the 11,565 who came to Canada after holding study permits in 2019, the last full year before the Covid-19 outbreak.
Work experience obtained through the International Mobility Program (IMP) and other streams of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) was also important in assisting foreign nationals in immigrating to Canada last year. The number of new permanent residents with prior IMP experience nearly doubled last year, to 157,685, up from 39,935 in 2020, and was about 175% higher than the 57,365 new permanent residents in 2019.
Furthermore, the number of new permanent residents with TFWP experience more than quadrupled to 10,970 last year, up from 3,295 in 2020, and was nearly twice as high as the 5,655 new permanent residents in Canada welcomed with similar expertise in 2019. While there may be some interplay between these programmes, such as a temporary foreign worker who decides to come to Canada as an international student before applying for permanent residency, adding up the yearly totals for the IRCC’s data for each of these programmes demonstrates the undeniable and growing importance of these experiences for any foreign national looking to immigrate to Canada.
The sum of the three datasets for 2021 indicates 191,325 new permanent residents who arrived in Canada after holding a study visa or working as temporary residents under the IMP or TFWP. There seems to be little uncertainty that Ottawa’s one-time, temporary to permanent resident pathway implemented last year was responsible for a large portion of the surge in new permanent residents to the country who previously had a study visa or worked as a temporary residents. However, other actions were taken by the IRCC during the height of the pandemic undoubtedly contributed to the increase of new permanent residents who had previously been international students or temporary workers in Canada.
For example, in June of last year, Canadian immigration officials held an Express Entry lottery for Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates, granting 6,000 Invitations to Apply (ITAs) to those with a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of only 357 points. Canada also decided in April of last year to finalise permanent residence petitions for up to 6,000 caregivers who had completed their in-Canada work experience, as well as their immediate family members.
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