Visa Crunch

Research reveals a steady inflow of foreign temporary workers in Canada during the pandemic

Research shows that Canada kept the levels of immigration afloat even during the pandemic by issuing work permits under the numerous foreign worker programs.

According to study held by joint project that tracks the pandemic’s impacts on Canadian immigration, 322,815 people were issued work permit amidst lockdowns and travel restrictions. Ina shrinking economy, Canada made sure that it does not lose out on its diasporic community.

According to many official sources, Canada’s immigration numbers were majorly hit by the pandemic. The decrease in the issuance of permanent residency decreased drastically by 45.7%, in comparison to 2019. Not only was there a decrease in the number of residents, but also in the enrolment of students in various colleges and schools.

However, the resumption and continuity of issuing work permits has led experts to believe that Canada is on its course to become a thriving economy once again. “Canada has been pretty dedicated to bringing in the people that it needs on a temporary work side,” said University of British Columbia professor Daniel Hiebert, a co-founder of the COVID research project.

According to immigration data, 215,080 work permit holders were licensed under “Canadian interests,” including athletes, academicians, cultural and community professionals, young people in international exchange programs, and foreign students graduating from Canada’s colleges, universities, or schools. The group did not fall by much and maintained a steady inflow.

The most-hit were the immigrant caregivers and foreign workers working under trade agreements had shown a drop of 49 percent and 31 percent respectively. Andrew Griffith, co-founder of the COVID and Immigration research project, said it makes sense for Ottawa to prioritize temporary residents such as immigrant workers and foreign students, who are interested in Canadian temporary economies and form a key group in the country.

Just in February, with the border still closed for prospective immigrants, Ottawa invited a record of 27,332 people to apply for permanent residence, and 90 percent of those invited already lived in Canada, with at least one year of Canadian work experience. Migration data also showed that the number of permanent residents’ applications decreased in 2020 by 54.6 percent to 186,000 from 409,500 in 2019.

It will be very challenging to predict the course of future immigration policies in the country. But, the consideration of foreign internationals and their interests even during a pandemic give hope to future applicants. One concrete conclusion is that these are promising signs in the journey towards normalcy.

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