The Canadian government is slowing down the rapid increase of temporary residents entering the country. In a major policy shift revealed today, Immigration Minister Marc Miller outlined plans to decrease the proportion of temporary residents and implement targeted intake levels for the first time.

Over recent years, Canada opened its doors to growing numbers of temporary foreign workers, international students, refugees, and others on non-permanent immigration status. This temporary resident population has ballooned to nearly 2.5 million people, comprising 6.2% of the country’s total population as of 2023.

However, concerns emerged about whether this blistering pace is sustainable, given the strains on housing, healthcare, and other services struggling to absorb such high volumes of new arrivals annually. The government is now readjusting its strategy.

Key Points from Today’s Announcement:

  • Establishing a “soft cap” to reduce the temporary resident population from 6.2% down to 5% within the next three years
  • Publishing targets for temporary resident intake alongside permanent resident levels beginning this fall
  • Consulting with provinces/territories in May to set region-specific temporary resident targets based on local labor demands
  • Lowering the maximum percentage of temporary foreign workers allowed at a workplace from 30% to 20%
  • Requiring employers to consider hiring existing residents like asylum seekers before bringing in foreign labor
  • Increasing “draws” to facilitate pathways for temporary residents to transition to permanent residency

Minister Miller positioned this shift as crucial for creating a “sustainable immigration system built on needs rather than profits.” While temporary migration has fulfilled vital labor gaps, he argued the exponential growth cannot proceed unchecked without improved long-term planning and policies.

The new caps and targets aim to enable Canada to better align intake with economic needs and its capacity to absorb new arrivals in an orderly fashion. It marks a notable pivot after years of rapidly expanding temporary resident streams.

Nonetheless, this policy direction represents one of the biggest overhauls to Canada’s immigration system in decades. Properly implementing and managing the targeted temporary resident levels will be vital for its success. More details on how this new approach will roll out across provinces and territories are anticipated in the coming months.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is based on recent announcements and news reports, and may contain inaccuracies or be subject to change as more details emerge. This article should not be construed as legal advice. Nirman’s Law assumes no liability for any errors or omissions in the content. Immigration laws and policies are complex and continually evolving. Individuals are advised to consult with qualified immigration legal counsel for specific guidance on their situation.

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