General Jobs

Canada to Introduce Limits on Temporary Residency

Canada is embarking on a historic endeavor by introducing limits on temporary residents for the first time in its history. Marc Miller, the Immigration Minister, announced on Thursday that a phased reduction in the number of temporary residents will be implemented over the next three years, commencing with the establishment of an initial cap in September.

This measure will encompass international students, foreign workers, and asylum seekers. Minister Miller has emphasized the necessity of revising immigration targets in response to the pressing issues of affordability and housing crisis.

Under the new plan, Canada aims to decrease the proportion of temporary residents to 5% of the population, down from the current 6.2%. The rationale behind this move, according to Mr. Miller, is to ensure the sustainability of growth in the influx of temporary residents into the country.

Mr. Miller highlighted a significant surge in temporary residents admitted to Canada in recent years, with the current count standing at 2.5 million as of 2024, compared to nearly one million in 2021. While acknowledging the reliance on temporary foreign workers to address labor shortages, the minister underscored the need for efficiency improvements within the system.

However, recognizing its international obligations towards refugees and asylum seekers, Canada remains committed to providing sanctuary to those fleeing war and political persecution.

As part of the new policy, certain Canadian businesses will be required to reduce their dependency on temporary foreign workers by May 1st. Exceptions will be made for sectors experiencing acute labor shortages such as construction and healthcare.

Statistics Canada reports that in 2021, the majority (54%) of temporary residents held work permits, while international students and asylum claimants accounted for 22% and 15% respectively.

While Thursday’s announcement was met with criticism from advocates for temporary foreign workers, who argue that migrants often endure precarious conditions and are unfairly blamed for the housing crisis, the government insists on the necessity of these measures.

This policy shift coincides with Canada’s recent reinstatement of visa requirements for Mexican nationals due to a surge in asylum seekers from Mexico. Moreover, earlier this year, Minister Miller imposed limits on the number of international students admitted to Canada for the next two years, aiming for a 35% reduction in approved study permits.

This decision has sparked concerns among post-secondary institutions about potential revenue losses and a decline in student enrollment. Nevertheless, it represents a significant departure from Canada’s historically open immigration policy, as the government grapples with the challenges posed by an increasingly unaffordable housing market and an aging workforce.