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Over Half Of New Skilled Immigrants Have Canadian Experience

In recent years, more new skilled immigrants are gaining permanent residence with Canadian work and study experience.

The number of temporary foreign workers and students increased significantly between 2000 and 2018, according to Statistics Canada. Over half, fifty-nine per cent, of new economic-class immigrants in 2018 were former temporary foreign workers, up from just twelve per cent at the turn of the millennium.

More temporary foreign workers also transitioned to permanent residents with the help of more Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) and the introduction of the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) in 2009. The CEC admitted twenty per cent of all economic-class principal applicants in 2018, while the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) admitted twenty-five per cent. PNPs issued the biggest share at forty-six per cent.

These findings come from the second installments of a five-part StatsCanada study series being done in partnership with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The studies assessed the increasing importance of temporary foreign workers in the labor market outcomes of new skilled immigrants. Only three have been released so far.

Arriving in a country as a student or workers, and then obtaining permanent president is referred to as “two-step” immigration selection. Under this process, students or new skilled immigrants first get temporary residence and have their credentials are examined by Canadian employers. Then the temporary resident applies for immigration and is selected based on the requirements outlined in federal or provincial programs.

The first study shows that two-step immigration can improve the match between immigrant skills and labor market demands. Employers are able to assess the skills and intangible qualities of the temporary workers. It also found that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted potential issues related with dependence on foreign workers, such as labor supply uncertainty, and poor working condition for employees.

The second document the evolution of two-step immigration selection since 2000. Between 2000 and 2018 the number up temporary foreign workers rose from about 60,000 to 429,300.

The third looks at two-step immigration and labor market outcomes. The study found that more skilled immigrants had positive annual earnings in the first full year after immigration from 2000 to 2016. The rise in employment was ascribed to the rising number of immigrants who had worked in Canada before at medium ($20,000 to $50,000) to high annual earnings (over $50,000).

These findings shows that immigrants with Canadian experience are, mainly, finding more employment and making more annual earnings. The federal government’s initiatives to create more pathways for foreign nationals with Canadian experience look to have helped improve these outcomes.