IRCC approves Manitoba’s request to extend work permits for some PNP candidates

Canada’s Immigration Minister, Marc Miller, has approved a request by the government of Manitoba to extend temporary resident status for some nominees identified in the province’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) says the nominees all have work permits that are set to expire in 2024 and are mainly Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) holders. These individuals currently have applications in the pool for the Manitoba Skilled Worker Program, an immigration pathway aimed at filling key job vacancies within the province.

The temporary measure means that 6,700 temporary workers may continue working while the province continues to process their PNP application. The province expects that “eligible foreign nationals will receive an official nomination from Manitoba and eventually become permanent residents” within two years.

IRCC says it is open to working with other Canadian provinces and territories to help transition more temporary residents into permanent residents to address national labour market needs. More information may be available following a meeting of the Federation of Ministers Responsible for Immigration (FMRI) on May 10.

Manitoba’s PNP

Manitoba was the first province in Canada to establish a PNP. The province introduced the program in 1998 to attract newcomers who would otherwise be more likely to immigrate to one of Canada’s large urban centers such as Toronto or Vancouver.

The program proved so successful at spreading the economic benefits of immigration that it was implemented by all Canadian provinces and territories, with the exceptions of Quebec and Nunavut.

Data also shows that 10,000 people in Manitoba transitioned from worker status to permanent residents in 2023.

Between January and March this year, the province has issued 1,560 expressions of interest to Skilled Worker Candidates leading to 1,478 approvals.

IRCC data shows that in 2022, 20% of all permanent resident admissions came through the PNP. Additionally, the Immigration Levels Plan (Canada’s admissions targets for permanent residents each year) plans to welcome 110,000 new permanent residents by the end of 2024, and 120,000 per year in both 2025 and 2026.

Changes to temporary resident levels

This measure is unique in Canada’s immigration space and aligns with a previously announced priority for the year and in years in to come. On March 21 this year, Minister Miller announced an intention to pursue more domestic draws to help transition temporary residents to permanent residents.

Put another way, IRCC plans to work with newcomers already in Canada to help them become permanent residents, rather than increasing the previously uncapped number of temporary residents who arrive in Canada each year. In 2023 Canada had a temporary resident population exceeding 2.5 million people, or 6.2% of the total population.

In 2023, 157,000 people transitioned from temporary residents to permanent residents.

The changes to Canada’s temporary resident levels come at a time when Canada is coping with a shortage of affordable housing for newcomers and Canadians alike, as well as a strained healthcare system and high cost of living. Several polls throughout 2023 indicated a decrease in support for high levels of immigration.

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