June's immigration reforms paint a picture of Canada's talent needs

6 Jul 2024
June heralded a number of changes to the immigration system. First, there was only one Express Entry selection on June 19, the second invitation to PNP approvers this year, the first being on May 30. The score for this invitation was 663, and a total of 1,499 people received invitations. The BC PNP held four selections in June: the 11th and 25th were a combination of the regular and Targeted Draw, and the 4th and 18th were Targeted Draw invitations, including Tech. Tech scored 122 both times, with 33 and 35 selections, respectively, a decrease in the number of selections compared to last month. Childcare, Healthcare, and Veterinary care were announced four times, with Childcare's score increasing from 93 to 97 and Healthcare's from 100 to 106. Construction increased from 93 to 97. The General Draw was announced twice, and saw an increase from last month's 131 to 134.

 We also announced a new policy for PGWPs for international students. Previously, PGWPs provided work permits for up to three years after graduation, but according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada's Transition Binder for 2024, the criteria for issuing PGWPs will be aligned with the needs of the labor market. The plan, which will be implemented starting in January 2025, is: First, the duration of the PGWP will be reduced to one year from the current maximum of three years; second, students studying in high-demand fields such as IT, healthcare, and construction will be eligible for the PGWP, while those studying in fields such as business administration and the arts may not qualify for the visa. Third, graduates may also need a job offer to obtain a work permit. The main purpose of this change is to fill job vacancies in critical sectors such as healthcare and technology, and to prevent misuse of the system. However, the official announcement has yet to be made, so we'll have to wait a bit longer to find out more.

 As of June 21, 2024, PGWPs will no longer be available for flagging. This change aims to free up border officials' time, reduce travel time for travelers, and expedite the movement of commercial goods between Canada and the U.S. This will also increase fairness among applicants. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, between March 1, 2023 and February 29, 2024, one-fifth of PGWP applicants attempted to flagpole. This will reduce the burden on border operations and facilitate people traveling between the two countries.

 Finally, Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced two new caregiver pilot programs to replace the existing Home Child Care Provider Pilot (HCCP) and Home Support Worker Pilot (HSW), both of which have the potential to be converted into permanent caregiver immigration programs in the future. First, the new pilot programs allow caregivers to apply for permanent residency based on international experience alone, as opposed to the previous program, which required a minimum of 12 months of full-time Canadian work experience. Second, they allow caregivers to work for organizations that provide temporary or part-time care for people who are semi-independent or recovering from injury or illness. Third, they require a language proficiency of CLB level 4 or higher. This is an easier threshold than the previous CLB 5. Fourth, we now require a high school diploma, whereas previously we required a post-secondary education. In addition, you must have recent relevant work experience, and you must have a full-time home care job offer to apply.

 June is a notable month for changes related to the PGWP. The system for obtaining a PGWP visa by flagging has changed, and you can now apply online and receive your visa by mail. In contrast to the proposed restrictions, a new Caregiver Pilot Program was announced with relaxed conditions, giving us a better understanding of the talent Canada needs. The need for skilled workers will only increase, and reforms to the system for them are likely to continue.


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