Canada urged to provide PR to more low-skilled workers

Canada PR

Canada urged to provide PR to more low-skilled workers

A policy brief by Canada’s Ryerson University has recommended Canada to provide more pathways to permanent residency in the country to temporary migrants with low skill levels.

According to the policy, which was published by the Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Migration and Integration, Canada should focus towards retaining an increased number of lower-skilled temporary residents in the country.

CERC is a program that awards Canadian universities up to $10 million to establish research projects, with this award in Migration and Integration being the first CERC awarded to Ryerson University.

Seeing as the demand for low skill jobs is set to increase in Canada in light of the pandemic, the policy has recommended that the country should offer more options of permanent residency for lower-skilled workers.

Among the policy recommendations are points including:

  • Creating a pathway to permanent residency in Canada that accepts a large volume of applicants;
  • Allocating between 10 and 20 per cent of economic class applications to lower-skilled migrants;
  • Inviting eligible temporary skilled migrants to apply for permanent residency in Canada;
  • Introducing new policies to protect lower-skilled workers from drops in wages;
  • Investing in settlement services for temporary migrants having lower skill levels; and
  • Educating the Canadian public on the economic contribution of low-skilled migrants to prevent any anti-immigrant sentiment.

Canada welcomes more than 350,000 new permanent residents to the country every year, with about two-thirds of the PR recipients having lived in Canada previously as temporary migrants.

Of the 600,000 temporary migrants who arrive in Canada every year, those having higher skill levels and being employed in high-skilled occupations are regularly provided with pathways to permanent residency in Canada.

Temporary migrants with lower skill levels, however, have less opportunities of obtaining permanent residency in Canada.

Although this has been the case over the years, the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of low-skilled workers, such as grocery store clerks, farm workers and hospital cleaners, to Canada’s economy.

Moreover, the demand for lower-skilled workers and their equivalent jobs is expected to rise in Canada over the next decade, albeit at a slower rate than higher skilled occupations, with industries such as family services, childcare, food services, building construction and commercial transportation expected to grow.

In addition, Canada is having to cope with an aging population, which is also set to increase the demand of health care and social services in the coming years.

Immigration programs such as the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP), Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP), Agri-Food Immigration Pilot (AFIP) and the In-Demand Skills stream in Ontario provides pathways for Canadian immigration to lower-skilled migrants.