CANADIAN IMMIGRATION UPDATES - Restrictions on Flagpoling | PGWP Eligibility Overhaul | LMIA Overview and Analysis of Jobs

Canada's New Caregiver Pilot Program : Aiming for PR Pathways and Employment Stability

Canada recently announced the launch of new pilot programs designed to support caregivers and their families, with a focus on making the caregivers program permanent. These initiatives aim to provide improved pathways for immigration and enhance employment stability for caregivers, recognizing the essential role they play in Canadian society.  

The pilot programs are structured to provide a more streamlined and efficient process for caregivers to obtain permanent residency in Canada. This addresses the previous issues of lengthy processing times and uncertainty, ensuring that caregivers can plan their futures with greater confidence. To learn more on this Watch Video!

Canada and U.S. Restrict Flagpoling Sites and Hours Amid Increased Border Traffic

As of May 30, 2024, Canadian and U.S. authorities have restricted the number of ports of entry (POEs) available for flagpoling services and reduced service hours at 12 border crossings.

The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) advises that wait times can be lengthy and recommends using online IRCC services where possible. The crackdown on flagpoling is due to increased traffic at the Canada-U.S. border, which has placed stress on border processing. According to the CBSA, changes aim to improve efficiency during peak travel times and allow officers to focus on other priorities like trade facilitation, high-risk travelers, and asylum seekers. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has also noted that increased immigration traffic and wait times are negatively affecting local economies and tourism.

Flagpoling : IRCC's Latest Update

Flagpoling allows temporary residents (those with work/study permits, visitor visas, or electronic Travel Authorizations) to receive immigration services by briefly exiting and re-entering Canada within 24 hours. This process is legal and helps mitigate long processing times with Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). 
To learn about the IRCC's latest update on flagpole ports of entry, where individuals briefly exit and re-enter the country to access immigration services, Watch Video! 

Canada to Overhaul PGWP Eligibility, Aligning with Labor Market Needs

Federal and provincial immigration officials are discussing major changes to Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) eligibility. The PGWP, an open work permit for international students who have completed eligible programs at Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs), may soon be aligned with labor market needs.  According to notes from the IRCC Deputy Minister Transition Binder 2024, Canada plans to issue PGWPs primarily to students entering high-demand occupations, while reducing access for graduates from other programs. Recommendations will be made by the Minister in spring 2024, with changes expected to be implemented in January 2025. 

IRCC and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) have mapped job titles to programs of study to identify which educational programs equip international students with skills relevant to in-demand sectors. This mapping synchronizes Canada’s National Occupation Classification (NOC) system with the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) system. For example, the “carpenter” NOC is linked to programs in construction trades, carpentry, and woodworking. The aim is to facilitate access to work permits for students entering high-demand occupations while limiting permits for other graduates. 

The PGWP program was last updated in 2008 to issue open work permits based on the length of study. Between 2018 and 2023, the number of work permits issued under the PGWP increased by 214%. The proposed changes reflect a strategic shift to align immigration policies with Canada’s labor market needs.

Overview of LMIA and Top Jobs That Received LMIA in 2023

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is an evaluation by the Canadian government to determine the impact of hiring a foreign worker on the Canadian labor market. For a work permit application to be supported, the LMIA must return a positive or neutral result; a negative result renders the position ineligible for this type of permit. The LMIA also helps assess whether a Canadian citizen or permanent resident is available to fill the job position. Positions that receive LMIAs are typically in high demand within Canada. The top jobs that received the most LMIAs in 2023 are listed below, based on data from the Canadian government. 

Top Ten Jobs Receiving LMIAs in 2023 According to Canada’s open data portal, the following jobs received the most LMIAs in 2023 :
  1. General Farm Workers  (NOC 8431) : 8,289 LMIA's Issued
  2. Cooks (NOC 6322) : 5,187 LMIA's Issued
  3. Food Service Supervisors (NOC 6311) : 3,739 LMIA's Issued
  4. Food Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers, and Related (NOC 6711) : 2,576 LMIA's Issued
  5. Administrative Assistants (NOC 1241) : 1,619 LMIA's Issued
  6. Retail Sales Supervisors (NOC 6211) : 1,358 LMIA's Issued
  7. Information Systems Analysts and Consultants (NOC 2171) : 1,168 LMIA's Issued
  8. Computer Programmers and Interactive Media Developers (NOC 2174) : 1,133 LMIA's Issued
  9. Transport Truck Drivers (NOC 7511) : 1,131 LMIA's Issued
  10. Construction Trades Helpers and Labourers (NOC 7611) : 994 LMIA's Issued

The job titles and employment codes listed above correspond to the National Occupation Classification (NOC) 2016 codes. Canada uses the NOC system to categorize and classify professions within its economy. Notably, many of the 2016 NOC codes were expanded in 2021, resulting in more specific job classifications that were previously grouped together.