Ottawa is contemplating a new Permanent Residence program for undocumented workers living in Canada, beginning with “out-of-status” construction workers.
The Immigration Minister, Hon Marc Miller, has plans to integrate undocumented foreign workers by designing a dedicated PR pathway. It will be an extension of the present Out-of-Status Construction Workers Pilot, having an annual cap of 1,000 PR spots.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced a PR pilot for construction workers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) without mandatory paperwork in 2019. There was an increase in the annual allocation of 500 workers, as the IRCC doubled the quota in January 2023.
Foreign students and temporary workers stay in Canada despite the expiration of study and work permits. Thousands of out-of-status workers and their families have been in Canada for decades. Approximately 600,000 people face the risk of deportation as they are out of status in Canada.
Canada can benefit from a comprehensive program enabling workers to apply for PR status without the mandatory documentation. Regularizing the undocumented foreign workers will help address the acute shortage of workers in the healthcare and construction sectors.