Motion introduced by MP Randeep Sarai on PR for temporary foreign workers unanimously passed

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Randeep S. Sarai Official Portrait/ Portrait officiel Ottawa, ONTARIO, Canada on 22 November, 2019. © HOC-CDC Credit: Mélanie Provencher, House of Commons Photo Services

OTTAWA, ON: Private Members Motion, M-44, Permanent residency for temporary foreign workers introduced by Randeep Sarai, Member of Parliament for Surrey Centre, was unanimously passed in the House of Commons on Wednesday May 11th, 2022.

“Motion M-44 addresses ongoing challenges with immigration system, filling critical gaps in our labour market by creating more accessible pathways to permanent residency for Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs),” Sarai said.

He said that not a day goes by that he does not receive a call or an email from an employer who cannot find workers for their business. “From restaurant owners, produce packers and logistics companies to IT groups, everyone needs workers. As we saw during the COVID-19 pandemic, things can change very quickly and the work that Temporary Foreign Workers do to support our economy is vital to Canada’s success,” Sarai informed.

With an aging population and domestically low birth-rate, Canada is seeing a decrease in population. Some estimate that by 2030 our population growth will come exclusively from immigration, which already accounts for almost 100% of Canada’s labour force growth and 75% of Canada’s population growth – mostly in the economic category.

Despite Canada’s historically low unemployment rate (5.2% in April 2022), industries like the agriculture sector continued to experience high job vacancy rates that they are unable to fill with domestic labour.

Temporary foreign workers contribute to Canadian economic growth and ensuring regional labour demands are fulfilled, however the path to permanent residency remains out of reach for many of these workers.

While there are pathways for to PR for lower skilled workers such as through regional and industry specific programs, TFWs continue to face challenges in gaining PR status due insufficient higher education, low language testing scores.

Despite their valuable contribution to our communities and economy, and great employment records over a number of years working in this country – TFWs continue to be at a disadvantage in attaining PR status. This motion encourages the Government of Canada to continue to work towards making PR status attainable to more TFWs.

The motion text mentions that the government should develop and publicly release within 120 days following the adoption of this motion a comprehensive plan to expand the economic immigration stream to allow workers of all skill levels to meet the full range of labour needs and pathways to permanent residency for temporary foreign workers, including international students, with significant Canadian work experience in sectors with persistent labour shortages, and such plan should incorporate the following elements:

amending eligibility criteria under economic immigration programs to give more weight to significant in-Canada work experience and expand the eligible occupational categories and work experience at various skills levels;

(b) examining evidence and data gathered from recent programs such as Temporary Resident to Permanent Resident Pathway, Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP), Rural and Northern Immigration Program (RNIP), and AgriFood Pilot, and Provincial Nominee Process (PNP);

(c) incorporating data on labour market and skills shortages to align policy on immigrant-selection with persistent labour gaps;

(d) assessing ways to increase geographic distribution of immigration and encourage immigrant retention in smaller communities, as well as increase Francophone immigration outside Quebec;

(e) identifying mechanisms for ensuring flexibility in immigration-selection tools to react quicker to changes in labour market needs and regional economic priorities; and

(f) specifically considering occupations and essential sectors that are underrepresented in current economic immigration programs, such as health services, caregivers, agriculture, manufacturing, service industry, trades, and transportation.