Canada Announces Limits on Temporary Residents for the First Time Ever

In a major policy shift, Canada announces a cap on temporary residents to address affordability concerns and housing pressure. The new policy applies to international students, foreign workers, and asylum seekers. Learn more about the exemptions, the impact on different sectors, and reactions to the announcement.
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In a groundbreaking move, Canada is gearing up to impose restrictions on the influx of temporary residents, marking a significant departure from its historical open-door immigration policy.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced the decision on Thursday, highlighting the necessity to curb the number of temporary residents due to various socio-economic concerns gripping the nation.

Implementation of Caps

The new policy entails a gradual reduction in the number of temporary residents over the next three years. This initiative, set to commence in September, will encompass international students, foreign workers, and asylum claimants.

Minister Miller emphasized the need for revising immigration targets amid pressing issues such as affordability crises and housing shortages.

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Key Points of the New Policy

  • Phased Implementation: The first cap will be established in September 2024.
  • Targeted Reductions: The policy applies to all categories of temporary residents, including:
    • International Students
    • Foreign Workers
    • Asylum Seekers
  • Exceptions for Critical Sectors: The construction and healthcare industries facing labour shortages will be exempt from the cap until August 31st, 2024.
  • Focus on Efficiency: Businesses relying on temporary foreign workers will have a shorter timeframe to prove the positions cannot be filled by Canadians or permanent residents.

Policy Implications

Under the new policy framework, select Canadian businesses will be mandated to reduce reliance on temporary foreign workers by May 1st.

Exceptions will be granted to workers in the construction and healthcare sectors, both grappling with acute labour shortages. Nonetheless, these exceptions will remain in effect only until August 31st.

Also Read: Canada Announces New Rules, Eligibility for Spousal Open Work Permit

Objective and Figures

Canada aims to decrease the proportion of temporary residents to 5% of the population, down from the current 6.2%. The minister stressed the importance of ensuring “sustainable” growth in temporary resident numbers.

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Statistics reveal a notable surge in temporary residents admitted to Canada in recent years, with figures escalating from approximately one million in 2021 to 2.5 million in 2024.

Rationale and Challenges

While acknowledging the significant role played by temporary foreign workers in mitigating labour shortages, Minister Miller highlighted the imperative of enhancing system efficiency.

Notably, the country faces international obligations to accommodate individuals fleeing conflict and political persecution. However, he underscored the need for a candid dialogue regarding the implications of heightened international migration for Canada’s future planning.

Shifting Immigration Landscape

This policy change represents a major departure from Canada’s historical dependence on immigration to fill job vacancies and support an ageing population. It coincides with rising pressure on the Trudeau government to address a growing housing affordability crisis.

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Additional Considerations

  • The cap on international student admissions announced earlier in 2024 is expected to reduce study permits by 35%.
  • Canada recently reinstated visa requirements for Mexican nationals due to a surge in asylum seekers.

Looking Ahead

The long-term impact of these new measures on Canada’s immigration system and economic growth remains to be seen. It’s a developing story, and we’ll continue to provide updates as they become available.


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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Travelobiz.com, he's passionate about writing.

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