June 27, 2023—Ottawa—Every year, thousands of temporary foreign workers bring their skills to Canada, helping to drive our economy and fill critical labour market gaps. While they play an important role in Canada’s prosperity, foreign workers sometimes face barriers in the types of study programs in which they can enrol to pursue their dreams and create new opportunities.
Today, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced a new temporary measure that removes the limit on the length of the study programs that temporary foreign workers can enrol in without a study permit.
Starting immediately, foreign workers will have the opportunity to seek additional training and education that can help them in their careers. This measure will also help foreign workers expand their future job prospects and increase their opportunities to transition to permanent residence. Prior to this change, foreign workers could study while working, but only in programs of 6 months or less. For longer programs, they had to apply for a separate study permit. This has been a barrier for those who wish to improve their education and receive more training, including those needing to upskill or validate their foreign credentials through certain programs.
With this new 3-year temporary measure, foreign workers can study full time or part time while their work permits are valid or until the expiration of the policy, with no restrictions on the length of the program.
This temporary measure applies to those who hold a valid work permit or who have submitted an application to renew their work permit on or before June 7, 2023, and are authorized to work. If a foreign worker wishes to study longer than the duration of their work permit, they still need to apply for a study permit.
“Temporary foreign workers are incredibly important for the Canadian economy, and many have aspirations that go far beyond the work that initially brings them to Canada. With this policy in place, we hope to empower foreign nationals to improve their skills in order to meet their career goals and achieve their dreams, while providing a future potential source of talent for our labour market. By removing barriers to skills development, we open the door to more foreign-trained doctors and nurses to help take care of our loved ones and support our healthcare system. We also provide a path for construction labourers to become tradespersons, and strengthen our communities and build new homes. This immigration measure helps employers, workers, and our economy by addressing critical labour shortages. This is welcome news for all parties involved.”
– The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
- Immigration accounts for almost all of Canada’s labour force growth. Roughly 75% of Canada’s population growth comes from immigration, mostly in the economic category. By 2036, immigrants will represent up to 30% of Canada’s population, compared to 20.7% in 2011.
- While 50 years ago, there were 7 workers for every retiree in Canada, today, that ratio is closer to 3 to 1. And if Canada stays on its current trajectory, in the next 10 to 15 years, it will drop to 2 workers for every retiree.
- According to the Global Employability Rankings, international employers recently ranked Canada’s education system in the top 10.
- Any Canadian work experience gained during a period of full-time study does not count toward eligibility for the Canadian Experience Class, nor can students earn Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points for it.
- However, this temporary public policy could help more foreign nationals increase the likelihood that they receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence through Express Entry. Candidates may be able to increase their CRS score by, for example, achieving a higher level of education or by gaining qualifying work experience during part-time studies.
- In addition, further studies could help candidates increase their CRS points by improving their French or English proficiency or by gaining experience in higher-skilled employment as a result of enhanced skills acquired through studies.
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will evaluate the outcomes of this temporary public policy and use that information to drive possible future policy changes.