3M? Exploring PR Options for Canada’s Temporary Residents

Options for Temporary Residents

Samnang, a 26-year-old Cambodian, recently graduated from a Canadian college. He started working in Canada and contemplated his chances for permanent residency. Amidst over three million temporary residents, Samnang questions if a future as a permanent resident is possible for him. This moment of reflection signifies the start of his journey to navigate Canada’s immigration policies, hoping to convert his academic and professional achievements into a permanent future in a country celebrated for its diversity and opportunities.

Who is a temporary resident?

As the term implies, a temporary resident could be anyone who is neither a Canadian citizen nor a permanent resident in Canada. However, let’s be more specific. For this article, I consider the following groups as temporary residents:

  • Non-permanent resident (NPR): Statistics Canada has coined this term. NPR describes an individual from a foreign country living in Canada, holding a work or study permit, or claiming refugee status (asylum seeker).
  • Super-Visa holders: Parents who hold a super visa may remain in Canada for up to five years. They do not have the right to work or study. However, they may have the desire to become permanent residents.
  • Unauthorized workers, also known as undocumented migrants: Canada has up to half a million unauthorized workers.

According to Statistics Canada, the population of NPRs in July 2023 reached 2.2 million. Moreover, the population surge was about 46% compared to 2022. When writing this article, it is fair to estimate that number to be more than 2.5 million. If we had super-visa holders and undocumented migrants, we could estimate that we would be dealing with three million temporary residents in Canada. However, this is a rough estimation. The actual numbers could differ significantly. Moreover, I didn’t consider visitors who usually remain in Canada for six months or less.

Canadian immigration targets

Canada intends to accept 485,000 new immigrants in 2024. This number will increase to 500,000 in 2025 and remain the same for the foreseeable future. A simple math shows the immigration levels do not meet the reality of temporary residents in Canada. Assuming nobody immigrates to Canada from outside Canada, it takes about six years for Canada to welcome all the existing temporary residents as permanent residents. Of course, this assumption is too simplistic as we didn’t consider many factors. For example,

  • Some temporary residents have family members (spouses, common-law partners, or dependent children) who also like to join them in their immigration journey.
  • Many people immigrate to Canada without being temporary residents. Some examples include resettled refugees, outside-Canada family sponsorship applicants, and most Federal Skilled Workers.
  • Some of these residents have no plans to immigrate to Canada.

Regardless of the last point, we still face a disproportionate number of temporary residents to the immigration targets in Canada.

Don’t miss the starting gun!

One of my favourite music bands is Pink Floyd. One of my favourite songs by Pink Floyd is Time as part of The Darkside of the Moon album. Here are a couple of verses from that song.

Tired of lying in the sunshine, staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long, and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

Source: lyricsfind.com

These lyrics remind all temporary residents in Canada and all who wish to become permanent residents that you are in a race. Don’t miss the starting gun!

Let’s face it: Canada cannot offer you all PR status. Therefore, you have entered a race. Take the necessary steps to win it. If you are looking for a customized solution, book a consultation session. However, for generic information, continue reading this article.

The one and only Express Entry

Since introducing category-based draws, Express Entry for general draws has almost died. For example, if you look at the general draws in January to April 2024, it is clear that most of the invitations are for PNP Express Entry, and only a few candidates with extremely high CRS scores received invitations.

DateNumber of ITAsLowest CRS score
April 10, 20241,280 (why not 1500?)549
March 25, 20241,980 (why not 2000)?524
March 12, 20242,850 (why no 3000?)525
February 28, 20241,470 (why not 1500?)534
February 13, 20241490 (why not 1500?)535
January 31, 2024730 (why not 1000?)541
January 23, 20241040 (why not 1000 or 1500?)543
January 10, 20241510 (why not 1500 or 2000?)546
Source: IRCC

If you truly want to be in the game of Express Entry, consider one of the following:

  • Learn French: If you receive NCLC 7 or higher in every French language skill, you receive extra CRS points and fall under the Francophone category. When ready, you may take the TEF Canada or TCF Canada tests.
  • If you have an open work permit, consider working under one of the existing jobs for at least six months. You may qualify for the draw under one of the other five categories. Of course, there is no guarantee of finding jobs under these categories. Moreover, consider the following:
    • Stay away from those who try to sell you fake job experiences. You will likely lose your money and face application refusal or even inadmissibility to Canada.
    • Don’t try to match your NOC code with an existing category-based NOC. Contradictory information between your Express Entry application and previous applications could result in inadmissibility because of misrepresentation.
    • IRCC may change the list of NOC codes from time to time. Thus, you must be aware of this inherent risk.

Go back to school.

If you can, consider going back to school in Canada. Many provinces in Canada offer immigration options to international students. However, most of these options require a job offer in Canada. The two options that do not need job offers are the following:

  • Masters or Ph.D. programs in British Columbia: If you are doing a master’s degree program, ensure BC has considered both the school and the program eligible.
  • Ontario Masters or Ph.D. programs: Ontario is more generous and accepts any programs, assuming an eligible school offers them. However, try a university outside GTA and a STEM, Health, or Trades program for better scores. You’ll find out why if you read my article on this topic.

While these options are enticing, I’m sure many people will try them in the future, so consider the risks.

Consider other PNP options.

You must constantly visit the provincial immigration websites to identify their potential options. If something matches you, do not hesitate to apply. However, consider the risks of moving to another province for the sole purpose of migration.

Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) grounds for immigration

As a temporary resident who has established your life in Canada, you could consider H&C immigration. Nonetheless, take the following points into account:

  • This option is for asking for exemptions based on humanitarian reasons. The officers will refuse all frivolous applications. Moreover, they have significant discretion in assessing and refusing these applications.
  • Many factors could assist in a successful H&C application. Establishment in Canada is one of them. If you have lived in Canada for less than a few years, the odds are against you. Unless you have other significant factors, such as the best interests of a child (BIOC), this option applies if you have lived in Canada for several years.
  • I anticipate a spike in humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) applications. Confident in this trend, I’ve recently created a master class for licensed practitioners. Therefore, we also expect an increase in the number of refusals. We will likely see more refused cases than approved cases under this program in the future.
  • Do not apply under this program unless you accept the risks and hire a professional.

Refugee claims for temporary residents

As enticing as a refugee claim is, consider the following:

  • Misrepresentation for a refugee claim could result in fines and imprisonment under sections 127 and 128 of IRPA. The maximum penalty is five years in prison and $100,000 in fines.
  • The Refugee Protection Division (RPD) faces a significant backlog (more than 165,000). Therefore, you could have a hearing after a couple of years or even more.
  • If you file a claim after living in Canada, you must justify why you didn’t file the claim sooner. Moreover, you must show the nexus (connection) between your claim and the grounds for persecution.
  • Some people are not even eligible for referral to the RPD.
  • Refugee claims involve formal proceedings. Therefore, either use Legal Aid or hire a representative. Please do not do it on your own.

Let us help!

I tried to explain some of the main immigration options for temporary residents in Canada. However, you may need customized advice. Consequently, book a consultation session, and I’ll explore your options. Moreover, you may fill out the following form if facing complications.

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    Al ParsaiAl Parsai, LLM, MA, RCIC-IRB
    Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
    Adjunct Professor – Queen’s University – Faculty of Law
    Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
    Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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    Al Parsai

    This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.