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Construction worker program for immigrants expands to 1,000 openings

January 24, 2023  By Don Horne

A Canadian pilot program that provides an immigration pathway for construction workers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is increasing to 1,000 openings, as Ottawa is doubling a permanent residence pilot program for construction workers.

In 2019, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) launched a permanent residence pilot program for 500 out-of-status workers in the construction industry, in partnership with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).

Building on that program, Peter Fonseca, member of Parliament for Mississauga East-Cooksville and Julie Dzerowicz, member of Parliament for Davenport, on behalf of the Honourable Sean Fraser, minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, recently announced that IRCC is extending and expanding the pilot program, doubling its scope to 1,000 out-of-status construction workers in the GTA.

With construction workers playing a critical role in building and growing Canadian cities, the program is designed address labour shortages while offering workers and their families a path to permanent residency so that they can stay long-term. The program is also expected to help bring a larger number of workers out of the underground economy.


“This pilot program is a significant step forward in addressing critical labour shortages for the Greater Toronto Area by supporting stability in the construction industry and bringing workers out of the underground economy,” said Fraser. “By providing regular pathways for out-of-status migrants, we are not only protecting workers and their families, but also safeguarding Canada’s labour market and ensuring that we can retain the skilled workers we need to grow our economy and build our communities.”

Since the launch of the out-of-status construction workers in the GTA pilot in July 2019, 452 individuals have been accepted as permanent residents, including 190 principal applicants and 262 dependants. Under the pilot, applicants who have significant work experience in construction occupations in the GTA, family members in Canada, a referral letter from the CLC and no reason for being inadmissible other than overstaying their visa and working without authorization may be able to apply for permanent residence in Canada.

Eligible individuals have until January 2, 2024, to apply for permanent residence and can include their spouses, partners and dependent children in their application. Potential applicants will continue to submit their names to the CLC, who will determine their eligibility before referring them to IRCC.

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