Canada provides undocumented people with a new route to permanent residency
Canada’s Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced a comprehensive program allowing undocumented people to apply for permanent residence. This aligns with Canada’s immigration targets, aiming to admit up to 500,000 immigrants by 2025. An estimated 300,000 to 600,000 individuals currently live in Canada without valid documents, facing potential deportation.
The program will also cover those who overstayed their visas. However, not all will be eligible to apply. Undocumented migrants typically fall out of status due to failing eligibility criteria for overstaying their authorized period. A small portion unlawfully entered or was trafficked into Canada.
In addition to people who entered the Canada illegally, the proposed program will also cover people who initially came as foreign students or temporary workers and decided to stay in the country after their visas expired.
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Description of Undocumented People
Undocumented individuals do not have the legal right to live and work in Canada. Most become undocumented when they are unable to meet the eligibility requirements for existing immigration programs after lawfully entering the country and exceeding their authorized period of stay. Only a small percentage of undocumented migrants entered Canada illegally or were trafficked/smuggled in.
Overview of the past Programs for undocumented People in Canada
There have been many initiatives for out-of-status workers implemented in the past. For example, the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTA) Temporary Public Policy for Out-of-Status Construction Workers was introduced to address the vulnerabilities that come with a lost status and to acknowledge the economic contributions made by construction workers.
Under the new Subsequent Temporary Public Policy to Continue to Facilitate Access to Permanent Resident Status for Out-of-Status Construction Workers in the Greater Toronto Area in 2023, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) was reportedly collaborating with the IRCC in 2023 to process at least 500 more applications for PR for out-of-status construction workers in the GTA.
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