There are some monumental changes to immigration policy that allow construction workers who overstayed their visas and therefore remained in Canada illegally, to now obtain permanent resident status along with their accompanying family members. The regions of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) that are included are as follows: City of Toronto, Durham Region, Halton Region, Peel Region, York Region. Construction workers living in the aforementioned regions and working in an eligible trade therefore, should take advantage of this opportunity granted that they are not inadmissible to Canada for reasons other then overstaying a visa (beyond the period of restoration of status of 90 days) and working without authorization (working without a work permit).
The public policy takes effect on January 2, 2020 and will be closing in two years on January 1, 2022 or sooner if a cap of 500 principal applicants is fulfilled. It is important to prepare in advance and to submit a complete application as soon as possible. Applications can also be filed prior to January 2, 2020 until the cap is reached.
There is a labour shortage in GTA for construction workers and allowing the regularization of their status is not only good for Canada's future economic growth but it is also protecting those who are vulnerable due to lack of immigration status and who have been contributing to the Canadian economy by filling a regional labour market need.
Eligible occupations for this public policy by NOC group and NOC code (see approved LMIA documents for details on NOC code) are as follows:
Major Group 72 Trades and Skilled Transport and Equipment Operators
Major Group 73 maintenance and equipment operation trades
NOC 7441 - residential and commercial installers and servicers
NOC 7521 - heavy equipment operators (except crane)
NOC 7611 - construction trades helpers and labourers
Eligibility requirements to be granted permanent residence are as follows:
Legally entered Canada and had a work permit in one of the above mentioned NOC occupations and filed income taxes with CRA or declared income in Canada (400 applicants cap) or legal entered as a temporary resident (100 applicants cap)
Lived in Canada for 5 years continuously, without leaving
Are currently working without authorization in the construction industry in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and have accumulated, and be able to provide evidence of, three years full-time work experience within the past five years in construction in the GTA in the occupations referenced above
Provide evidence of language ability at Canadian Language Benchmark speaking 4, listening 4, reading 4 and writing 4
Have family (mother, father, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew or cousin) living in Canada who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, or have a spouse, common-law partner or child in Canada
Have a referral letter signed by the Canadian Labour Congress attesting that the applicant meets the above conditions and, The foreign national (and family members) are not inadmissible for reasons other than overstaying their temporary resident status and working without authorization.
The eligible occupations on the list include both skilled and non-skilled jobs. The language requirements are very minimal and this is an opportunity for somebody who may have been out of status for three or more years in the GTA to finally regularize their status and become permanent residents. We have not seen public policy such as this in Canada in the recent years. We believe it is in Canadas best interests even though one may argue that the government is essentially rewarding people who have violated immigration laws with permanent resident status. This factor may be outweighed by benefits such as driving wages up for Canadians working in construction by eliminating or reducing the number of under-the-table cash workers.