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Immigration Newsweek



Immigration Newsweek


By Atty. Henry Moyal



In a surprising move, Canada Immigration has announced a new program that will actually reward people who are illegal in Canada and who are working illegally (in the construction industry). The program is set to open in January 2020 and will have a cap of only 500 applications. In an unprecedented move, the Federal Immigration Minister announced this week that permanent residence will be granted to applicants who entered Canada legally but then lost status and have remained in Canada with no status for at least five years. To qualify, applicants must have filed their taxes, lived in Canada for 5 years and have at least 3 years of work experience in the construction industry in the Toronto area.

Applicants with children or spouses in Canada ( regardless of the child or spouse’s immigration status) will be given first priority.

As far as this writer is concerned, this is the first time Canada Immigration is actually rewarding those who worked illegally and without a work permit.

No other past Federal Immigration Minister has been successful in pulling off this type of controversial law as many complained in the past that it was not fair to only grant permanent residence to illegal workers in the construction industry ( what about other occupations?). Similarly, many will not be happy that it is only for those who have worked in the GTA Toronto Economic Regions of City of Toronto, Durham Region, Halton Region, Peel Region, York Region ( what about other parts of Ontario? Or other parts of Canada?).

Nevertheless, the current program is open to applications starting January 2, 2020 as the construction industry in the GTA is facing significant labour shortages. According to Canada Immigration, a stable construction workforce will help ensure that housing and infrastructure projects are delivered. Reports indicate that this workforce has been supported for many years, in part, by long-term residents who have fallen out of immigration status and are operating in the underground economy.

The new program therefore seeks to regularize these individuals who have been contributing to the Canadian economy by filling a regional labour market need.


In another announcement this week, Canada Immigration has announced the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot that will grant permanent residence for workers in the meat processing and mushroom production fields.

In the past, such workers were considered low skill and had no direct pathway for permanent residence. However, now 2750 foreign workers a year will be granted permanent residence.

The occupations and industries eligible under the new Agri-Food Immigration Pilot include:

  • meat processing
    • retail butcher
    • industrial butcher
    • food processing labourer
  • harvesting labourer for year-round mushroom production and greenhouse crop production
  • general farm worker for year-round mushroom production, greenhouse crop production, or livestock raising
  • farm supervisor and specialized livestock worker for meat processing, year-round mushroom production, greenhouse crop production or livestock raising.

The eligibility requirements for the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot are:

  • 12-months of full-time, legal and authorized non-seasonal Canadian work experience in an eligible occupation in processing meat products, raising livestock, or growing mushrooms or greenhouse crops;
  • high school education or greater;
  • job offer for full-time, non-seasonal work in Canada


Attorney Henry Moyal is a certified and licensed immigration lawyer in Toronto, Ontario.

The above article is general advice only and is not intended to act as a legal document.

Send questions to Attorney Moyal by email  or call 416 733 3193