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Immigration News: In 2024, Canada to welcome 485,000 new PRs; US to boost H-2B cap; Japan to let foreigners change jobs

November 18, 2023 / 04:56 PM IST
Canada's plan of welcoming 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024 is intended to close labour force gaps in the country’s critical sectors. (Photo: Rene Baker via Unsplash)

Canada's plan of welcoming 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024 is intended to close labour force gaps in the country’s critical sectors. (Photo: Rene Baker via Unsplash)

Canada aims to welcome 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced that the country will welcome 485,000 new permanent residents (PRs) in 2024, 500,000 in 2025 and plateau at 500,000 in 2026. Building on the achievement of a 4.4 per cent target of French-speaking permanent residents outside Quebec in 2022, the Plan includes new annual and progressively increasing French-speaking permanent resident targets outside Quebec: 6 per cent in 2024, 7 per cent in 2025 and 8 per cent in 2026.

The Plan is intended to close labour force gaps in the country’s critical sectors (e.g. health, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics [STEM], trades, transportation and agriculture).

The Express Entry target will be 110,700 permanent resident admissions in 2024, and 117,500 immigrants in each of 2025 and 2026.

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) target will be 110,000 immigrants in 2024, and rise to 120,000 in 2025, and another 120,000 in 2026.

Spousal, Partner and Children sponsorship has a target of 82,000 admissions in 2024, and 84,000 in each of 2025 and 2026. Meanwhile, the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP) target will be 32,000 immigrants in 2024, followed by 34,000 immigrants in each of 2025 and 2026.

US to Supplement H-2B Cap with nearly 65,000 additional visas for FY 2024

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of Labor (DOL), has announced that it expects to make an additional 64,716 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas available for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024, on top of the congressionally mandated 66,000 H-2B visas that are available each fiscal year.

These additional H-2B visas represent the maximum permitted under the September 2023 Fiscal Year 2024 Continuing Resolution.

The H-2B programme permits employers to temporarily hire noncitizens to perform nonagricultural labour or services in the United States. The employment must be of a temporary nature, such as a one-time occurrence, seasonal need, or intermittent need.

In addition to the 20,000 country specific allocation, 44,716 supplemental visas would be available to returning workers who received an H-2B visa, or were otherwise granted H-2B status, during one of the last three fiscal years. The regulation would allocate these supplemental visas for returning workers between the first half and second half of the fiscal year to account for the need for additional seasonal and other temporary workers over the course of the year, with a portion of the second half allocation reserved to meet the demand for workers during the peak summer season.

American businesses in industries such as hospitality and tourism, landscaping, seafood processing, and more turn to seasonal or other temporary workers in the H-2B programme to help them meet demand from consumers. The supplemental visa allocation will help address the need for seasonal or other temporary workers in areas where too few U.S. workers are available, helping contribute to the American economy.

Japan proposes to let foreign workers change jobs under new trainee programme

A new government plan has been mooted to let foreign workers in the international trainee programme change jobs after a year if they meet certain requirements, such as basic Japanese language knowledge. The current technical intern programme does not allow job changes except in extraordinary circumstances.

Under the proposed amendments, trainees will be able to move on to a different employer in the same field after spending more than a year at one company, if they pass a basic skills test and the Japanese Language Proficiency Test at N5, the lowest level. It may be noted that workers changing jobs would not be able to move to a different field. For example, a farmworker will not be eligible to move to any job in the construction sector.

The draft proposal that will be submitted to the parliament next year would let workers initially stay in Japan for three years. They could then qualify for a specified skilled worker visa if they pass a more advanced skills assessment and the N4 level of Japanese proficiency, letting them stay for as long as five years. This will also provide a pathway to a level 2 visa that can be renewed indefinitely, opening the door to long-term employment.

Hong Kong to allow multiple-entry visa for foreign workers: Effective October 26, foreign staff working for companies registered in Hong Kong can apply for two-year multiple-entry visas on the mainland or through the China Immigration Service Centre, the Hong Kong government has announced.

In addition, November onwards, the government is set to expand its Top Talent Pass scheme to include eight reputable institutions from the Mainland and overseas in the list of eligible universities.

Preeti Verma Lal is a Goa-based freelance writer/photographer.

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