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HomeStudy newsStudy: Canada is home to almost 1 million temporary residents

Study: Canada is home to almost 1 million temporary residents

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Posted on June 23, 2023 at 09:00 am EDT


On June 20, Statistic Canada published a study titled “Non-Permanent Residents in Canada: A Portrait of a Growing Population from the 2021 Census.” The study analyzes the characteristics of non-permanent residents according to the reason for their temporary residence in Canada, based on the results of the 2021 Population Census.

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According to the study, non-permanent residents are becoming an increasing part of Canada’s population. Non-permanent residents include temporary foreign workers, international students, and asylum seekers, who have the right to live in Canada temporarily.

In 2021, nearly 1 million non-permanent residents (NPRs) were counted in the census, representing 2.5% of Canada’s population.

Of that million, most of the NPR had a work permit. In 2021, 40.1% of NPRs only had a work permit and another 14.2% had a study permit in addition to their work permit. Additionally, NPRs with a study permit only accounted for 21.9% of all NPRs. Those seeking refugee protection accounted for 15.1% of NPRs.

The remaining 8.7% were a mix of other NPR types, including temporary resident permit holders, NPR relatives, and parental and grandparental supervisor holders.

NPRs are younger than the rest of the Canadian population.

Overall, 6 out of 10 NPRs in the 2021 census were young adults ages 20-34. For comparison, young adults made up 37.3% of recent immigrants and 18.4% of the rest of the Canadian population.

The young age of NPRs is likely due to the fact that most NPRs are work permit and study permit holders, which are people who are generally between the ages of 20 and 34.

India and China are the main birthplaces of NPR

The most common places of birth for NPRs were India (28.5%) and China (10.5%), although NPRs came from many different countries. India and China were the top birthplaces in most provinces, except Quebec, where France was the most common birthplace for NPRs (20.4%).

For asylum seekers, Nigeria was the most common place of birth (10.7%), followed by India (8.3%) and Mexico (8.1%). This varied quite a bit from province to province. In Ontario, Nigeria (15.4%) was the leading place of birth, while in Quebec it was Haiti (17.6%) and in British Columbia it was Iran (29.8%).

Most non-permanent residents know an official language

The extensive countries of origin of NPRs lead to a wealth and linguistic diversity in Canada. However, the vast majority (95.3%) of the NPRs had knowledge of an official language.

Nearly all NPRs with a study permit (97.7%) and with a work-study permit (99%) reported knowledge of English or French. The proportion was still high for asylum seekers (86.7%).

Outside of Quebec, knowledge of English was high (94.8%), while only 4.6% knew French. Within Quebec, 68.4% of NPRs knew French.

Labor force participation was high among non-permanent residents

Canada has an aging population, a declining fertility rate, and labor shortages. Therefore, Canada relies on NRPs to stimulate the economy and fill job vacancies.

The NPR labor participation rate was 74.2%, higher than that of the rest of the population (63.4%). However, the young age of the NPRs likely explains this difference.

Sales and service occupations were the top occupations for all NPRs age 15 and older. More than a third (36.4%) of NPRs worked in sales and service occupations, compared to a quarter (25%) of the rest of Canada’s population.

By comparison, the occupation profiles of asylum seekers were much more unique. These NPRs were most prevalent in commerce, transportation and equipment operators and related occupations (23.9%), manufacturing and utility occupations (12.3%), and health occupations (11.7%).

Skills are being more commonly underutilized in non-permanent residents

NPRs had a higher educational level on average compared to the rest of the population, but they were more often in occupations that did not require formal education (23.7%) than the rest of the population (15.7%).

In 2021, 32.4% of NPRs with a bachelor’s degree or higher were overqualified for their current position, while this was the case for only 26.2% of recent immigrants and 15.9% from the rest of the Canadian population.

Also, whether the bachelor’s degree or higher was earned in Canada or abroad made little difference to NPR’s overscore. Overqualification rates were fairly similar, with foreign credentials at 34% and national credentials at 28.1%.

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