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Immigration in the Era of Remote Work: Challenges and Opportunities for Canada (2022)

Posted on:
June 3, 2022

This paper examines the intersection of the increasing adoption of remote work in Canada and Canada's ambitious immigration targets aimed at tackling growing demographic and labour challenges.

The authors explored this intersection through four lenses: immigrants themselves, federal immigration policy, provinces, territories, and municipalities, and employers. Researchers indicated "that the impact of remote work on immigration is still in its earliest stages and has been mostly unstudied as a result. Nevertheless, drawing from the existing literature and interviews with industry experts, community leaders, and immigrants themselves, this paper offers recommendations on possible policy actions, as well as several suggested areas for future research."

The authors framed the discussion with these points:

  • Immigration accounts for over 80% of Canada’s population growth, which is essential for economic development.
  • Canada struggles to attract and retain enough top-talent in various sectors.
  • Canada receives more applications for economic immigration than it accepts, creating a large backlog.
  • The number of people who work from home has risen by 159% since 2009.
  • 99% of people say they would choose to continue working remotely either full-or part-time.
  • Canada is a choice destination for remote workers, especially from the US.

Recommendations Regarding Federal Immigration Policy: 

  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) should explore new expedited work visa pathways for immigrants in sectors well suited to remote work.  
  • IRCC should consider a temporary work visa to attract workers who can work remotely.
  • IRCC should develop robust targeted marketing on new immigration pathways, highlighting Canada as a remote work destination.  

 Recommendations Regarding Provinces, Territories, and Municipalities: 

  • IRCC should coordinate with and provide supports for regional initiatives that successfully relocate remote workers to Canada, especially to communities with demographic and labour challenges.  
  • Governments at all levels should develop holistic strategies for preparing communities for remote work.  

 Recommendations Regarding Employers:   

  • The Government of Canada should convene relevant stakeholders to create guidelines and best practices for businesses considering adopting remote work arrangements. 
  • The Government of Canada should collaborate with organizations like the Business Development Bank of Canada to create additional support to small and medium-sized enterprises for attracting and retaining immigrants working remotely. 

In this presentation the authors share their report findings:

Immigration in the Era of Remote Work - Challenges and Opportunities for Canada (2022)

Summary

This paper examines the intersection of the increasing adoption of remote work in Canada and Canada's ambitious immigration targets aimed at tackling growing demographic and labour challenges.
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