Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series
Transition from Temporary Foreign Workers to Permanent Residents, 1990 to 2014

by Yuqian Lu and Feng Hou
Social Analysis and Modelling Division, Statistics Canada

Release date: February 21, 2017

Abstract

The number of temporary foreign workers in Canada increased considerably since the early 1990s. Temporary foreign workers also became an increasingly important source of permanent residents admitted to Canada over this period. Using the Temporary Residents File and the Immigrant Landing File, this article documents the changes in the levels and types of new temporary foreign workers who arrived in Canada from 1990 to 2014. It further examines the patterns of transition from temporary foreign workers to permanent residents, and the immigration classes through which temporary foreign workers obtained permanent residence.

Keywords: temporary foreign work, immigrants

Executive summary

The number of temporary foreign workers in Canada increased considerably from the early 1990s. Temporary foreign workers over this period also became an increasingly important source of permanent residents admitted to Canada. Using the Temporary Residents file and the Immigrant Landing File, this article documents the changes in the levels and types of new temporary foreign workers who arrived in Canada from 1990 to 2014. It further examines the patterns of transition from temporary foreign workers to permanent residents, and the immigration classes through which temporary foreign workers obtained permanent residence.

The new entries of temporary foreign workers doubled from the early 1990s to the late 2000s, and most of this increase occurred in the late 2000s. Temporary foreign workers came to Canada through either the International Mobility Program (IMP) or the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). Over the 1990s and 2000s, workers in the IMP outnumbered those in the TFWP , although the share of the TFWP increased rapidly, from 29% in the late 1990s to 41% in the late 2000s. In terms of skill levels, the share of higher-skilled temporary workers declined from 67% in the late 1990s to 40% in the late 2000s, even though their absolute numbers increased. Meanwhile, the share of temporary foreign workers whose skill levels were not specified increased.

From the late 1990s to the late 2000s, proportionately more temporary foreign workers gained permanent residence. Within five years after receiving their first work permits, about 9% of temporary foreign workers who arrived between 1995 and 1999 became permanent residents. The level increased to 13% for the 2000-to-2004 arrivals, and it rose further to 21% for the 2005-to-2009 arrivals.

The rate of transition to permanent residence was strongly associated with program types. The Live-in Caregiver Program and the Spouse or Common-law Partner category had the highest transition rates, while the transition rates for the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program and for the Reciprocal Employment category were far below the average.

Although higher-skilled temporary foreign workers had more pathways to become permanent residents, the transition rate was not much higher than that of lower-skilled workers when differences in program types and sociodemographic characteristics were taken into account. Furthermore, temporary foreign workers from less economically developed countries tended to have higher transition rates than their counterparts from developed countries.

The immigration classes through which temporary foreign workers obtained permanent residence varied considerably by program type. Those in the Low-Skill Pilot program were more likely to be processed through the Provincial Nominee Program, while higher-skilled temporary foreign workers were more likely to be processed through other economic classes. Workers in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program and in the Reciprocal Employment category were more likely to make the transition through the Family Class after they left Canada.

1. Introduction

Many developed economies use temporary foreign workers to regulate fluctuations in the labour market and to address short-term demands for high- and low-skill workers. In 2012, the inflows of temporary labour migrants to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries stood at 1.9 million, three times the number of permanent labour migrants (OECD 2014). In Australia, a country similar to Canada in terms of population size and immigration history, the allocation of temporary visas with work entitlements was more than three times the allocation of permanent visas in the early 2010s (Gregory 2014). In Canada, there were 221,000 initial entries and re-entries of temporary foreign workers in 2013, and there were 386,000 temporary foreign workers present on December 1, 2013 (Government of Canada n.d.b.). In the same year, Canada admitted 259,000 permanent residents, of which 25% (or 65,000) were economic immigrant principal applicants (CIC 2014).

Temporary labour migration in Western countries has also become an important pool from which permanent immigrants are drawn. For example, by the early 2010s, 60% of skilled immigrants admitted to Australia were previously employer-sponsored temporary foreign workers or former international students who found work after graduating from Australian educational institutions (Gregory 2014). In the United States, many high-skilled economic immigrants were initially employed on temporary work visas and subsequently sponsored by their employers for permanent residence (Hao 2013; Lowell and Avato 2014).

In Canada, a considerable number of temporary foreign workers became permanent residents in the 1980s and 1990s, even though most temporary foreign worker programs did not include provisions for transitioning to permanent residence (Hou and Bonikowska 2015). Since then, new pathways for such transitions have been created, such as the Provincial Nominee Program introduced in the late 1990s and the Canadian Experience Class introduced in 2008 (CIC 2013). Furthermore, the emphasis on pre-arranged job offers, Canadian work experience, and English or French ability in the recently implemented Express Entry system of selecting economic immigrants also benefits temporary foreign workers seeking permanent residence. Over the 2000s, a growing share of new immigrants had worked in Canada prior to landing. For example, among prime-working-age immigrants who landed in 2010, 29% of men and 31% of women had some pre-landing Canadian work experience, compared with 16% and 15% of those who landed in 1999 (Hou and Picot 2016).

The objective of this article is to provide an overview of the transition to permanent residence status in Canada by individuals who were initially admitted to the country as temporary foreign workers. The article first describes changes in the levels and types of new temporary foreign workers who arrived in Canada between 1990 and 2014. Information is subsequently presented on the rates of transitions to permanent residence among these temporary foreign workers. In this article, new temporary foreign workers refer to foreign nationals whose first temporary residence permit in Canada was a work permit under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program. The analysis is restricted to new temporary foreign workers who arrived in Canada at age 18 to 64; they account for 99% of all new temporary foreign workers.

This study is based on two administrative data files. The first is the Temporary Residents (TR) file. The TR file is created by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (formerly Citizenship and Immigration Canada [CIC]). This file contains sociodemographic and administrative information on all non permanent residents in Canada.

The second data source is the Immigrant Landing File (ILF), which includes sociodemographic characteristics at landing for immigrants who have arrived in Canada since 1980. This study uses the ILF to identify temporary foreign workers who made the transition to permanent residents, and their immigration class.

2. Categories of temporary foreign workers

Temporary foreign workers are a diverse group—both in terms of categories and skills. There are two main categories of foreign nationals who hold work permits in Canada: those in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and those in the International Mobility Program (IMP) (Government of Canada n.d.b.).Note 1

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

The TFWP is designed to admit temporary foreign workers into Canada to fill specific labour shortages in jobs and places where qualified Canadian workers are not available. Under the TFWP , a foreign national can apply for a work permit only after his or her potential Canadian employer receives a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA, formerly called Labour Market Opinion) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Through the LMIA process, ESDC assesses whether an employer’s offer of employment to potential foreign nationals will have a negative effect on the Canadian labour market. To obtain a positive LMIA, the employer has to demonstrate that qualified Canadian-born or permanent residents are unavailable for the specific job, “that the job offer is genuine, and that the employer has met job offer commitments to temporary foreign workers whom they hired in the past” (CIC 2014, p. 66). Work permits issued under the TFWP are generally restricted to a particular employer.

Of all new temporary residents admitted to Canada for work purposes between 2010 and 2014,Note 2 27% were admitted through the TFWP , down from 41% of temporary foreign workers admitted between 2005 and 2009 (Table 1). In terms of specific TFWP categories, the largest change from 2000 onward was the introduction in 2002 of the Pilot Project for Occupations Requiring Lower Levels of Formal Training (commonly referred to as the Low-Skill Pilot) and its modification in 2007 (Pang 2013). Within the 2005-to-2009 and 2010-to-2014 arrival cohorts, the Low-Skill Pilot accounted for 9% to 10% of all new temporary residents admitted for work purposes. Live-in caregivers accounted for about 4% to 9% of the total, while seasonal agricultural workers accounted for about 2% to 3%. The share of new temporary residents admitted for work purposes in the “other” TFWP category, which included mostly higher-skilled workers in management, professional, scientific or trade occupations, declined through the 2000s.

International Mobility Program

The primary objective of the IMP is to advance Canada’s broad economic and cultural interests. The IMP is designed to admit foreign workers who can provide significant economic, social or cultural benefit to Canada; to strengthen Canada’s competitiveness; or to fulfill Canada’s bilateral or multilateral trade agreements (CIC 2014). Temporary foreign workers under the IMP generally hold “open” work permits that enable them to work for any employer in any industry and location, or “open restricted” permits that restrict the occupation or the location but not the employer.Note 3

Of all new temporary residents admitted to Canada for work purposes, their share in the IMP has ranged from about 60% to 73% since the early 1990s. Of all new temporary residents admitted for work purposes between 2010 and 2014, 73% were in the IMP. The Reciprocal Employment category was the largest component within the IMP, accounting for 37% of all new temporary foreign workers who arrived in the 2010-to-2014 period, up from about 23% in the 1995-to-1999 period. For the most part, reciprocal employment covers young foreigners under the International Experience Canada program.

Other IMP components accounted for 7% to 11% of all new temporary foreign workers in the 2010-to-2014 period. About 10% were admitted under an International Agreement, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) or other free trade agreements (FTAs), as well as under provincial or territorial agreements. About 7% to 8% were admitted under the Significant Benefit category, as spouses or common-law partners, or under the Research and Studies Related category. The Significant Benefit category includes entrepreneurs or self-employed foreign nationals seeking to operate a business in Canada, and intra-company transferees who work in the Canadian branches of international companies. The Spouse/Common-law Partner category includes work permits issued to the spouse or common-law partner of a foreign worker or international student.

The Research and Studies Related category covers a wide range of work permits, such as work related to postsecondary education, postdoctoral fellows, distinguished scientists, and holders of a research chair at a Canadian university.

3. Characteristics of temporary foreign workers in Canada

The number of new temporary foreign workers in Canada increased considerably over the 1990s and 2000s (Table 2). Through the five years from 1990 to 1994, Canada issued work permits to around 267,000 foreign nationals who came to the country for the first time. Between 2000 and 2004, that number stood at 357,000, and it exceeded 578,000 in the five years from 2010 to 2014 (Table 1).Note 4

In addition to increasing in number, some sociodemographic characteristics of new temporary foreign workers also changed over the 1990s and 2000s. The majority of temporary foreign workers in Canada are men; however, the share of female workers increased since the late 1990s, reaching 41% in the late 2000s (Table 2). In terms of age, over 60% of new temporary foreign workers were aged 18 to 34 in the 1990s and 2000s; however, the share was somewhat higher (at almost 72%) in the 2010-to-2014 arrival cohort. Conversely, there was a corresponding 9% decline in the share of new temporary foreign workers aged 35 to 64.

The source region composition of new temporary foreign workers was relatively stable through the 1990s but changed through the 2000s. Comparing the 2000-to-2004 arrival cohort with the 2010-to-2014 cohort, the share of new temporary foreign workers from North America (mostly the United States) declined by almost 15 percentage points, from 31.7% to 17.2%, even though the absolute number from this region increased slightly. Conversely, the shares of new temporary foreign workers from Western and Northern Europe, Southern and Eastern Europe, Southern Asia and Southeast Asia all increased by about 3 percentage points.

In terms of skill levels, the share of higher-skilledNote 5 temporary workers declined from 67% in the late 1990s to 36% in the early 2010s. The shares of temporary foreign workers with lower skills generally ranged from 15% to 25%, with no discernible trends over time, while the shares of temporary foreign workers whose skill levels were not specified increased considerably. The majority of individuals in the International Experience Canada program and the Spouse/Common-law Partner category held open work permits without a specific occupation; thus, their occupational skill levels are not specified. The expansion of these programs raised the share of new temporary foreign workers without a specified skill level.

The largest share of new temporary foreign workers were destined for Ontario, but this share decreased from 44% in the early 1990s to 31% in the early 2010s. In contrast, the share of new temporary foreign workers destined for British Columbia and the Prairie Provinces increased from about one-third to about one-half. Strong labour demand in Western Canada and the use of the Provincial Nominee Program through the 2000s were two underlying factors (Bonikowska, Hou and Picot 2015).

4. Rates of transition to permanent residence

While most temporary foreign workers are expected to leave Canada at the end of the authorized period of employment, they are allowed to apply for permanent residence either during that period or after leaving Canada. The transition from temporary to permanent status takes time, and thus the rate of transition will increase with time after the first arrival. This progression can be expressed as a cumulative transition rate, which is the share of temporary foreign workers who became landed immigrants a specific number of years after obtaining their first work permit. For example, among temporary foreign workers who obtained their first work permit between 2000 and 2004, about 13% became permanent residents in the 5 years that followed. When the period of observation is extended to the 10 years following receipt of the first work permit, the cumulative rate rises to 16% (Chart 1).

Common to the three five-year arrival cohorts in the 1990s and early 2000s, most transitions occurred within the first five years following receipt of the first work permit. The rate increased another 1 to 2 percentage points by the 10th year, with little increase observed thereafter. It remains to be seen whether the 2005-to-2009 cohort will experience a similar trajectory as more years of data become available. For this analysis, emphasis is placed on the cumulative transition rate by year five. This five-year cumulative rate cannot be calculated for new temporary foreign workers who arrived in the 2010-to-2014 period, so that group is excluded from this part of the analysis.

There was a clear increase in the five-year cumulative transition rate across the cohorts that arrived in the late 1990s to the late 2000s (Chart 1). The 1995-to-1999 cohort had a transition rate of 9% by year five, compared with 13% for the 2000-to-2004 cohort and 21% for the 2005-to-2009 cohort. This upward trend corresponded with various policy changes that facilitated the transition to permanent residence, including the introduction of the Provincial Nominee Program and the Canadian Experience Class. The relatively high transition rate among the early 1990s cohort coincided with the implementation of the Backlog Clearance Program,Note 6 which was unique to that period (Hou and Bonikowska 2015).

Table 3 presents the five-year cumulative transition rates by program type and demographic characteristics. In addition to the observed rates, “adjusted” five-year cumulative transition rates are presented. To derive the adjusted rates, a probit regression model was estimated for each five-year arrival cohort. The outcome variable was a dichotomous variable indicating whether a temporary foreign worker became a landed immigrant by the end of the fifth year after receiving the initial work permit. Explanatory variables in the model include work permit category, gender, and age at receipt of first work permit, region of birth, skill level of first work permit, and geographic region of destination. Hence, the adjusted rate for each characteristic is “net” of the effects of other characteristics in the table.

Among the main TFWP categories, live-in caregivers had the highest observed transition rate. Of program participants who arrived in the late 1990s and early 2000s, 83% had become permanent residents by the end of their fifth year. The five-year transition rate dropped to 56% in the late 2000s, likely because of longer processing times resulting from application backlog (Atanackovic and Bourgeault 2014). Unlike other programs, the Live-in Caregiver Program allows participants to apply for permanent residence once they have worked as caregivers for children, people with disabilities or seniors in their clients’ home in Canada for two years.

Among the other TFWP categories, the 2005-to-2009 arrivals in the Low-Skill Pilot had a five-year transition rate of 31%, while the transition rate was less than 3% among seasonal agricultural workers. The transition rate for “other TFWPs”—mostly in higher-skilled occupations—was 23%.

Among the main IMP categories, the Spouse/Common-law Partner category had the highest five-year transition rate, with one-half of the individuals in the 2005-to-2009 arrival cohort becoming permanent residents. The transition rate among other IMP groups in the 2005-to-2009 cohort ranged from 6% to 16%. The range of five-year cumulative transition rates across programs is somewhat narrower when other characteristics are taken into account. This is because transition rates differ across gender, age group or skill levels (more on this below), and the composition of program participants differs systematically in these respects. However, the general patterns evident in the observed (i.e., unadjusted) rates remain.

In addition to variation across programs, transition rates also varied by sociodemographic characteristics (Table 3). Through the 2000s, the five-year cumulative transition rate among male temporary foreign workers doubled from 8% to 16%. Nevertheless, transition rates were still higher among female temporary foreign workers, at about 25% to 29% over the same period. This gender gap in the transition rates almost disappears when program categories and other sociodemographic characteristics are taken into account. There were more females in the Live-in Caregiver Program and the Spouse/Common-law Partner category, both of which had high transition rates.

In terms of age groups, the transition rates were highest among temporary foreign workers aged 25 to 44. All age groups experienced increases in transition rates from the late 1990s to the late 2000s.

Lower-skilled temporary foreign workers had a much higher five-year cumulative transition rate than those in the higher-skilled occupations or whose occupations were not specified. This difference almost disappears when program categories and other characteristics are taken into account. Low-skilled workers were concentrated in the Live-in Caregiver Program and the Low-Skill Pilot, both of which had high transition rates.

In terms of region of destination, the large increase in the share of temporary foreign workers destined for Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan was noted above. In addition, individuals in the Prairie Provinces also had the highest five-year cumulative transition rate, reaching 31% in the late 2000s. Again, this result likely reflected strong regional labour demand and the increased use of the Provincial Nominee Program. From the late 1990s to the late 2000s, the transition rate increased in all geographic regions.

The source region of temporary foreign workers was also associated with a very large variation in the transition rate. Temporary foreign workers from Southeast Asia (mostly the Philippines) stood out over the entire study period, in large part reflecting the high concentration of women from this region in the Live-in Caregiver Program. When program type and other sociodemographic factors are taken into account, the adjusted transition rate for Southeast Asia looks much like the rates for temporary foreign workers from other regions. Starting from the late 1990s, temporary foreign workers from Africa had the second-highest observed transition rate and the highest adjusted transition rate among all source regions. Among the late 2000s arrivals, about 40% of temporary foreign workers from Africa gained permanent residence by the end of the fifth year after receiving their first work permit,Note 7 compared with 6% among those from North America (the United States and Mexico), 7% from Oceania (mostly Australia and New Zealand), and 17% from Eastern Asia.

The variation in transition rates across source regions may be related not only to differences in program types and individual sociodemographic characteristics, but also to source country attributes affecting individuals’ desire and motivation to remain in Canada permanently. For example, temporary foreign workers from less developed countries may be more likely to prefer permanent residence in Canada, given expected increases in their standard of living relative to their country of origin. This is supported by a strong negative correlation between the five-year cumulative transition rates and the log of purchasing-power-parity-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) per capita (in 2005 constant U.S. dollars) of the source countries (Charts 2 and 3). In both Charts 2 and 3, each bubble represents one source country, and the bubble size reflects the number of new work permit holders from that country. Chart 2 plots the observed transition rates by source-country log GDP, while Chart 3 plots the rates adjusted for differences in program types and sociodemographic characteristics of temporary foreign workers by source country.

In both charts, temporary foreign workers from countries with higher GDP per capita, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Japan, had much lower transition rates than those from less-developed source countries such as the Philippines, India and China. The negative association between transition rates and source-country log GDP was weaker in Chart 3 than in Chart 2, mostly because of control of program types. This suggests that the difference in program types by source country accounted for part, but not all, of the strong negative association in Chart 2. Put differently, temporary foreign workers from less developed countries were, proportionately, admitted more in programs that tended to have high transition rates, such as the Live-in Caregiver Program and the Low-Skill Pilot.

5. Pathways of transition to permanent residence

Transition to permanent residence can occur while temporary foreign workers are employed in Canada on valid work permits, or after they have finished their authorized terms and left the country. The transition can be achieved through various immigration programs, such as the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker Program and so on. This section examines the role of these pathways to permanent residence. As documented above, 13% of new temporary foreign workers in the 2000-to-2004 arrival cohort and 21% of those in the 2005-to-2009 cohort became permanent residents within five years of receiving their first work permit. These cohorts have been combined for this portion of the analysis.

Among temporary foreign workers who became permanent residents, the vast majority (over 85%) made the transition while they still held a valid permit (Table 4). Among the 2000s arrivals, about 97% of the Live-in Caregiver group made the transition from within Canada; they could renew their work permits and apply for permanent residence after working for two years in Canada. Conversely, the Seasonal Agricultural Workers group and the Reciprocal Employment group had a considerably lower likelihood of transition from within Canada. For both groups, the duration of work permits tended to be short—normally eight months for seasonal agricultural workers and six months to two years for most reciprocal employment sub-categories.

Of the “other” IMP participants who arrived over the 2000s and made the transition to permanent resident status, 16% did so within two years after their last work permit expired, and less than 10% made the transition more than two years after that permit expired.

Finally, Table 5 shows the immigration classes through which temporary foreign workers became permanent residents. Overall, the majority of transitions to permanent residence were through the economic class, including the PNP and other economic immigration classes. The PNP was first introduced in the late 1990s and became more prevalent after the early 2000s. The timing explains the large increase in the share of transitions through the PNP from 0.8% in the 1990s to 23.4% in the 2000s, and the corresponding decrease in the share of transitions through the other economic classes. Meanwhile, the share of transitions through the Family Class declined by 5 percentage points, from 17% in the 1990s to 12% in the 2000s. Less than 3% of temporary foreign workers became permanent residents through other immigrant classes (mostly under refugee and humanitarian programs).

There is considerable variation in the immigration classes through which temporary foreign workers in different programs made the transition. Among the 2000s arrivals, 80% of workers in the Low-Skill Pilot obtained their permanent residence through the PNP. In comparison, 95% of live-in caregivers made the transition through a class specifically provided for them (part of other economic immigration classes). For the limited number of seasonal agricultural workers who gained their permanent residence, the transition was almost entirely through the Family Class and on a humanitarian basis. For the “other” TFWP individuals, most of whom were in higher-skilled occupations, 38% were admitted through the PNP and 50% through other economic immigration classes (primarily skilled workers).

Among temporary foreign workers in the IMP who first arrived in 2000 to 2009, the Reciprocal Employment group had a much higher share of transition through the Family Class (42%) than did other programs. About 80% or more of the transitions in other IMP programs were through either the PNP or other economic immigration classes.

6. Conclusion

The number of temporary foreign workers in Canada increased considerably from 1990 to 2014. Temporary foreign workers also became an increasingly important source of permanent residents admitted to Canada. Using the Temporary Residents (TR) file and the Immigrant Landing File, this article documents the changes in the levels and types of new temporary foreign workers who arrived in Canada in the 1990s and 2000s. It further examines the patterns of transition from temporary foreign workers to permanent residents, and the immigration classes through which temporary foreign workers obtained permanent residence.

The new entries of temporary foreign workers doubled from the early 1990s to the late 2000s, and most of this increase occurred in the late 2000s. Temporary foreign workers came to Canada through either the International Mobility Program (IMP) or the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). Over the 1990s and 2000s, workers in the IMP outnumbered those in the TFWP , although the share of the TFWP increased rapidly, from 29% in the late 1990s to 41% in the late 2000s. In terms of skill levels, the share of higher-skilled temporary workers declined from 67% in the late 1990s to 40% in the late 2000s, even though their absolute numbers increased. Meanwhile, the share of temporary foreign workers whose skill levels were not specified increased.

From the late 1990s to the late 2000s, proportionately more temporary foreign workers gained permanent residence. Within five years after receiving their first work permits, about 9% of temporary foreign workers who arrived between 1995 and 1999 became permanent residents. The level increased to 13% for the 2000-to-2004 arrivals, and it rose further to 21% for the 2005-to-2009 arrivals.

The rate of transition to permanent residence was strongly associated with program types. The Live-in Caregiver Program and the Spouse or Common-law Partner in Canada Class had the highest transition rates, while the transition rates for the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program and for the Reciprocal Employment category were far below the average.

The rate of transition was also affected by temporary foreign workers’ desire to stay in Canada permanently, and by their source country characteristics. Although higher-skilled temporary foreign workers had more pathways to become permanent residents, the transition rate was not much higher than that of lower-skilled workers when differences in program types and sociodemographic types were taken into account. Furthermore, temporary foreign workers from less economically developed countries tended to have higher transition rates than their counterparts from developed countries.

When temporary foreign workers became permanent residents, most of the transitions occurred within Canada when their work permits were still valid. The majority were processed through the economic class. However, the transition pathways varied considerably by program type. Relative to other programs, workers in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program and in the Reciprocal Employment category were more likely to make the transition through the Family Class after they left Canada. Those in the Low-Skill Pilot were more likely to be processed through the Provincial Nominee Program, while higher-skilled temporary foreign workers were more likely to be processed through other economic classes.

The variation in the adjusted transition rates across program types was smaller than in the observed rates, although the general patterns remained similar. On the one hand, this result suggests that government regulations for each program, and the intentions of temporary foreign workers in these programs to make the transition, played a major role in determining the transition rates by program type. On the other hand, the smaller variation in the adjusted rates suggests that differences in age at arrival, gender, source region, permit skill level and intended destination accounted for some of the gaps in transition rates by program type. For instance, the adjusted rate for live-in caregivers who arrived between 2005 and 2009 was about 13 percentage points lower than the observed rate. This difference was mostly because of control of source region. Live-in caregivers came mostly from Southeast Asia—a source region that was generally associated with a high transition rate.

This article provides a broad picture only of the recent trends and patterns of transition from temporary foreign workers to permanent residents. Further studies should examine transition patterns across different categories of temporary foreign workers and between temporary foreign workers and other types of temporary residents such as international students. When combining the TR file with administrative tax data, future research can examine temporary foreign workers’ economic performance, geographic mobility across Canadian regions, and effect on the local labour market.

7. Appendix

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