February 7, 2024

Pathways to Permanent Residency and Industry Retention for Temporary Foreign Workers in Canadian Food and Accommodation Sectors

Temporary foreign workers (TFWs) play a crucial role in Canada's accommodation and food services industry and food manufacturing sector. However, questions have arisen regarding their ability to transition to permanent residency and their retention within these industries post-immigration.

In the latest issue of Economic and Social Reports, two articles shed light on the sociodemographic profiles of TFWs who entered these industries between 2000 and 2020. They analyze the rates of transitioning to permanent residency and remaining in the same industry after obtaining permanent residency, comparing TFWs with lower-skill occupations, those with higher-skill occupations, and study permit holders.

Transition to permanent residency varies across skill levels in the accommodation and food services industry

The study focusing on TFWs with lower-skill occupations in the accommodation and food services industry reveals that 29% of them who entered the industry between 2010 and 2014 became permanent residents within five years. This rate was lower compared to TFWs with higher-skill occupations (45%) and study permit holders (49%). Despite this, due to their larger population size, the absolute number of TFWs with lower-skill occupations transitioning to permanent residency was higher than those with higher-skill occupations.

Retention challenges for TFWs with lower-skill occupations in the food manufacturing industry

In the food manufacturing industry, TFWs with lower-skill occupations faced hurdles in transitioning to permanent residency, with only 39% achieving this within five years of starting work between 2010 and 2014. Additionally, the retention rate within the industry decreased over time for TFWs with lower-skill occupations who became permanent residents between 2011 and 2015, dropping from 73% in the year of immigration to 36% five years later. Moreover, the retention rate declined across successive landing cohorts, indicating ongoing challenges in retaining TFWs within the food manufacturing industry post-immigration.

These findings underscore the complexities surrounding the pathways of TFWs in Canadian industries. Addressing the transition to permanent residency and retention challenges faced by TFWs with lower-skill occupations is essential for ensuring a sustainable and inclusive workforce within these vital sectors of the Canadian economy.