Canada, the United States, and Japan have all made notable changes to their immigration policies in 2024, reflecting their desire to welcome more foreign talent and fill labor force gaps.
Canada’s Ambitious Permanent Residency Targets
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced plans to welcome 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024, with figures rising to 500,000 in 2025 and plateauing at that number in subsequent years. Aiming to increase the French-speaking permanent resident population outside Quebec, the Plan includes annual targets of 6%, 7%, and 8% for that demographic during the said period.
The primary intention behind these targets is to bridge labor force gaps in critical sectors such as health, STEM fields, trades, transportation, and agriculture. The Express Entry system will see a migration target of over 110,000 immigrants in each year between now and 2026. Furthermore, the Provincial Nominee Program has also set targets of over110,000 immigrants annually within the same time frame.
Family sponsorship programs are expected to admit over 80,000 applicants per year, while the Parents and Grandparents Program aims for an annual influx of around 32,000-34,000 immigrants till 2026.
US Adds Nearly 65k H-2B Visas for FY2024
The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with the Department of Labor (DOL), is allocating an additional 64,716 H-2B visas on top of the existing quota of 66,000 visas for temporary nonagricultural workers in Fiscal Year (FY) 2024. This increase is in line with the maximum permitted under the September 2023 Fiscal Year Continuing Resolution.
The H-2B visa program enables employers to hire non-citizens for temporary work in nonagricultural fields such as seasonal, intermittent, or peak-load work. The additional allocation includes a country-specific quota and supplementary visas for returning workers who have held an H-2B visa in the past three fiscal years.
New Multiple-Entry Visa and Top Talent Pass Expansion for Hong Kong
The Hong Kong government has recently announced a significant update to its visa policy for foreign workers. Starting from October 26th, foreign staff employed by companies registered in Hong Kong will be eligible to apply for two-year multiple-entry visas. These visas can be obtained either on the mainland or through the China Immigration Service Centre. This new policy is expected to ease travel and work arrangements for foreign employees, making Hong Kong an even more attractive destination for international businesses.
In a further effort to attract global talent, the Hong Kong government is set to expand its Top Talent Pass scheme in November. Eight renowned institutions from the Mainland and overseas will be added to the list of eligible universities. Graduates from these institutions will receive an expedited pathway into the local workforce, further solidifying Hong Kong’s commitment to supporting a diverse and highly skilled labour market.
Major immigration developments in 2024 for Canada, the United States, and Japan demonstrate a proactive approach to address labor force shortages and attract foreign talent. Canada’s ambitious permanent residency targets aim to fill gaps in critical sectors, while the US has significantly increased its quota for H-2B visas for temporary nonagricultural workers. Additionally, Hong Kong’s new multiple-entry visa policy and Top Talent Pass expansion make it an even more appealing destination for international businesses. These changes reflect a growing global trend toward recognizing the importance of skilled immigration in driving economic growth and development.