Ottawa Sets ‘Soft Cap’ on Temporary Residents to Manage Population Growth

In an important policy shift, Ottawa has announced plans to implement a “soft cap” on the number of new temporary residents entering Canada.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller revealed this news aims to decrease the temporary resident population to five percent of the overall population over the next three years, a reduction from the current 6.2 percent. This decision targets the rapid population growth of temporary residents like students and workers.

Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship revealed this news aims to decrease the temporary resident population.
Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (The Canadian Press)

The federal government’s strategy includes setting the first targets for temporary resident arrivals in September, addressing the burgeoning number of temporary residents that has seen Canada’s population swell by over 430,000 during the third quarter of 2023 alone.


The announcement is part of measures to make the immigration system more efficient. Earlier actions included slashing the number of new international student visas and instituting a temporary cap to alleviate housing pressures.

What Program that Temporary Residents Can Consider?


Despite these changes, temporary residents can still transition to permanent residency. For example, the healthcare and construction sectors will not be subject to the upcoming reduction in temporary worker allowances. This exemption opens up opportunities for individuals in these fields to pursue permanent residency through programs like the International Personal Care Attendant program, which is tailored for those looking to study and work in Canada in the healthcare sector.

Furthermore, the Canada Start-Up Visa program remains a viable option for immigrants seeking permanent residency. With an innovative business idea, a letter of support from a Designated Organization, and an English or French reach to CLB5, applicants will be qualified to apply for the Canada PR.


While the new policy represents a tightening of Canada’s temporary resident intake, it also underscores the government’s commitment to managing population growth more sustainably. By focusing on sectors critical to the country’s economy and well-being, Canada continues to welcome individuals who can contribute to its society, albeit with a more strategic approach to immigration.

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