Canada will admit nearly one million immigrants by 2020, according to the multi-year strategy tabled by the Liberal government in November 1st.
The new targets will bring Canada’s immigration to nearly one percent of the population by 2020, which will help offset an aging demographic. According to the Immigration Minister, five million Canadians are set to retire by 2035 and the country will have fewer people working to support seniors and retirees.
The economic class, with the majority set to immigrate through the Express Entry immigration selection system, will make up about 60% of newcomers. Targets for the economic categories generally — as well as Express Entry specifically — will increase every year until 2020.
Under the plan, the number of economic migrants, family reunifications and refugees will climb to 310,000 in 2018, up from 300,000 this year. That number will rise to 330,000 in 2019, and then 340,000 in 2020.
Express Entry and PNPs
The increased target intake for Express Entry candidates in 2017 was a contributory factor towards a decrease in Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) cut-off thresholds this year. A higher target intake for 2018 and beyond may contribute towards even lower CRS cut-off thresholds.
Another 184,000 or so economic migrants will be admitted through the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), which allow Canadian provinces and territories to nominate individuals who wish to immigrate to Canada and who are interested in settling in a particular province. An enhanced provincial nomination is the single most valuable factor under the CRS, as it results in 600 additional CRS points and an ITA at a subsequent draw from the pool.
2018 may bring even more PNP activities than this year, which itself has been a busy year on this front. In January, 2018 Alberta is set to join other provinces and territories in offering an enhanced Express Entry stream. Ontario has targeted candidates in specific occupations, notably in Information Technology (IT). Saskatchewan has expanded its in-demand occupations list, Nova Scotia recently reopened its popular Express Entry ‘Demand’ stream, British Columbia launched a Tech Pilot, with certain IT/tech occupations prioritized through its streams, including its Express Entry stream. Manitoba has also announced a number of changes to its Provincial Nominee Program in November 2017, including the creation of an in-demand occupations list and a new pathway aligned with Canada’s Express Entry system.
Among the other economic programs, the province of Quebec will admit 94,000 skilled workers and business immigrants by 2020, and Canada will continue to welcome business immigrants through its federal programs, with more than 2,000 federal business immigrant persons and their family members to be admitted over the next three years.
Family reunification and refugee settlement remain important
Other key highlights from Canada’s multi-year Immigration Levels Plan include a target to reunite around 265,000 spouses, common-law partners, dependent children, parents, and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents through the Family Class programs, with a slight increase in the overall Family Class targets year-on-year.
Since coming into office in late 2015, Canada’s Liberal government has made family reunification a priority, with measures to reduce processing times, bring in more immigrants through the Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP), and an extension of a successful work permit pilot program allowing sponsored spouses and common-law partners in Canada to work while their applications await a decision.