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Canada boosts immigration targets: Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025

November 10, 2022

By Canadian Immigrant Magazine |

On November 1, 2022, Sean Fraser, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), tabled Canada’s 2022 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration.  The publication of the Report to Parliament on Immigration is an annual occurrence in which Canada’s immigration department summarizes Canadian immigration statistics of the previous year and provides immigration levels planning for the future.  This year’s report generated considerable media attention because the government announced that its target for 2025 was to admit 500,000 new permanent residents.

Where we are coming from

In 2021, Canada welcomed 405,999 permanent residents, the highest level of immigration in the country’s history. Of this, 191,338 were individuals who transitioned from temporary resident status to permanent.  The economic immigration class continued to be the largest source of permanent resident admissions, at approximately 62% of all admissions in 2021.  Overall numbers were up for all programs compared to 2020, which is not surprising due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic that year.

IRCC in 2021 also approved 415,817 work permits and 445,776 study permits.  When accompanying family members are factored in, this means that the number of people who entered Canada with temporary status continued to greatly exceed the number of permanent residents admitted.

It should be noted that when it comes to the impacts of immigration on Canada’s economy, housing prices, social cohesion, etc., the media often focuses on the number of permanent residents admitted to Canada.  However, as can be seen in the above statistics, the admission of permanent residents only tells part of the story regarding who is coming to Canada and is not reflective of the total number of people actually admitted to Canada.

Where we are going

In February of this year, IRCC stated that its goal was to welcome approximately 431,645 new  people as permanent residents in 2022, 447,055 people as new permanent residents in 2023, and 451,000 in 2024.

The new 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan is more ambitious. The new target for 2023 is 465,000 new permanent residents. The goal for 2024 is 485,000. The goal for 2025 is 500,000.

There are several things to note about these projections.

First, Quebec’s immigration agreement with Ottawa allows the province to welcome around 23% of Canada’s new permanent residents.  Based on the levels above this would exceed 100,000 per year. On November 2, 2022, Quebec Premier Francois Legault reiterated his position that Quebec cannot accept more than 50,000 immigrants a year. If Quebec maintains this position it is not clear if the federal government would reallocate targets elsewhere or accept lower overall immigration levels for Canada.

Second, certain programs dominate the revised numbers. In February 2022, the government targeted that 86,000 new permanent residents would be admitted through the Provincial Nomination Program in 2023.  That number has been revised to 110,000.  The forecasted number of business immigrants has also increased since the February 2022 plan from 1,000 people in 2023 to 5,000. Finally, the target for humanitarian & compassionate and public policy admissions for 2023 has increased from 10,500 to 15,985.

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