CIMM – Economic Immigration – November 29, 2022
- Canada faces demographic and economic challenges due to our aging population, which immigration can help address. Recent Census data reveal that from 2016 to 2021, immigrants accounted for four-fifths of labour force growth and that immigration is the main driver of Canada’s population growth.
- Immigration is a central pillar of Canada’s economic growth. Economic immigrants are educated, fill targeted labour and skills shortages, contribute to innovation and workplace diversity, and integrate into the Canadian labour market.
- Canada continues to welcome newcomers, particularly economic class immigrants, through multiple immigration streams. These newcomers have the skills our economy needs to thrive as we move forward.
- The 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan supports building a resilient economy by prioritizing economic immigration. Particular focus is given to regional programs so that the benefits of immigration are spread throughout the country.
- Canada has implemented several pilots and programs to support economic immigration, including in rural and remote regions, some of which embed supports for settlement and integration to help ensure newcomer success.
Economic Class Levels: The 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan sets ambitious immigration targets, aiming to welcome 465,000 new permanent residents in 2023, 485 000 in 2024, and 500,000 in 2025. It prioritizes economic immigration, with projected admissions in the economic class reaching 60% by 2025.
Space for regional programs has increased, to help meet local labour market needs and spread the benefits of immigration across the country. In 2023, the targets for the Provincial Nominee Program and the Atlantic Immigration Program increased by 22,000 and 2,250 admissions respectively.
Supporting Facts And Figures
- Express Entry: Express Entry is Canada’s flagship application management system for those seeking to immigrate permanently through the Federal High Skilled Programs and a portion of the Provincial Nominee Program. These programs attract high-skilled foreign workers who want to live in Canada permanently and whose in-demand skills are needed by employers across the country to help build businesses and grow the economy.
- In June 2022, the Government of Canada made changes to facilitate selection of candidates on the basis of attributes, such as official language knowledge and work experience in an occupation. “Category-based selection”, expected to be launched in spring 2023, will build on the success of Express Entry with more flexibility to respond to evolving economic needs and Government priorities. Categories have not yet been established, will change over time, and will be informed by engagement with provincial and territorial partners and stakeholders.
- The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) provides provinces and territories (PTs) a means to address their economic development needs and distributes the benefits of immigration across Canada. Canada welcomed 70,837 provincial nominees and their families as of September 30, 2022. Admissions have increased by almost 600% between 2005 and 2021. PTs are responsible for the design and implementation of their PNP streams. All PTs have skilled worker and/or international graduate streams to fill labour needs at any skill level. Some PTs recently added innovative streams to target certain priority sectors (i.e. healthcare). These streams are often designed in partnerships with regulatory bodies, education institutions and employers.
- In addition to the PNP, there are several regional programs and pilots:
- Launched in 2017, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot brought over 16,500 newcomers to the Atlantic region (as of September 30, 2022), with participating employers making over 11,000 job offers in key sectors. Most significantly, over 90% of AIP applicants were still living in the region after 1 year; a much higher retention rate than other programs. On January 1, 2022, IRCC and Atlantic Provinces transitioned the pilot into a permanent program.
- The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, introduced in 2019, uses a community-based economic development approach with the aim to support 11 partner rural or remote communities located in northern Ontario and western Canada. On September 23, 2022, the pilot was extended until August 2024. As of September 30, 2022, there were 1,419 admissions.
- Phase 2 of the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP), launched in December 2021, focuses on durable solutions for refugees with the skills and qualifications that Canadian employers need. Candidates have to meet the class membership and selection criteria of one of the qualifying economic streams (PNP, AIP or RNIP) as well as demonstrate they can economically establish in Canada. As of August 31, 2022, a total of 47 persons have been approved under Phase 2 of the EMPP. This builds upon the 81 admissions under Phase 1 of the pilot.
- In 2021, IRCC created a time-limited Temporary Resident to Permanent Resident Pathway, which targeted recent international graduates and essential workers in areas such a healthcare. Dedicated streams for French-speaking temporary residents were included. Close to 24,000 new permanent residents were admitted through this pathway in 2021 and approximately 37,155 more have been admitted to the end of September 30, 2022 (i.e. 93% of the 40,000 planned admissions for this year). A further 25,000 admissions are planned in 2023.
- The three-year Agri-Food Pilot, launched in 2020, provides a pathway to permanent residence for full-time, year-round workers in specific agri-food industries and occupations. As of September 30, 2022, approximately 883 permanent residents were welcomed through the pilot this year. In addition, as of the end of September, approximately 680 principal applicants have been admitted under the Temporary Resident to Permanent Resident Pathway in occupations that qualify under the Agri-Food Pilot Footnote 1.
- The five-year Home Child Care Provider and Home Support Worker pilots, introduced in 2019, provide a clear and direct pathway to permanent residence for caregivers from abroad and their families. From January 1 to September 30, 2022, approximately 3,800 new permanent residents were welcomed to Canada through all caregiver pathways, including through these two pilots.
- Francophone Immigration: Immigration also helps maintain the vitality of official language minority communities in Canada. The Government of Canada is on track to achieving the 4.4% target for French-speaking admissions outside of Quebec by 2023 (see separate note on Francophone Immigration Outside Quebec), with admissions through economic immigration programs being a key driver of this success.
- Outcomes of Economic Immigrants: Economic principal applicants’ employment earnings have historically been well above the average for all immigrants, and surpass the Canadian average shortly after landing. The gap in employment rates between all immigrants and the Canadian-born population has narrowed in recent years (with the exception of 2020). In 2021, 79.1% of immigrants aged 25-54 were employed, compared to 83.9% of the Canadian-born.
- Despite the strong performance, many economic immigrants do face barriers to labour market integration, including discrimination with differential impacts on racialized newcomers Footnote 2, under-recognition of foreign work experience and credentials. As a result, economic immigrants may end up in jobs for which they are overqualified.
- Language: Proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages is a key determinant of labour market success, and most economic program applicants must demonstrate they meet minimum language proficiency requirements. Four language testing organizations are currently designated by IRCC for economic immigration purposes (two English and two French). The designation of a second French language testing organization in 2018 reduced the cost of French language testing and increased its availability in Canada and around the world.
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