IRCC Minister Transition Binder 2019: Economic Immigration
Area at a Glance
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) manages a number of economic immigration programs that support the development of a strong Canadian economy and ensure that the benefits of immigration are shared across all regions.
- Economic immigrants are selectedFootnote * for their ability to contribute to Canada’s economy.
Economic immigration represents the largest share (almost 60%) of annual permanent residence admissions and the volume is growing.
IRCC works closely with provinces and territories to manage the Provincial Nominee Program.
Quebec has the exclusive authority over the selection of economic immigrants destined to the province.
Scope of Impact
Principal applicants in the economic category have the best performance outcomes among immigrants and have a net positive economic contribution to Canada:
- In high-skilled programs, average annual earnings surpass the Canadian average soon after landing.
As the largest portion of the annual immigration levels plan, economic immigration programs are often used to meet short and long-term labour market shortages and needs.
- As an important lever of managed migration, the Minister has the ability to calibrate the impact of economic immigration programs through levels setting, and adjusting the mix of programs and criteria.
- Provinces/territories and other stakeholders often press for more and different economic immigration programming to address a range of needs and interests.
Details on core and pilot programs are provided respectively in Annexes A and B.
The vast majority of economic immigrants are selected through a set of longstanding core programs which focus on:
- Human capital factors (e.g., level of education, language proficiency, Canadian work experience), and
- Labour market needs (e.g., job offers, provincial nominations)
- Resulting in the strongest economic outcomes
Each program has distinct objectives aimed at selecting immigrants across a range of skill levels (i.e., from entry level to management).
A smaller share of economic immigrants are selected via targeted or pilot programs geared to specific regions, occupations or sectors.
- Since 2015, applications for most of the core programs have been managed by Express Entry, an electronic application management system that has introduced competition in the selection of economic immigrants.
- Express Entry has improved our ability to select high-skilled immigrants with the best overall chance to succeed, respond to labour market and regional needs, and has reduced processing times (i.e., on average six months or less).
Express Entry Pool
- Expression of Interest
- Minimum entry criteria
- Candidates who meet the minimum entry criteria of a core program are entered into the Express Entry pool (pool size currently over 115,000 candidates).
- Comprehensive ranking system
- Candidates are awarded points based on their profile and ranked by the Comprehensive Ranking System which awards points, including for human capital factors.
- Invitation to apply
- Candidates with the highest rankings – those best positioned for economic success – are invited to apply during rounds of invitations (every two weeks).
- Application Processing
Higher Economic Immigration
Economic immigration levels have increased, primarily in federal high-skilled and provincial nominee categories.
In 2019, the target for economic immigrants is 191,600, projected to climb to 202,300 in 2021.
In 2021, 79% of economic immigration will come from federal high-skilled programs and the Provincial Nominee Program (vs. 74% in 2019).
Higher Transitions to Permanent Residence
Students and workers are increasingly viewed as a promising source of talent that can transition to permanent residence through economic programs.
In 2018, 62% of principal applicants outside Quebec admitted in permanent residence economic immigration programs previously held temporary work permits; 36% had a study permit at some point.
Increasing Number of Targeted Programs
New pilot programs have been created to help respond to policy priorities or labour market needs: Atlantic Immigration Pilot, Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot and Agri-Food Immigration Pilot.
Longstanding caregiver programming was reconfigured on a pilot basis (2014 and 2019), while the small Start-Up Visa Pilot was made permanent (2018).
Economic immigration represents the largest share of the immigration levels plan and is seen by the public and stakeholders as most connected to responding to Canada’s short- and long-term economic needs.
Core programs are well-established and generate consistently positive outcomes for immigrants and the Canadian labour market.
New measures and targeted pilot programs have been introduced recently to meet specific regional or sectoral needs.
Upcoming Decisions: Setting the immigration levels including those for the economic immigration programs, and considering the mix of existing and potential new tools (e.g., programs and pilots) for fine-tuning the system.
“Canada has not only the largest in terms of numbers, but also the most elaborate and longest-standing skilled labour migration system in the OECD.” Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, July 2019
Annex A: Core Programs at a Glance
- Objective: Select and retain skilled workers and business people who can succeed over the long term in the Canadian economy and labour market.
- Federal Skilled Worker Program
- Federal Skilled Trades Program
- Canadian Experience Class
- Start-Up Visa
- Self-Employed Program
- 2019 target: 82,100
- Objective: Distribute the benefits of immigration across Canada by selecting skilled workers and entrepreneurs best suited to meet regional economic development and labour market needs.
- Provincial Nominee Programs (comprised of 80+ streams)
- 2019 target: 61,000
Under the Canada-Quebec Accord, Quebec selects the economic immigrants destined to the province. The 2019 target is 23,450.
Annex B: Pilot Programs at a Glance
Innovative and Regional
- Atlantic Immigration Pilot (2017-2021): Designed to support economic growth and retention of newcomers in the Atlantic region by testing an employer-driven model and a new partnership with provinces.
- 2019 applications: 2,750
- Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (2019-2024): A community-driven model, forging innovative partnerships with rural and northern communities, providing them with tools to attract and retain workers in support of regional economic development.
- Annual applications: up to 2,750
Sectoral and Occupational
- Caregivers (2019-2024): Testing a new selection approach to address labour market needs in caregiving occupations. These offer a clearer transition from temporary to permanent status while reducing family separation and worker vulnerability.
- Annual applications: up to 5,500
- Agri-Food Immigration Pilot (2020-2023): In response to stakeholder reports of longstanding labour shortages in the agri-food sector, Budget 2019 announced this industry-specific pilot to help facilitate worker recruitment and retention.
- Annual applications: up to 2,750
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