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 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.

Economic Immigration Class: Projected Admissions
Year Projected admissions
2019 191,600
2020 195,800
2021 202,300

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:

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.

Current Programs

Details on core and pilot programs are provided respectively in Annexes A and B.

Core Programs

The vast majority of economic immigrants are selected through a set of longstanding core programs which focus on:

Each program has distinct objectives aimed at selecting immigrants across a range of skill levels (i.e., from entry level to management).

Pilot Programs

A smaller share of economic immigrants are selected via targeted or pilot programs geared to specific regions, occupations or sectors.

Express Entry

Express Entry Pool

Recent Developments

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).

Key Takeaways

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

Federal Programs

Regional Programs

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

Sectoral and Occupational

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