On Monday, October 28, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander oversaw the tabling of the Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration. The report includes important information on the Canadian Government’s plans for immigration in 2014.
The report outlines target immigrant admissions both overall and per immigration category. It also provides further information about Canada’s gradual transition to an Expression of Interest (EOI) model of immigration in 2015. For prospective immigrants, this report helps to paint a fuller picture of what can be expected in the upcoming year.
The Overall Picture
According to the report, Canada expects to welcome between 240,000 and 265,000 new permanent residents in 2014. This is roughly equivalent to target immigration levels over the past few years.
Immigrants arrive to Canada under one of three general categories: economic, humanitarian, and family sponsorship. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced that for 2014, a full 63% of new immigrants will receive permanent residency through an economic immigration program. This means that next year, economic immigrants will make up a higher percentage of newcomers to the country than ever before.
“Securing economic growth is and will remain our Government’s top priority,” said Minister Alexander. “Canada is in a global competition for the best and brightest immigrants, and this plan is crafted with attracting the people we need for Canada to succeed.”
Why Economic Immigration?
Canada is seeking to attract workers who will succeed in the Canadian labour market and integrate smoothly into Canadian society. Economic immigration presents an opportunity for qualified foreign workers to come to Canada through a variety of programs targeting their professional backgrounds, thus benefitting both themselves and Canadian workers.
A wide variety of programs fall under the spectrum of economic immigration. These include the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, Canadian Experience Class, Business Immigration Programs, and Provincial Nominee Programs. Over the past year, significant changes have been made to a number of programs in this area. These include modifications to the popular Federal Skilled Worker Program, as well as the creation of new programs like the Federal Skilled Trades Program and Entrepreneur Start-Up Visa Program. All changes have been made with the goal of ensuring that today’s new arrivals are better equipped to start their lives in Canada and succeed professionally.
While economic immigrants will be drawn from all of these programs, CIC anticipates record levels of admissions from Provincial Nominee Programs and the Canadian Experience Class program.
“This immigration plan underscores the fact that Canada is willing to fight for the talented immigrants it needs,” said Attorney David Cohen. “By renewing an emphasis on economic immigration across the board, the government is putting growth and prosperity, for both immigrants and Canada as a whole, at the forefront of its immigration policy.”
Family Reunification, Refugees Remain a Priority
The planned increase in economic immigration will in no way reduce Canada’s commitment to families and individuals seeking permanent residency on humanitarian grounds.
Minister Alexander reassured individuals that “we will continue to drive down backlogs, reduce wait times and improve service. We will continue to reunite families. We will continue to give refuge to the worlds most vulnerable.”
The family sponsorship stream is expected to welcome 69,000 new permanent residents, accounting for over a quarter of total visa issuances. In fact, CIC anticipates that 2014 levels of parent and grandparent permanent resident visa issuances will be the highest in almost 20 years. This does not include the recent introduction of the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa program, which issues over 1,000 long-term visitor visas monthly to the parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
Moving Forward: the EOI System
The goals laid out in this week’s report are part of numerous efforts that have been undertaken as Canada moves towards an EOI model of immigration. Canada is expected to transition to an EOI immigration model for its economic immigration programs by 2015.
It is anticipated that the EOI system will provide immigrants with greater support during the application process and through their landing in Canada. It will also allow Canadian officials to select immigrants that are most likely to succeed in the country’s labour market and society.
To find out if you are eligible for one of over 60 Canadian immigration programs, please fill out a free online assessment today.