The 2015 immigration plan unveiled by the government of Canada last week sets a target of between 260,000 and 285,000 new permanent residents next year, an increase of about 20,000 people from the goal for 2014.
The coming year will be one of the most exciting years for Canadian immigration in recent history, with the much-anticipated Express Entry immigration selection system scheduled to come into operation in January, 2015. For prospective immigrants, this report helps to paint a fuller picture of what can be expected.
Toward the end of each year, the government of Canada announces how many immigrants it aims to attract over the following year and reveals a breakdown in the number of immigrants that will be allocated to the various Canadian immigration programs. These programs cover skilled economic immigration, family sponsorship, and refugee and humanitarian programs. The economic category will account for the largest segment of the 2015 immigration plan, at almost 65 percent of overall admissions.
Breaking down the numbers
Canada is seeking to attract workers who will succeed in the Canadian labour market and integrate smoothly into Canadian society. Economic immigration, which is based on an individual’s skills and experience, presents an opportunity for foreign workers and their families to come to Canada through a variety of programs. Of the immigrants to be selected for permanent residence in Canada in 2015, between 169,000 and 185,200 are expected to be economic immigrants.
Economic immigration is segmented into different classes. One of these classes is the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), which allows temporary foreign workers with at least one year of Canadian work experience to apply for a Permanent Resident Visa. The allocation for CEC applicants for 2015 has been increased from 15,000 to 23,000 — welcome news for foreign workers and students in Canada who aspire to attain permanent resident status.
As for foreign skilled workers who don’t necessarily have one year of Canadian work experience, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) estimates that around 51,000 federal skilled workers will be selected in 2015. From January 1 under Express Entry, these workers may be selected by the federal and provincial governments, as well as Canadian employers. There will be no eligible occupation list, as there is under the Federal Skilled Worker Program in its existing format, and as of January prospective candidates will no longer be able to apply directly to that program. Instead, they will make an expression of interest in immigrating to Canada and, if selected, will be issued an invitation to apply for permanent residence.
The Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) has also received a modest boost in allocation numbers under the immigration plan. The PNPs allow provinces to nominate individuals who wish to immigrate based on local labour market needs, and applicants need to demonstrate their intention to settle in the province that has accepted their application or selected them.
The government of Canada aims to attract around 48,000 new immigrants through these provincial programs. Interestingly, a portion of the PNPs will be conducted through Express Entry, with the remainder of applications being processed outside the Express Entry system. The federal government has stated that it expects all provinces and territories (except Quebec and Nunavut) to participate in Express Entry, but it remains to be seen the extent to which the provinces select immigrants through Express Entry and the extent to which they select immigrants directly.
The government of Canada has also announced that it aims to select around 30,000 caregivers for Permanent Resident Visas in 2015 — you can read about this in more detail in this article from our November newsletter.
Other economic immigrants targeted for Canadian permanent residence in Canada include the various federal and provincial business and investor programs, as well as immigrants selected by Quebec, which outlined its own immigration plan for 2015 last week. The allocation set aside for Quebec, which holds jurisdiction over its own immigration policy under the Canada–Quebec Accord, has not changed significantly from recent years.
“We are recruiting a higher calibre of economic immigrant than we have ever seen before,” stated federal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Chris Alexander. “This is a goal we’ve had for some time. Many provinces already have 70 per cent economic immigration; that’s the aspiration Canada has as well. As we prepare to launch Express Entry in January 2015, this plan will help us attract skilled immigrants who are most likely to succeed.”
Family reunification and refugee cases remain a priority
Canada’s stated intention to reunite permanent residents in Canada with their families abroad remains intact under the 2015 immigration plan, as will cases made by individuals seeking permanent residence as refugees.
Family sponsorship is expected to result in 68,000 new permanent residents next year. This figure covers:
“Through the 2015 immigration plan we will welcome a record number of individuals who will contribute to our economy and labour market, while also ensuring that we reunite more families and continue to provide assistance to the world’s most vulnerable populations,” said Minister Alexander.
“Though there were no surprises, it is always refreshing to see that whichever government or party happens to be in power in Ottawa recognises that Canada needs sustained and planned immigration policies. That’s as true today as it ever has been. This immigration plan underscores the fact that Canada is willing to fight for the talented immigrants it needs,” says Attorney David Cohen.
“What is particularly interesting to note this time is that the government is increasingly looking toward its existing population of temporary workers and foreign students when formulating immigration policy. This is reflected in an increase in the allocation for candidates applying under the Canadian Experience Class and a concerted effort to deal with the backlog of caregivers already working in Canada who have applied for permanent residence. I expect this gradual shift to continue over the coming years as Canada realises the pool of talent it has already living within its borders, while also recognising that we need to continue attracting skilled immigrants from around the world.”
Moving forward: Express Entry
To read more details about the government of Canada’s demand-driven “expression of interest” immigration selection system known as Express Entry, please visit this page. Express Entry is scheduled to come into operation in January, 2015.
Skilled workers who wish to apply directly to the Federal Skilled Worker Program before the end of 2014 should assess their eligibility and, if eligible, apply at the earliest possible opportunity. Eligible candidates are able to apply directly to the program at the moment — an aspect that will change at the end of next month. Read this article from our previous newsletter to learn more about eligible occupations and other criteria.
To find out if you are eligible for any of over 60 Canadian immigration programs, please fill out a free online assessment today.