Each year Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) releases an Immigration Levels Plan that acts as the guideline for how many immigrants will be allowed to come to Canada each year. It includes the breakdown of immigrants from economic class, family class and humanitarian class programs over the next three years. This year it will show projections for 2023, 2024 and 2025.
The government must make this announcement by November 1 of each year, as per the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), which is Canada’s main immigration law. It is the second Immigration Levels Plan announced in 2022, the first occurred in February after the most recent federal election on September 20, 2021.
The 2022-2024 plan was not announced until February 2022 instead of the normally scheduled one due by November 1, 2021.
After the election, Parliament did not resume until November 22, 2021, after which it only sat for 19 days until the holiday break began. In these situations, according to IRPA, the plan must be announced within 30 days of Parliament reconvening. In this case, Parliament resumed in mid-January 2022.
Now that Parliament is in full swing, the government will proceed with releasing the newest Immigration Levels Plan on its regular schedule.
Under the Immigration Levels Plan for 2022-2024, Canada has been targeting to bring 431,645 new permanent residents total through all immigration classes in 2022. This target steadily increases into 2024 for a total of 451,000 new permanent residents.
So far in 2022 Canada has already welcomed over 300,000 new permanent residents. Most of them are from economic class programs. The target for economic class immigrants in 2022 is 241,850, or approximately 60% of the total number of immigrants. The 2022 plan also targets 105,000 family class immigrants and 8,250 from the refugee and humanitarian class.
Once the new Immigration levels Plan for 2023-2025 is announced, these targets may all change and are no longer used as the reference point for IRCC immigration targets.
Typically, the Immigration Levels Plan contains new increases, and are currently at their highest levels ever. For example, less than 10 years ago the total target for 2016 was 250,000 immigrants. In 2021, IRCC broke the record for the largest number of permanent residents ever, totaling over 405,000 even during uncertainty brought by the pandemic.
The current overall target for 2023 stands at 447,055 before a very modest increase to 451,000 in 2024.
IRCC works with various other governmental departments and stakeholders to create an Immigration Levels Plan that is balanced in how permanent resident’ spots are allocated in each class and subsequent program.
In June, in an interview with CIC News, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said he would consult with the provinces to better understand their labour market needs as some provincial immigration ministers have criticized the current plan for not allocating enough spots to Provincial Nomination Programs (PNPs), which they believe are better suited to target the skilled immigrants required to bolster the workforce and make up for shortfalls in Canada’s labour force.
The minister also said that he can foresee targets going as high as 500,000 new permanent residents a year in the coming years. However, he did not specify when.
“Look, I wouldn’t put it on the clock,” he said. “I think we will get there. We’re growing in excess of 1% of our population through the existing track. That trajectory is going to continue. I don’t know the exact year we’re going to cross that threshold [500,000 immigrants per year]. It’s going to be based on the needs of communities.”
Based on data from IRCC, as of August 31, there are 513, 923 applications for permanent residency waiting to be processed. IRCC recently announced that it was working to improve client services and speed up processing time by hiring over 1,000 new employees, moving to a 100% digital application process, and overall making investments to modernize the aging technology that the department relies on.
The Immigration Levels Plan is created by IRCC, in consultation with several governmental departments, to support the IRCC mandate to welcome and support immigrants in order to grow the economy, reunite families and provide humanitarian assistance.
New immigrants are especially vital to Canada’s economy because they contribute through their labour and by paying income tax. For instance, these taxes are meant to support infrastructure, healthcare, education, pensions and more. Canada’s population is aging and baby boomers, those born between 1946 and the early 1960s, are reaching the retirement age of 65. An increased number of immigrants will help Canada maintain its high living standards.
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