Why does Canada welcome over 400,000 immigrants per year?

Immigration Canada’s goal is to continuously increase the number of immigrants to strengthen the economy, unite families and provide humanitarian assistance to refugees.

Immigration to Canada is divided into three categories:

  • Economic Class
  • Family Class
  • Refugee Class

The economic category includes immigrants selected on the basis of their ability to contribute to the Canadian economy, whether through their ability to meet labour market needs, own or run a business, make a significant investment, or own a job.

The family category includes immigrants sponsored by Canadian citizens or permanent residents. The goal is for family members and couples to meet and live together in Canada. These immigrants are granted permanent resident status because of their relationship to their spouse, partner, parent, grandparent, child or other relative.

The economic class includes immigrants who have been granted settlement permits for fear of persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. This category also includes persons who have been severely affected by war or conflict or who have suffered serious human rights violations.

Economic and employment growth has been slow due to Canada’s aging population and low birth rate. Slow economic growth has made it difficult for Canada to raise taxes on social services such as education and health care. Because of this, Canada has increased immigration to boost the country’s economy and finances.

Every year, the federal government releases a new phased immigration plan outlining immigration goals for the next three years. The plan includes the number and types of immigrants the country is expected to receive. By 2022, Canada is expected to add more than 430,000 new permanent residents, with nearly 60% of new permanent residents in economy class.

Economic Class:

The most common economy class entry in Canada is through the federal Express Entry system. Eligible candidates, usually skilled workers, submit their profiles and receive a score, which is ranked by the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Every two weeks, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) invites the highest-scoring qualified candidates to apply for permanent residence.

The Express Entry system manages three programs, the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSTC), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). The FSWP is Canada’s primary way of welcoming skilled workers from around the world. It uses CRS, a points-based system that calculates based on age, education, work experience, language skills, and more.

The FSTC is designed to address the skilled labour shortage in Canada. These candidates may have lower scores because they are not required to demonstrate their level of education, but IRCC occasionally conducts fast-track draws for specific programs and invites only FTSP candidates to participate. These successful candidates can usually be granted permanent residency within six months. Finally, the CEC is for candidates who work in Canada and wish to obtain permanent residency. This option is for temporary foreign workers and international graduates who wish to continue building their future in Canada.

The Provincial NomineeProgram (PNP) is another major option for immigrating to Canada as a skilled worker. The purpose of this program is to spread the benefits of immigration throughout Canada. As a result, nearly every province and territory uses the PNP to attract and welcome skilled workers from around the world to help strengthen Canada’s economy. The only exceptions are Nunavut and Quebec.

Instead, Quebec has its own eligibility criteria for economic immigration, starting with candidates expressing interest in immigrating to Quebec by submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) form.

The Family Class:

IRCC also welcomes immigrants through family sponsorship. If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you can sponsor your foreign spouse or partner for Canadian permanent resident status. Sponsorships can occur regardless of whether the sponsor resides abroad or in Canada, as couples can choose between foreign or domestic sponsorship. As a sponsor, you must be able to support your spouse or partner financially and meet that person’s basic needs. IRCC also requires you to prove that the relationship is genuine.

Canadian citizens or permanent residents can also sponsor dependent children to live with them as Canadian permanent residents. For children to be eligible for sponsorship, they must be natural or adopted children of Canadian citizens or permanent residents, under the age of 22, and not married or living together. Similar to a spousal sponsorship, the sponsor must meet the basic needs of the child.

Additionally, Canadian citizens and permanent residents can sponsor their parents and grandparents to immigrate to Canada. Parents and grandparents who come to Canada through this program gain permanent resident status and can apply for Canadian citizenship. Sponsors must exceed the program’s minimum income requirements and agree to provide financial support to the sponsor and repay all social benefits paid to sponsor family members within 20 years. Applicants to the program must also demonstrate that they meet the minimum income requirements.

The Refugee Class:

People can immigrate to Canada through refugee classes or for humanitarian reasons. Resettled refugees are immigrants selected by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees outside their country of origin who have been granted permanent residency in Canada. Canada provides them with a haven free from persecution, human rights abuses or war. In addition, refugees landed in Canada can apply for asylum and be approved by the Immigration and Refugee Board. Permanent resident status is available to those who do not fall into the above categories but who convincingly defend humanitarian and compassionate grounds.