Passer au contenu directement.

What to expect in 2024 – Canada’s new immigration landscape and targets

Canada’s Immigration Plan

In the last few years, business immigration and global mobility have become factors that are interwoven in Canada’s global economy. Foreign nationals look towards Canada not only to explore work opportunities, but also to access higher education and reunite with family members with the hope of finding a pathway to access permanent residence.

Considering this, every year before or on November 1st, the government of Canada announces new immigration targets to share its projections on the number of permanent residents that will be admitted to Canada via the various immigration categories in the following year.

The three pathways usually addressed are:

  • Federal and regional economic immigration programs
  • Family reunification
  • Refugees, protected persons and humanitarian and compassionate immigration

It is relevant to look at the previous targets which were established last year and whether they were met.

In 2022, Sean Fraser, Canada’s previous Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, presented Canada’s 2022 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration (Immigration Levels Plan). With this plan, the Government of Canada had significantly increased its targets and intended to welcome 465,000 permanent residents in 2023, 485,000 in 2024 and 500,000 in 2025. This plan was driven by objectives which include:

  • A clear focus on economic growth and economic immigration, with the goal of having 60% of admissions in the economic class by 2025;
  • Enhancing the Express Entry system to attract immigrants with the required skills and qualifications in sectors facing acute labour shortages such as, health care, manufacturing, building trades and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math);
  • Raising targets in regional programs to address targeted local labour market needs, through the Provincial Nominee Program, the Atlantic Immigration Program, and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot;
  • Increasing French speaking immigration targets by ensuring that at least 4.4% of new permanent residents outside Quebec are Francophone;
  • Augmenting support to those facing persecution, including by expanding the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot for qualified refugees to apply for permanent residence.[1]

Government Measures in 2023

In 2023, the government of Canada set out new policy changes and initiatives to increase immigration.

The Canadian Express entry program introduced six new categories this year for category-based selection draws. One of the new categories is for strong French language abilities while the other five are for foreign nationals that work in specific sectors such as:

  • Healthcare
  • Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions
  • Trades, such as carpenters, plumbers, and contractors
  • Transport
  • Agriculture and agri-food

 Other new policies and initiatives include:

  • Invitations for 24,200 potential sponsors (who expressed interest in 2020) to apply through the Parents and Grandparents program (PGP). The goal would be to receive up to 15 000 complete applications; and
  • A new Tech Talent Strategy to attract more newcomers in tech occupations (June 27th 2023).

Regarding its student programs, Minister Marc Miller announced that the government is still on track to welcoming 900 000 international students and that a review is still being done of the International student program. Minister Miller also has the intention to propose a new model of issuance of student permits which would allow for designated leaning institutions that are trusted and that offer support to their students to benefit from faster processing times. This would aim to prevent any form of fraud and promote integrity within the program.

Because many of these initiatives and announcements are relatively recent, their full impact cannot yet be assessed.

Analysis of 2024-2026 Targets

For its 2024-2026 targets, the government of Canada has announced that, following the trajectory of its 2023-2025 plan, it will aim to welcome 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024, 500,000 in 2025 and plateau at 500,000 in 2026. This represents a continuation of the previous targets with an additional commitment from Canada to prioritize sustainable growth and welcome an additional 500 000 foreign national in 2026[2].

The key drivers behind these numbers are Canada’s economic growth and the need to respond to the current humanitarian crisis we are seeing in the world particularly the situations in Afghanistan, as well as the crisis relating to Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims[3].

Although there is a global increase in 2025 and 2026 from the number of foreign nationals admitted, this translates into a specific increase in admissions for classes of immigration linked to economy and family reunification, but a decrease in admissions for classes targeting humanitarian and refugee applications. IRCC’s detailed announcement shows that the total refugees and protected persons admitted will go from 76,115 in 2024 to 72,750 in 2025 and 2026. Even more drastic, the admissions of applicants on humanitarian and compassionate grounds will be reduced by almost half, from 13,750 in 2024 to 8,000 in 2025 and 2026. In the long term, this reflects that IRCC may be stricter in its evaluations of applications based solely on refugee or humanitarian claims[4].

After reaching a target of 4.4% of French-speaking permanent residents outside Quebec in 2022, the government of Canada introduced new annual and progressively increasing French-speaking permanent resident targets outside Quebec: 6% in 2024, 7% in 2025 and 8% in 2026. This seems to represent an intention to expand the number of French-speaking foreign nationals outside of Quebec, where language requirements are already strict.

Implications for the Immigration System

As Canada moves forward with its Immigration Levels Plans, we can expect that they will look towards foreign nationals to help grow the Canadian economy and bring specialities and niche experiences to our labor and work force. Foreign nationals should stay alert and should pay attention to the new initiatives created this year to promote permanent and temporary residence such as:

  • The four new categories in the Canadian express entry program;
  • The new Tech Talent strategy to attract foreign workers;
  • The invitation for 24,200 potential sponsors to apply to the Parents and Grandparents program; and
  • The upcoming changes to the International Student Program.

As expressed in their plan, the government of Canada remains dedicated to ensuring it has the skills needed to meet key goals such as supporting sustainability initiatives and digital economy, and bridging labour force gaps in critical sectors (e.g. health, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), trades, transportation and agriculture) that are not a barrier to the success and expansion of Canadian businesses.  For the Family reunification class and the Humanitarian and refugee class, Canada is dedicated to welcoming family members of Canadian nationals as well as offering protection to those in need, and fulfilling its humanitarian commitments continues. This includes providing them with services and support to better help integrate them in Canadian society.

For more information or updates on the current situation and its potential impact on your immigration procedures, please do not hesitate to contact a member of MT❯iplus, a division of McCarthy Tetrault.







Recevez nos derniers billets en français

Inscrivez-vous pour recevoir les analyses de ce blogue.
Pour s’abonner au contenu en français, procédez à votre inscription à partir de cette page.

Veuillez entrer une adresse valide