Highlights of 2018 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration

Canada has developed into a diverse, vibrant, multi-cultural country that it is today due to its global reputation for welcoming newcomers and migrants from around the world; and due to its tradition of standing up for the most vulnerable.

Likewise, immigrants and their descendants continue to make immeasurable economic contributions to Canada’s success. Thus making immigration, in a historical sense, a central pillar of Canada’s progressive status

Canada’s immigration program, as set out in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), is intended to “support the development of a strong and prosperous Canadian economy, in which the benefits of immigration are shared across all regions of Canada.”

Whether through economic immigration, family reunification or the protection of refugees and vulnerable persons, immigration is a central pillar of Canada’s success story.

However, new challenges arise in Canada’s ageing population and declining birth rate. These issues can only be resolved by welcoming more people from other countries. 

In 2017, Canada welcomed more than 286,000 permanent residents. Over half were admitted under Economic Class programs. The number also included over 44,000 resettled refugees, protected persons and people admitted under humanitarian, compassionate and public considerations.

The Government of Canada adopted a historic multi-year levels plan to responsibly grow our annual immigration levels to 340,000 by 2020, with 60 percent of the growth in the Economic Class. Increasing immigration levels, particularly in the Economic Class, will help us sustain our labour force, support economic growth and spur innovation.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada released the 2018 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration. It included details on the Government of Canada’s immigration levels plan for 2019-2021. 

Highlights of the reports are the following:

The immigration level plan for 2019-2021 for permanent admission (except Quebec) sets the following targets:

  • 2019- 330,800
  • 2020- 341,000
  • 2021- 350,000

This level is up from the 2018 target of 310,000 and 2017 actual immigration number of about 273,000, according to The Statistics Portal. 

This shows that Canada will continue to rely heavily on immigration to power its economy and supply the anticipated shortage in skills and manpower. 

The Economic Class is the bulk of the planned immigration levels. In the 2019 target of 330,800 for example, 191,600 or 58% will be in the Economic Class.

In 2017-2018, international migration accounted for 80% of population growth. This means that more and more people added to the population are people who are born outside of Canada.

Information technology sector and accounting occupations dominated the economic class application in 2017. Top principal applicants were information systems analysts and consultants; software engineers; computer programmers and interactive media developers; financial auditors and accountants; and administrative assistants.

There is growing importance to the role of international students in the economy as a whole and as a good supply of economic immigration applicants. The report states that in 2016-17, international students and visitors contributed $31 billion to the Canadian economy. 

Provincial nominee programs are contributing to the dispersal of immigrant arrivals outside the largest cities. The reports show that a full 34% of economic immigrants were destined outside Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, compared to just 10% in 1997.

Applicants in the economic and skilled category will continue to be Canada’s immigration priority. Candidates in this class, especially the occupations which are high demand like information technology, accounting and finance, and administrative services stand a greater chance. Express Entry system, being the system used to process economic applicants will more and more gain importance in the immigration system.