Canada to welcome over one million new immigrants between 2020-2022

Marco Mendicino laid out his vision for Canada’s immigration system today in Toronto.

It was his first major policy speech since his November 2019 appointment as Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. Mendicino was appointed after the Liberal Party of Canada was re-elected to a second mandate in October and he is currently pursuing an immigration plan laid out in his mandate letter.

“Vision” speeches are a long-standing tradition among Canada’s immigration ministers. They outline the government’s aspirational goals and what policies and programs the government will pursue to achieve the goals.

Mendicino’s speech was no different.

Mendicino opened his speech by stating that Canada’s future depends on immigration. As such, it is critical to have a dialogue on how many people Canada needs to secure its economic prosperity.

This dialogue, Mendicino said, is necessary due to Canada’s demographic realities. As an aging country with a low birth rate, Canadians are living longer and not having enough children to maintain the size of its population.

This places greater pressure on Canada’s economy and fiscal standing. This is due to fewer workers being relied upon to fund rising government expenses, such as health care, which will become more expensive to deliver as the share of elderly Canadians continues to rise.

Mendicino said a major part of the solution is to welcome immigrants. Today, some 80 per cent of Canada’s population growth will come from immigration, and estimates suggest this will reach 100 per cent by the 2030s.

This is why Canada will welcome over one million immigrants over the next three years, said Mendicino, as he noted that he will formally table Canada’s 2020-2022 Immigration Levels Plan in March.

Express Entry will remain the flagship program for welcoming immigrants to Canada and has been successful since launching in January 2015. Mendicino noted that 95 per cent of Express Entry arrivals have jobs and some 80 per cent are working in their fields.

In addition, programs such as the Global Talent Stream and Atlantic Immigration Pilot have been key to supporting Canada’s economy.

Nonetheless, there remains a need to promote the benefits of economic immigration to smaller communities across the country. This explains why the federal government launched the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot in 2019.

The Municipal Nominee Program (MNP) is another initiative that the federal government will pursue to help economic growth across Canada. The Minister stated that the government is in pre-consultations on what the program will look like and welcomes feedback from stakeholders on how to shape the MNP.

Minister Mendicino urged attendees to support a national dialogue that immigration is a net positive for Canada. He observed that Canada’s immigration system has been lauded by the OECD as the international standard on how to effectively manage an immigration system.

He concluded by stating that Canada is built on the strength of immigration.

Welcoming immigrants will help to grow the labour market, support businesses, and ensure that “Canada remains the best country in the world.”

B.C. removes guaranteed invitation scores and holds three Tech Pilot draws

February was a busy month for the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) Tech Pilot with three consecutive draws. The province also announced it would stop posting the scores that guarantee an Invitation to Apply (ITA) to candidates applying through any of the BC PNP categories.

So far this year, B.C. has sent 1,096 invitations to applicants in the Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC categories. This month, 221 out of 511 invitations were sent out as part of Tech Pilot draws specifically.

Candidates in B.C. who apply for Canadian immigration through one of the existing provincial immigration streams and who have a job offer in one of 29 eligible occupations may be considered for an ITA through the Tech Pilot program.

The BC PNP Tech Pilot is a fast-track immigration pathway for in-demand tech workers and international students.

To apply through the Tech Pilot candidates must first create a profile through the BC PNP’s online portal and register under its Skills Immigration Registration System (SIRS) in one of the Skills Immigration or Express Entry BC categories.

“The BC PNP Tech Pilot is a priority initiative that supports economic growth and helps the tech sector recruit top international talent,” a spokesperson from the Ministry of Jobs Economic Development and Competitiveness wrote to CIC News in an email. “We continue to support the tech sector’s growth through weekly draws.”

A program representative from the BC PNP said that the frequency of invitations is based on the annual nomination allocations from the federal government and the program’s processing capacity.

The Tech Pilot was launched in 2017 to provide the technology sector in B.C. the ability to attract and retain international talent. This was due to the fact that demand in the tech sector was continuously increasing. The initiative was extended to June 2020.

Province removes guaranteed invitation scores

In the past, a guaranteed invitation score for each category was provided to indicate the minimum points that an individual would be expected to have to be guaranteed an invitation.  As of February 19, candidates who score over certain points thresholds in the SIRS are no longer guaranteed an invitation for a provincial nomination.

Candidates in the Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC immigration categories are ranked based on economic factors and human capital factors. Points are awarded based on the skill level of the job offer, the wage, and the regional district of employment, as well as a candidate’s work experience, education, and language ability.

The Skills Immigration pathway is for skilled and semi-skilled workers that are in high-demand occupations within the province. Hopeful Express Entry BC candidates must also qualify for one of three federal economic immigration programs: Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, or Canadian Experience Class.

British Columbia invites 168 candidates to apply for provincial nomination over two Tech Pilot draws

British Columbia held two Tech Pilot draws this month, inviting a total of 168 immigration candidates to apply for a provincial nomination for Canadian permanent residence.

The first British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) draw took place on February 4. A total of 85 invitations were issued to tech workers in the Skilled Worker and Express Entry BC categories.

The second Tech Pilot draw was held on February 11. There were 83 invitations issued to immigration candidates.

In both draws, all candidates needed a minimum provincial score of 90.

The Tech Pilot is B.C.’s fast-track immigration pathway for in-demand tech workers and international students.

In order to be eligible for this program, candidates need a valid job offer of at least 12 months in one of 29 eligible occupations.

Candidates who are applying for the Skills Immigration or Express Entry BC categories must first create a profile through the BC PNP’s online portal and register under its Skills Immigration Registration System (SIRS).

Applicants are evaluated and given a score based on their level of education, work experience, English proficiency, and location of employment.

Express Entry candidates who receive a nomination from British Columbia will be given an additional 600 points toward their Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score and are effectively guaranteed an Invitation To Apply (ITA) in a subsequent federal Express Entry draw.


BC PNP Draw Results

Date Category Minimum Score Required Number of ITAs Issued
February 11, 2020 EEBC – Skilled Worker 90 83
EEBC – International Graduate 90
SI – Skilled Worker 90
SI – Skilled Worker 90
Date Category Minimum Score Required Number of ITAs Issued
February 4, 2020 EEBC – Skilled Worker 90 85
EEBC – International Graduate 90
SI – Skilled Worker 90
SI – Skilled Worker 90

Canada welcomed more than 400,000 new international students in 2019

approved 404,000 new study permits in 2019.

A study permit is a document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that allows foreign nationals to study at a designated learning institution in Canada.

The number of study permits issued is a different metric from the total number of international students in Canada. IRCC has yet to release data on Canada’s international student population in 2019.  However, the newly-released study permit approval data strongly suggests that the population now exceeds 600,000. If this proves to be the case, Canada’s international student population will have tripled since 2009, when it stood at 200,000 people.

Top 10 international student source countries

India remains the leading international student source country by a wide margin. In 2019, nearly 140,000 study permits were issued to Indian nationals, representing 35 per cent of all study permits issued.

Chinese nationals received 85,000 study permits or 21 per cent of all those issued.

South Korea was a distant third at 17,000 study permit or 4 per cent of the total.

Rounding out the top ten were France, Vietnam, Brazil, Iran, Nigeria, the United States, and Japan.

Study permits by country of citizenship and year they became effective

Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; CIC News.

Where the growth is coming from

Growth in Canada’s international student population is concentrated in a few source countries. Again, India leads the way, with the number of study permits issued to Indian nationals having more than quadrupled since 2015.

Growth is also coming from Vietnam. Whereas only 3,000 Vietnamese students received study permits in 2015, this figure has since grown to 12,000.

Iran is another important source of growth, with the number of study permits issued to Iranians quadrupling to nearly 10,000 in 2019 compared with 2015.

Brazil, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Colombia, Turkey, Morocco and Algeria are among the source countries that have posted growth rates of at least 60 per cent compared with 2015.

Why international students are coming to Canada

Canada now has the fourth-largest international student population in the world behind the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

According to research by the Canadian Bureau for International Education, international students are drawn to Canada by the quality of education provided by its universities and colleges.

They are also drawn by Canada’s reputation as an open and welcoming society.

The relatively weak Canadian dollar is another factor. While international students pay higher tuition fees than Canadian students, the expenses they incur in Canada are more affordable than those incurred by international students in other top destinations.

Perhaps Canada’s greatest advantage is its study-work-immigrate package.

International students are eligible to work in Canada to support themselves financially during their studies. Upon completing their studies, many of them are eligible to obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit so that they can gain more Canadian work experience for a period of up to three years.

They can then apply for the more than 80 economic class immigration programs offered by the federal government as well as provinces and territories. Many of these programs give preference to former international students in their selection criteria since federal government research shows that former international students integrate very quickly into the Canadian economy.

As the global population of international students continues to grow and Canada becomes increasingly attractive as a study destination, it seems likely that the country’s international student intake will continue to experience solid gains in the coming years.

A quarter of Canada’s immigrants arrived from India in 2019

India was by far the main source country of new immigrants to Canada in 2019.

China was the second leading source country, followed by the Philippines, Nigeria, the United States, Pakistan, Syria, Eritrea, South Korea, and Iran.

Total New Immigrants in 2019 341,180
1. India 85,585
2. China 30,260
3. Philippines 27,815
4. Nigeria 12,595
5. United States of America 10,800
6. Pakistan 10,790
7. Syria 10,120
8. Eritrea 7,025
9. Korea, Republic of 6,110
10. Iran 6,055

India is number one

India accounted for 25 per cent of the 341,000 immigrants welcomed by Canada. The Indian share of Canada’s newcomers has increased significantly in recent years. Back in 2015, India made up 14 per cent of Canada’s newcomers.

India is easily Canada’s leading immigrant source country for the following reasons. It is the second-largest country in the world in terms of population, which means it has a huge pool of potential immigrants. It also has a significant middle-class population with high levels of English language proficiency and education, who also have professional backgrounds that meet Canada’s immigrant selection criteria. Indian nationals comprise the majority of applicants under the H1-B Temporary Skilled Worker Program in the United States. Approval rates for the H1-B  visa program have declined under the administration of President Donald Trump. This has resulted in Indian nationals living in the U.S. choosing to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

Immigration from China remains stagnant

While nearly 86,000 Indian nationals were granted permanent residence in 2019, China was a distant second with 30,000 of its citizens becoming new immigrants to Canada (9 per cent of all of Canada’s newcomers).

The number of newcomers from China has remained stagnant in recent years, hovering around 30,000 immigrants, even as Canada continues to increase its intake. It is difficult to determine precisely why this is the case but there are two possible reasons: China’s rising standard of living is reducing its citizens’ interest in settling abroad, and Canada’s higher English language standards. It is estimated that English speakers represent less than 10 per cent of China’s population (compared to over 10 per cent of the Indian population).

Immigration from the Philippines is declining

Immigration from the Philippines has been steadily declining over the past five years. In 2015, more than 50,000 Filipinos obtained permanent residence, but this figure dropped to 28,000 in 2019. Due to this sharp decline, the Philippines has fallen behind China as the third leading source country of Canada’s immigrants. This is because Canada has significantly reduced its intake under the Caregiver Program. The overwhelming majority of immigrants admitted through the Caregiver Program come from the Philippines.

Canada is welcoming more immigrants from Nigeria

Immigration from Nigeria has been booming in recent years. Previously, Nigeria was sending about 5,000 immigrants a year to Canada, but this figure has doubled to 11,000 in 2018. Last year, nearly 13,000 Nigerians obtained permanent residence. Nigerian nationals have an advantage when applying under Canada’s economic class programs because they are native English speakers. The recent travel ban imposed by the United States on some Nigerian nationals may create an added impetus for Nigerian immigration to increase further in 2020 and beyond.

American immigration to Canada is flat

Despite the notion that U.S. President Donald Trump is causing more people who disapprove of him to move from America to Canada, the evidence shows this is not the case. Nearly 11,000 U.S. citizens immigrated to Canada in 2019, which is consistent with figures over recent years (about 3 per cent of Canada’s new immigrants come from the U.S. each year).

Canada welcomes immigrants from 175 countries

Canada is perhaps the most open country in the world for immigrants, welcoming newcomers from 175 countries each year. This is due in large part to the fact that Canada became the first country to launch an objective, points-based economic class immigration system in 1967. Since this major development, Canada has seen its immigrant source countries diversify significantly.

Canada’s economic class immigration system does not take into account a candidate’s country of origin. In addition, Canada does not have per-country quotas in place. As long as applicants meet Canada’s economic class eligibility criteria, they are welcomed by the country with open arms.