Canada Wants 1 Million Immigrants

Posted on 08/02/2019

Express Entry has clearly become the best (and almost the only) way to immigrate to Canada. And with the Liberal Government upping the quotas to ensure that 1 million immigrants are accepted into Canada over the next 3 years (2019,2020, 2021), it’s more than clear that using Express Entry to submit a successful application that earns you an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence in Canada is key to almost any immigration strategy with a goal of moving to Canada.

Let’s first look at the projected numbers of Canada’s 3-year plan for immigration, using 2018 as a comparison:

Immigration Program2018 Target2019 Target2020 Target2021 Target% Change Between 2018 and 2021
Atlantic Pilot Program1,0002,0004,000TBD+100% or more
Business immigrants700700700700No change
Provincial Nominee Programs55,00061,00067,80071,300+29.64%
Quebec: Skilled Worker & Business28,900TBDTBDTBDTBD
All Economic Programs177,500191,600195,800202,300+13.97%

This first table summarizes economic migrant quotas that the Canadian government is seeking to fill in order to ensure Canada has a demographically balanced population – in other words to compensate for the increasing number of baby boomers who are beginning to retire – and a growing and dynamic economy. Economic migrants will account for between 57% and 58% of total migrants under the new 3-year immigration plan. There are a few points to note regarding the data in our first table:

  • Caregivers will decline significantly as an economic migration class over the next 3 years due to the cancellation of the Caregiver Work Permit program.
  • The strongest growth percentage-wise will be in the provincial nominee programs, especially for provinces like Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, but also for the other Prairie Provinces and the Atlantic provinces.
  • Quebec is unwilling at this point to project forward in terms of economic migrants, but it has been accepting a significant number in the last few years. French language ability is a key factor in being accepted into Quebec’s immigration programs, of course.
  • While the Atlantic Pilot Program is relatively small compared to provinces like Ontario and BC it is growing rapidly and will already be responsible for thousands of new opportunities within the next 3 years.
  • The largest stream of economic migrants goes through Express Entry, especially when you consider that provincial nominee programs select their candidates from the Express Entry candidate pools.
Specific Program2018 Target2019 Target2020 Target2021 Target% Change Between 2018 and 2021
Spouses Partners and/or Dependent Children66,00068,00070,00070,000+6.06%
Parents or Grandparents20,00020,50021,00021,000+5%
All Family Class Programs86,00088,50091,00091,000+5.81%

The family class immigration programs are projected to stay between 26% and 27% of total new immigrants and it is clear that the Canadian Government is not planning a big increase in these programs seeing their projected increases range from 5% to 6% over the 3-year period. That’s 2% or less a year. As well permanent resident visas will be given to spouses and dependent children at about 3 times the rate compared to those given to parents and grandparents.

Immigration Stream2018 Targets2019 Targets2020 Targets2021 Targets% Change Between 2018 and 2021
Protected Persons in Canada and Dependents Abroad16,00016,50018,00020,000+25%
Privately-sponsored refugees18,00019,00020,00020,000+11.11%
Visa Office-Referred1,5001,6501,0001,000-33.33%
Government-assisted Refugees7,5009,30010,70010,700+42.66%
All Refugees and Protected Persons43,00046,45049,70051,700+20.23%

The percentage of total immigrants as refugees and protected persons will rise marginally from just under 14% to just under 15% of the total. Protected persons and their dependents abroad will rise fairly rapidly to come into line with privately-sponsored refugees with each group accounting for an equal share of this final category (20,000 each by 2021) by the end of the 3-year period. Together, they account for the overwhelming majority of refugees and protected persons entering Canada. Government-assisted refugees, while a relatively small share of the total, will increase the most over the period in question.

Finally, Humanitarian and other immigrants will rise from a target of 3,500 in 2018 to 5,000 by 2021.

Adding all the numbers up we get the following total immigration targets for Canada over the next 3 years with 2018 as a base comparison:

Year2018201920202021%Change from 2018 to 2021
Total New Permanent Residents310,000330,800341,000350,000+12.9%

That means that over the next 3 years Canada will be taking in 1,021,800 new permanent residents into the country. That’s a significant number of opportunities for all those who possess the language, work and educational skills needed to contribute to Canada’s economy and to settle with their families in Canada. As immediate proof of the impact the new 3-year plan is having on immigration to Canada, look no further than to the Invitations to Apply (or ITAs) issued this past January, compared to previous years:


With total immigration to Canada projected to rise each of the following 3 years and with Express Entry a key part of the Canadian Government’s immigration plan, it is clear that we’ll be seeing rising ITAs across most months in each of the following 3 years. It looks like it’s time to submit your online profile at Express Entry and begin the process to getting your PR status!

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