Backgrounder — 2014 Immigration Levels Planning: Public and Stakeholder Consultations

Purpose

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) would like your feedback on immigration to Canada. Specifically, we want feedback on setting immigration levels. This means the number of new permanent residents that Canada should plan to admit for 2014.

When we refer to levels, there are two main questions:

  • What is the right level of immigration to Canada?
  • How should this overall level be divided among the three main permanent resident classes: economic, family, and refugee/humanitarian? (We refer to this as the “mix.”)

This document will give you useful background information on levels planning and a sense of what CIC faces each year when we consider these questions.

Background/Context

When we talk about immigration, we mean permanent residents. These are people who got permanent resident status by immigrating to Canada, but are not yet Canadian citizens.

These people decided to move to Canada permanently to live and work. Permanent residents have rights and privileges in Canada even though they are still citizens of their home countries.

You can generally think of permanent residents as future Canadian citizens, since the vast majority go on to apply for citizenship. According to the 2011 Census, about 86 per cent of permanent residents became Canadian citizens.

In contrast, a person in Canada temporarily is not a permanent resident. This includes:

  • visitors;
  • international students; or
  • temporary foreign workers.

For example, employers can hire foreign workers on a temporary basis to fill acute short-term labour needs under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, but these people can stay for only so long. Some may apply to stay in Canada as permanent residents later on, if they meet certain requirements. (The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is currently under review.)

People who come to Canada temporarily can make important contributions to our country. However, since we cannot predict much of this movement, (for example, the number of visitors or students who may come in a given year) it cannot be planned in the same way as permanent resident admissions. Setting immigration levels and mix is only about permanent immigration.

Why does the Government of Canada plan levels at all? Couldn’t CIC just process as many applications as possible and then report on the outcome at the end of the year? The short answer is that planning levels is required under Canada’s immigration law.

But, we also need to plan because:

  • it is needed to run a system as big and complex as immigration;
  • CIC and its security partners, such as the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), need to allocate resources across a vast processing network in Canada and around the globe; and
  • organizations that help settle and integrate newcomers must know what kind of volumes to expect.

The levels plan is also a matter of public policy: the Government of Canada must balance the costs and benefits to maintain public confidence in our immigration program. Currently, planning the level and mix is the best tool we have to manage the immigration system for Canada’s benefit.

That said, there is a certain degree of uncertainty when planning immigration levels. While CIC can plan for and control many factors, immigration is about the movement of people, so there are a lot of unknowns.

For example, while CIC issues permanent resident visas, it cannot control exactly when, or even if, a person uses that visa to come to Canada. For reasons like this, we set out a levels planning range and within that range, specific targets for each class. These include the number of applications we must process in order to have admissions fall within the planning range.

The levels range for 2013 was set at 240,000 to 265,000 permanent residents. This range has been the same since 2007. While actual admissions change slightly, they have been around 250,000 new immigrants per year.

Establishing the Annual Immigration Levels Plan

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) is the law that guides Canada’s immigration system. It sets out the major goals for immigration, which include:

  • developing a strong and prosperous Canadian economy, in which the benefits of immigration are shared across all regions;
  • reuniting families;
  • fulfilling Canada’s international legal obligations with respect to refugees, and to assisting those in need of resettlement; and
  • protecting the health, safety and security of Canadians.

The law requires the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism to table the Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration on or before November 1 each year. The Report includes the projected number of permanent residents that will be admitted to Canada in the following year. (See Annex A for the 2013 levels plan).

Beyond our obligation to set these annual levels, the levels plan must also balance several other factors, such as:

  • the Government of Canada’s current priorities and commitments;
  • the extent that our economy and communities can integrate newcomers;
  • current and future economic conditions, as well as labour market needs;
  • input from stakeholders, including settlement service groups, unions, Aboriginal groups, non-governmental organizations, and sector councils/industry; and
  • input from provinces and territories, as immigration is a shared responsibility under Canada’s Constitution.

Three Questions

This consultation will explore three main questions:

  1. What is the appropriate level of immigration for Canada?
  2. What is the appropriate mix between the number of economic immigrants, family class immigrants, and refugee/humanitarian class?
  3. What role can immigration play to support Canada’s economy?

Much of the success of Canada’s immigration system depends on the balance between the level of immigration, the mix of different immigration categories, and whether newcomers can settle in welcoming communities with job opportunities, schools and housing.

1. What is the appropriate level of immigration for Canada?

In the last five years, Canada has admitted an average of over 250,000 new permanent residents each year. This is roughly 0.8 per cent of Canada’s population. (See Annex B for the breakdown of admissions of permanent residents from recent years, and Annex C for the proportion of annual immigration to Canada’s population).

Many in the business sector, as well as provinces and territories, are calling for high immigration levels to meet current and future job shortages. Some argue that increasing overall immigration levels would bring in the skills and talent we need to keep Canada’s economy growing as much of the current labour force begins to age.

Immigration contributed to over 46 per cent of net labour force growth in 2011. Higher immigration levels could also mean more family reunification and resettling more refugees and people in need of humanitarian protection. (In 2011, about 16 per cent of the world’s total resettled refugees were brought to Canada.)

On the other hand, some argue that levels should be reduced when the economy is uncertain, since it is more difficult for immigrants to find work in Canada and they are less able to establish themselves economically and socially. There is also a limited number of immigrants we can integrate, and public services can be stretched if the population increases.

Canada must also balance today’s needs with those of the future—what the country will need in 10 years and beyond.

Finding the best level and mix of immigrants must take into account Canada’s ability to successfully settle and integrate newcomers of diverse origins in cities and communities across the country.

How well we can integrate newcomers depends on many factors, including:

  • policies, programs and services that support immigrant integration;
  • labour market conditions that let them take part in the Canadian economy; and
  • how willingly the newcomer and the local community take part in the integration process. 

Finally, we must consider whether CIC and its security partners (the RCMP, CBSA and the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service) have the financial means to process applications and deliver immigration programs.

These issues point to difficult questions about levels planning. Should the number of immigrants admitted to Canada be increased to 1 per cent of the population, as some suggest? Or should immigration levels be maintained or even decreased due to continuing economic uncertainty?

2. What is the appropriate mix among economic, family, and refugee/humanitarian classes?

The 2013 Levels Plan projects a mix of around 62 per cent economic, 27 per cent family, and 11 per cent refugee/humanitarian class. Economic class includes the principal applicants (the person on the application whose skills and qualifications we assess), their spouse/partner and dependants (usually children).

Principal applicants make up around 40 per cent of the economic category, while spouses/partners and dependants account for around 60 per cent. However, many of these spouses/partners and dependants – as well as immigrants in the family and refugee/humanitarian classes – also join the labour market.

(See Annex D for the breakdown and description of the current immigration programs).

The key question related to immigration mix is: How should the social, humanitarian and economic objectives of immigration be balanced? Mix is a matter of public policy and input from consultations like this one come up with the right balance.

3. What role can immigration play to support Canada’s economy?

Using immigration to support Canada’s economy is a priority for the Government of Canada. Over the next decade and beyond, fewer people will take part in the labour force. More people will retire as the population ages. And, due to lower natural fertility rates, there will be fewer new workers within Canada (e.g., people leaving school). Therefore, there will be more people leaving the labour force than entering it.

The most serious skills shortages in Canada are in high-growth industries, especially managerial/supervisory positions, and jobs that require post-secondary education (university/college education or apprenticeship training). Yet forecasts also show a need in occupations at lower skill levels (jobs that require secondary school education and/or job-specific training or on-the-job training).

While immigration has a role to play in supporting Canada’s economy, it is just one source of labour. Canadians leaving the school system (at all levels of study) will continue to make up 80 per cent of all new people who enter the labour force.

Canada’s economic immigration programs complement other existing programs that aim to help more of the domestic labour force succeed. These programs include:

  • financial support for post-secondary training and education;
  • helping traditionally under-represented groups to enter the labour force (e.g. youth, people with disabilities, visible minorities, Aboriginal people); and
  • incentives for workers to move between provinces.

Labour needs also vary across provinces and territories, rural and urban areas, and sectors of the economy. For this reason, the Government of Canada must work with the provinces and territories to manage the immigration program.

The provinces and territories choose immigrants through their Provincial Nominee Programs to fill regional labour market needs. Each year, CIC consults with provincial and territorial governments on immigration levels. The shared goal is to make immigration programs respond to the unique economic, social and labour market needs of each province and territory.

Note that the Canada-Quebec Accord (1991) gives Quebec power to set its own admissions and choose foreign nationals to come to its province. Quebec manages its own economic immigration programs, and people who immigrate under these programs contribute to both Quebec and Canada as a whole.

CIC wants to use immigration to best support our economy. Research shows that immigrants who have job offers before they arrive in Canada are better placed to take part in the Canadian economy. Candidates with strong language skills, Canadian work experience, and who arrive in Canada at a younger age do especially well. The Federal Skilled Worker Program was recently updated to put more focus on these factors.

Economic Action Plan 2013 reaffirmed the Government of Canada’s commitment to building a fast and flexible immigration system, with a focus on attracting talented newcomers with the skills and experience that Canada’s economy needs.

In January 2013, CIC launched a new Federal Skilled Trades Program. We also improved the Canadian Experience Class, which was created in 2008 to give those with work experience in Canada a pathway to permanent residence.

CIC has also recently launched the new Start-Up Visa, which is the first of its kind in the world. This new visa aims to attract innovative entrepreneurs to launch their companies in Canada, to create new jobs and spur economic growth.

Through these reforms, we are strengthening Canada’s immigration system, bringing the people this country needs to help to foster economic growth and making sure all Canadians will prosper in the long-term.

To support this objective, CIC is developing a new and innovative “Expression of Interest” (EOI) application management system. The EOI system will let Canadian employers, provinces and territories choose skilled immigrants from a pool of applicants that best meet Canada’s economic needs. CIC is targeting late 2014 to launch the EOI system.

These issues point to key questions about economic immigration. What role should immigration play to support Canada’s economy? How should CIC balance the number of people we admit to meet existing needs with possible longer term needs? How can we meet the labour market needs of different regions and industries in Canada? How should employers, and provinces and territories take part in economic immigration?

We welcome your comments and feedback.

Annex A: 2013 Levels Plan

Projected Admissions Low High

Federal-Selected Economic Programs, Provincial/Territorial Nominees, Family, Refugees, Humanitarian Entrants, and Permit Holders

206,500

228,300

Quebec-selected Skilled Workers

31,000

34,000

Quebec-selected Business

2,500

2,700

TOTAL

240,000

265,000

Annex B: Breakdown of permanent resident admissions from 2002 to 2012Footnote 1

Category 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012*

Spouses and partners

34,197 39,680 44,227 45,458 45,305 44,912 44,209 43,901 40,764 38,534 39,471

Sons and daughters

3,645 3,618 3,037 3,232 3,191 3,338 3,254 3,025 2,955 2,740 2,710

Parents and grandparents

22,245 19,385 12,733 12,475 20,005 15,813 16,600 17,178 15,324 14,078 21,778

Others

2,205 2,438 2,278 2,209 2,016 2,179 1,519 1,100 1,177 1,094 942

Family class

62,292 65,121 62,275 63,374 70,517 66,242 65,582 65,204 60,220 56,446 64,901

Skilled workers - p.a.*

52,974 45,377 47,894 52,269 44,161 41,251 43,361 40,733 48,821 36,777 38,577

Skilled workers - s.d.**

69,756 59,847 65,557 77,969 61,782 56,601 60,373 55,220 70,536 52,009 57,790

Canadian experience class - p.a.*

              1,775 2,532 3,973 5939

Canadian experience class - s.d.**

              770 1,385 2,054 3,414

Entrepreneurs - p.a.*

1,176 781 668 750 820 580 446 370 291 184 127

Entrepreneurs - s.d.**

3,302 2,197 1,799 2,098 2,273 1,577 1,255 945 796 522 351

Self-employed - p.a.*

636 446 366 302 320 204 164 181 174 113 89

Self-employed - s.d.**

1,271 981 824 714 632 375 341 358 326 236 153

Investors - p.a.*

1,234 972 1,671 2,591 2,201 2,025 2,832 2,872 3,223 2,980 2,615

Investors - s.d.**

3,402 2,723 4,428 7,020 5,830 5,420 7,370 7,434 8,492 7,606 6,734

Provincial/
territorial nominees - p.a.*

680 1,417 2,086 2,643 4,672 6,329 8,343 11,801 13,856 15,296 17,177

Provincial/
territorial nominees - s.d.**

1,447 3,001 4,162 5,404 8,664 10,765 14,075 18,578 22,572 23,124 23,652

Live-in caregivers - p.a.*

1,521 2,230 2,496 3,063 3,547 3,433 6,157 6,273 7,664 5,033 3,684

Live-in caregivers - s.d.**

464 1,075 1,796 1,489 3,348 2,685 4,354 6,181 6,245 6,214 5,315

Economic immigrants

137,863 121,047 133,747 156,312 138,250 131,245 149,071 153,491 186,913 156,121 160,617

Government-assisted refugees

7,505 7,508 7,411 7,424 7,326 7,572 7,295 7,425 7,264 7,364 5,412

Privately sponsored refugees

3,041 3,252 3,116 2,976 3,338 3,588 3,512 5,036 4,833 5,582 4,212

Refugees landed in Canada

10,546 11,264 15,901 19,935 15,884 11,696 6,994 7,206 9,041 10,743 8,578

Refugee dependants

4,021 3,959 6,259 5,441 5,952 5,098 4,057 3,183 3,558 4,183 4,854

Refugees

25,113 25,983 32,687 35,776 32,500 27,954 21,858 22,850 24,696 27,872 23,056

Retirees, DROC and PDRCC*** 

-- 79 53 20 23 15 2 4 0 6 4

Temporary resident permit holders

-- 97 148 123 136 107 113 106 109 88 67

H and C**** cases

618 2,376 2,984 3,110 4,312 4,346 3,452 3,142 2,900 2,687 2,918

Other H and C cases outside the family class / Public Policy

3,027 6,645 3,930 3,524 5,902 6,844 7,168 7,374 5,836 5,525 5,947

Other immigrants

3,780 9,197 7,115 6,777 10,373 11,312 10,735 10,626 8,845 8,306 8,936

Category not stated

0 1 0 2 2 1 2 1 7 3 5

Total

229,048 221,349 235,824 262,241 251,642 236,754 247,248 252,172 280,681 248,748 257,515

* Principal applicant.
** Spouses and dependants.
*** Deferred Removal Order Class and Post-determination Refugee Claimants in Canada.
****Humanitarian and compassionate classes.

Annex C: Proportion of annual immigration to Canada’s population, 1860 to 2011

Year 1860 1861 1862 1863 1864 1865 1866 1867 1868 1869

Number

6,276

13,589

18,294

21,000

24,779

18,958

11,427

10,666

12,765

18,630

% of Population

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.6

0.7

0.6

0.3

0.3

0.4

0.5

Year 1870 1871 1872 1873 1874 1875 1876 1877 1878 1879

Number

24,706

27,773

36,578

50,050

39,373

27,382

25,633

27,082

29,807

40,492

% of Population

0.7

0.8

1

1.3

1

0.7

0.6

0.7

0.7

1

Year 1880 1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889

Number

38,505

47,991

112,458

133,624

103,824

76,169

69,152

84,526

88,766

91,600

% of Population

0.9

1.1

2.6

3

2.3

1.7

1.5

1.8

1.9

1.9

Year 1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899

Number

75,067

82,165

30,996

29,633

20,829

18,790

16,835

21,716

31,900

44,543

% of Population

1.6

1.7

0.6

0.6

0.4

0.4

0.3

0.4

0.6

0.9

Year 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909

Number

41,681

55,747

89,102

138,660

131,252

141,465

211,653

272,409

143,326

173,694

% of Population

0.8

1

1.6

2.5

2.3

2.4

3.5

4.2

2.2

2.6

Year 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919

Number

286,839

331,288

375,756

400,870

150,484

33,665

55,914

72,910

41,845

107,698

% of Population

4.1

4.6

5.1

5.3

1.9

0.4

0.7

0.9

0.5

1.3

Year 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929

Number

138,824

91,728

64,224

133,729

124,164

84,907

135,982

158,886

166,783

164,993

% of Population

1.6

1

0.7

1.5

1.4

0.9

1.4

1.6

1.7

1.6

Year 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939

Number

104,806

27,530

20,591

14,382

12,476

11,277

11,643

15,101

17,244

16,994

% of Population

1

0.3

0.2

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.2

0.2

Year 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949

Number

11,324

9,329

7,576

8,504

12,801

22,722

71,719

64,127

125,414

95,217

% of Population

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.2

0.6

0.5

1

0.7

Year 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959

Number

73,912

194,391

164,498

168,868

154,227

109,946

164,857

282,164

124,851

106,928

% of Population

0.5

1.4

1.1

1.1

1

0.7

1

1.7

0.7

0.6

Year 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969

Number

104,111

71,698

74,856

93,151

112,606

146,758

194,743

222,876

183,974

164,531

% of Population

0.6

0.4

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

1

1.1

0.9

0.8

Year 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979

Number

147,713

121,900

122,006

184,200

218,465

187,881

149,429

114,914

86,313

112,093

% of Population

0.7

0.6

0.6

0.8

1

0.8

0.6

0.5

0.4

0.5

Year 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989

Number

143,140

128,642

121,179

89,192

88,276

84,345

99,354

152,078

161,584

191,547

% of Population

0.6

0.5

0.5

0.4

0.3

0.3

0.4

0.6

0.6

0.7

Year 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999

Number

216,452

232,808

254,792

256,641

224,387

212,865

226,071

216,035

174,195

189,951

% of Population

0.8

0.8

0.9

0.9

0.8

0.7

0.8

0.7

0.6

0.6

Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009

Number

227,455

250,638

229,048

221,349

235,824

262,241

251,642

236,754

247,248

252,172

% of Population

0.7

0.8

0.7

0.7

0.7

0.8

0.8

0.7

0.7

0.7

Year 2010 2011

Number

280,681

248,748

% of Population

0.8

0.7

Annex D: Breakdown and description of current immigration programs

Here is the breakdown of the mix of immigration programs in the 2013 Levels Plan:

  • About 62 per cent of the immigrants who come to Canada are in the economic class.
  • About 27 per cent are in the family class.
  • The rest are mostly refugees and others admitted for humanitarian and compassionate reasons.

The economic category includes the principal applicants (the person on the application whose skills and qualifications we assess) and their spouse/partner and dependants. Principal applicants make up around 40 per cent of the economic category, while spouses/partners and dependants are around 60 per cent.

Economic

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) chooses immigrants based on their ability to succeed economically in Canada.

If they meet eligibility requirements, we assess applicants against selection criteria, also known as the “points grid.” Applicants can earn up to 100 points and the current pass mark is 67. Points are awarded for:

  • official language abilities;
  • age;
  • education;
  • work experience,
  • employment already arranged in Canada; and
  • adaptability.

These traits help us choose newcomers who are flexible and adaptable enough to find success in Canada’s labour market.

After a 10-month pause on accepting new applications while we revised the FSW Program, changes to selection criteria took effect on May 4, 2013. The FSWP points grid was improved based on a large body of research which has consistently shown that language proficiency and youth are two of the most important factors for an immigrant’s success.

The changes also put in place a new requirement for an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) of foreign educational credentials, so that points awarded reflect the foreign credential’s true value in Canada. Also, applicants can now earn more points for a spouse’s language ability and Canadian work experience.

Since November 2008, CIC has worked to better align the processing of FSW applications with Canada’s labour market needs, and to address the backlog of applications in the program. The intake of new FSW applications has been managed by special processing priorities since 2008. This will support a much faster and more flexible program in the coming years.

Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

To address Canada’s growing demand for certain skilled tradespeople, CIC launched a new Federal Skilled Trades Program on January 2, 2013. This new permanent residence program is geared towards the kind of workers who are likely to apply as the selection criteria puts more emphasis on practical experience rather than formal education.

The program uses a streamlined pass/fail model based on four criteria. Applicants must:

  • meet a basic language requirement (as language ability strongly affects the degree of immigrant success, and for health and safety reasons);
  • have a qualifying job offer OR a Provincial/Territorial certificate of qualification in a skilled trade (to show that the person meets the requirements to be employed in Canada);
  • have two years of work experience as a qualified skilled tradesperson in the last five years (to show that their work experience, which is key to being employed in the skilled trades, is recent and relevant); and
  • satisfy the employment requirements in the National Occupational Classification for their skilled trade (to show that the person meets the general requirements to be employed in Canada).

CIC is accepting up to 3,000 applications in this program each year. The current cap year is valid from May 4, 2013 to April 30, 2014.

Quebec Skilled Workers and Business Immigrants selected by Quebec

Under the Canada-Quebec Accord, Quebec sets its own levels and chooses its own skilled workers and business immigrants. Selection criteria for both are similar to those of the federal programs. The Government of Canada has authority for overall levels-setting as well as for the final admissibility of immigrants into Canada.

Provincial and Nominee Program (PNP)

The Provincial Nominee Program supports the Government of Canada’s goal that immigration support job creation, growth and long-term prosperity across all regions of Canada. It allows provincial and territorial governments to nominate immigrants for permanent residence who will meet local economic and regional labour market needs, and who intend to settle in that province or territory.

Provincial and territorial governments assess the skills, education and work experience of applicants to make sure that nominees can contribute to the economy of the nominating province or territory. Currently, there are PN agreements in place for all provinces and territories except Nunavut, and Quebec (which manages its own immigration programs based on the Canada-Quebec Accord). In total, there are more than 60 separate streams offered under the PN programs across Canada.

Some streams require applicants to already have job offers from Canadian employers. Some help temporary foreign workers (at all skill levels) and international students become permanent residents, while others aim to attract business persons and entrepreneurs.

Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

Research shows that those with Canadian education and/or work experience have far better outcomes in the labour market. The Canadian Experience Class was created in 2008 to help these people transition to permanent residence.

To streamline the program, CIC recently reduced the work experience requirement from 24 months to 12 months, and standardized the eligibility requirements for international student graduates and temporary foreign workers.

Business Immigrants

The goal of the federal business program – for investors, entrepreneurs and self-employed people – is to spur innovation, bring investment to Canada, and bring in people with a proven track record in business who will take risks and create new businesses.

To reduce the backlog in this program, in June 2011 CIC put a pause on applications to the Entrepreneur Program, and in June 2012, a pause on new applications to the Immigrant Investor Program. This will help us process applications already in the queue while we work on improvements to the program.

In April 2013, CIC introduced the new Start-Up Visa pilot program, which is the first of its kind in the world. It is designed to attract dynamic entrepreneurs and link them with Canadian private sector organizations that have experience working with and investing in start-ups. This will help build companies that will compete globally and create Canadian jobs.

Live-in Caregivers

The Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) brings qualified temporary foreign workers into Canada to care for a child, senior, or person with a disability when there is a shortage of Canadians or permanent residents to fill these positions.

The LCP was created in 1992 as a temporary work program. Now, people who meet certain criteria within four years of arriving in Canada may apply for permanent residence for themselves, their spouse/partner and eligible dependants.

The number of applications for permanent residence we accept is directly tied to the number of live-in caregivers who first come as temporary workers (i.e. as we accept more temporary applicants, there will be more applications for permanent residence).

At the end of 2011, CIC began issuing open work permits to those who have met the criteria and applied for permanent residence. This means they will not be tied to one employer and can find work elsewhere while waiting for their applications to be processed. 

Family

Spouses, Partners and Children

Canadian citizens or permanent residents over the age of 18 may sponsor their immediate family members to be permanent residents in Canada. To do so, they must sign a sponsorship agreement of three years (for spouses/partners and dependent children) or 10 years (for parents and grandparents).

Parents and Grandparents

Canada is one of the few countries that have a family reunification program for parents and grandparents.

In November 2011, CIC launched the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification to address the growing backlog of applications in this program. This plan included:

  • increasing the number of people accept per year;
  • launching the Super Visa to give non-Canadian parents and grandparents extended visits to Canada;
  • consulting Canadians on how to redesign the program; and
  • putting a temporary pause on new applications while we process those already in the backlog.

The second phase of the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification was unveiled, including:

  • maintaining high levels of admissions;
  • making the Super Visa permanent;
  • new qualifying criteria for sponsorship, including increasing financial criteria for sponsors to ensure that they have the means to support the parents or grandparents they sponsor; and
  • the annual acceptance of 5,000 applications.

CIC will begin accepting a limited number of new sponsorship applications on January 2, 2014. . In the meantime, we continue to reduce the backlog of applications, which would have reached 250,000 by 2015 with a 15-year wait time, had no action been taken.

Refugee and Humanitarian Class (refugees, asylum claimants, and those admitted on humanitarian and compassionate grounds)

Around 11 per cent of immigrants to Canada arrive under the refugee and humanitarian class.

Canada has two major refugee categories:

  • resettled refugees, either
    • sponsored from abroad by the Government and referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or
    • sponsored by private organizations; and
  • those who make a refugee claim from within Canada.

There are also categories to address exceptional humanitarian situations.

Canada has a long-standing humanitarian tradition of resettling refugees in Canada for whom there is no other durable or lasting solution (i.e., they cannot return home and they cannot stay where they are). In addition, Canada is legally obligated to consider refugee claims made from within Canada.

CIC has made changes to the in-Canada refugee system since both the Balanced Refugee Reform Act and the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act received Royal Assent in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

As a result of these changes, refugee claims made in Canada are being decided more quickly, which means that those who are truly in need will get our protection faster. Likewise, those who do not need our protection will be removed from Canada faster.

Footnotes

Footnote 1

The table represents preliminary data for calendar year 2012 and provides immigration statistics by category and intended destination for permanent residents. Final statistics will be available in Facts and Figures 2012: Immigration overview, in summer, 2013.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

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