Immigration overview: Permanent and temporary residents

Glossary of terms and concepts


Age: Five age groups are shown: 0 to 14 years, 15 to 24 years, 25 to 44 years, 45 to 64 years, and 65 years or older. Age refers to age at landing for permanent residents and age at entry or age on December 1st for temporary residents.

Business immigrants: Permanent residents in the economic immigrant category selected on the basis of their ability to establish themselves economically in Canada through entrepreneurial activity, self–employment or direct investment. Business immigrants include entrepreneurs, self–employed people and investors. The spouse or common–law partner and the dependent children of the business immigrant are also included in this category.

Category: Immigration categories are shown for the three main groups of permanent residents—family class, economic immigrants and refugees—as well as for “other” immigrants who do not qualify in any of these categories. On an exceptional basis, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act gives Citizenship and Immigration Canada the authority to grant permanent resident status to individuals and families who would not otherwise qualify in any category—for example, in cases where there are strong humanitarian and compassionate considerations. In reference to labour market characteristics, the economic immigrant category is further divided into two subgroups: principal applicants, and spouses and dependants.

Common–law partner: The family class includes, among others, persons who are the sponsor’s common–law partner. Common law partner means, in relation to a person, an individual who is cohabiting with the person in a conjugal relationship, having so cohabited for a period of at least one year. The term refers to both opposite–sex and same–sex couples. Fiancé(e)s are no longer designated as a component of the Family class under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. In this publication, the term common–law partner is also used as a designation of marital status for all immigrants regardless of their immigration category.

Conjugal partner: The family class includes, among others, persons who are the sponsor’s conjugal partner. A conjugal partner is a person who has maintained a conjugal relationship with the sponsor for at least one year but has been unable to live with the sponsor. The term refers to both opposite–sex and same–sex couples. This category is intended for partners of sponsors who would ordinarily apply as common–law partners but cannot meet the definition—that is, they were not able to live together continuously for at least one year.

Deferred removal orders: Permanent residents determined to be members of the Deferred Removal Orders Class (DROC) who are included with other immigrants. This class was designed to grant relief to individuals who have not been recognized as refugees in Canada, who have cooperated with the authorities, but who have not been removed from Canada within three years of the time they became removable. This category was introduced in 1994 under the Immigration Regulations of the Immigration Act (1976) but is no longer designated under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.


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Dependent children: Under current legislation, children are dependent if they are unmarried and under the age of 22, or if they have been full–time students since before the age of 22, attend a post–secondary educational institution and have been substantially dependent on the financial support of a parent since before the age of 22 or, if married or a common–law partner, since becoming a spouse or a common–law partner, or if 22 or older, they have been substantially dependent on the financial support of a parent since before the age of 22 because of a physical or mental condition. A dependent child is either a biological child or an adopted child.

Economic immigrants: Permanent residents selected for their skills and ability to contribute to Canada’s economy. The economic immigrant category includes skilled workers, business immigrants, provincial or territorial nominees and live–in caregivers.

Entrepreneurs: Economic immigrants in the business immigrant category who are selected on the condition that they have managed and controlled a percentage of equity of a qualifying business for at least two years in the period beginning five years before they apply, and that they have a legally obtained net worth of at least CAN$300,000. They must own and manage a qualifying business in Canada for at least one year in the three years following arrival in Canada.

Family class: Permanent residents sponsored by a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident living in Canada who is 18 years of age or over. Family class immigrants include spouses and partners (i.e., spouse, common–law partner or conjugal partner); parents and grandparents; and others (i.e., dependent children, children under the age of 18 whom the sponsor intends to adopt in Canada, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces and grandchildren who are orphans under 18 years of age, or any other relative if the sponsor has no relative as described above, either abroad or in Canada). Fiancé(e)s are no longer designated as a component of the family class under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Foreign students: Temporary residents who are in Canada principally to study in the observed calendar year. Foreign students have been issued a study permit (with or without other types of permits). Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, a study permit is not needed for any program of study that is six months or less. Foreign students exclude temporary residents who have been issued a study permit but who entered Canada principally for reasons other than study.

Foreign workers: Temporary residents who are in Canada principally to work in the observed calendar year. Foreign workers have been issued a document that allows them to work in Canada. Foreign workers exclude temporary residents who have been issued a work permit but who entered Canada mainly for reasons other than work.

Government–assisted refugees: Permanent residents in the refugee category who are selected abroad for resettlement to Canada as Convention refugees under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act or as members of the Convention Refugees Abroad Class, and who receive resettlement assistance from the federal government.


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Humanitarian and compassionate cases: Permanent residents included with other immigrants who are sponsored humanitarian and compassionate cases outside the family class, humanitarian and compassionate cases without sponsorship, and cases that take into account public policy. On an exceptional basis, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act gives Citizenship and Immigration Canada the authority to grant permanent resident status to individuals and families who would not otherwise qualify in any category, in cases where there are strong humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) considerations, or for public policy reasons. The purpose of these discretionary provisions is to provide the flexibility to approve deserving cases not anticipated in the legislation.

Humanitarian population: Temporary residents who are primarily refugee claimants but also includes other foreign nationals allowed to remain in Canada on humanitarian or compassionate grounds under “special considerations.”

Immigration Act (1976): Federal legislation respecting immigration to Canada. The Immigration Act of 1976 became law in 1978 and remained in effect until 2002.

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA): Federal legislation respecting immigration to Canada and the granting of refugee protection to people who are displaced, persecuted or in danger. IRPA received royal assent on November 1, 2001 and came into effect on June 28, 2002.

Independent immigrants: The independent immigrant category is a pre–IRPA immigration category that includes skilled workers selected for their labour market skills and business immigrants selected on the basis of their business experience and other related skills.

Industrial codes: Economic immigrants in the business immigrant category who have declared their industry of activity, in lieu of their intended occupation.

Initial entries: Temporary residents who enter Canada for the first time in the observed calendar year with a valid document (i.e., a work permit, study permit, refugee claim, temporary resident permit, or a visitor record). The sum of initial entries and re–entries reflects the total entries of temporary residents to Canada in any given year of observation.

Investors: Economic immigrants in the business immigrant category who are required to make a substantial investment in Canada that is allocated to participating provinces and territories for economic development and job creation.

Language ability: Four categories of language ability in one of Canada’s official languages are shown for permanent residents: English only, French only, both French and English, and neither language. These are self–declared indicators of knowledge of an official language.


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Level of education: Eight levels of education are shown for permanent residents who are 15 years of age or older, based on the number of years of schooling or the certificate, diploma or degree obtained.

  • 0 to 9 years of schooling
  • 10 to 12 years of schooling
  • 13 or more years of schooling, with no additional certificate, diploma or degree
  • Trade certificate: completion of vocational training at non–university educational institutions
  • Non–university diploma: completion of a diploma program not at the university or trade level
  • Bachelor’s degree: completion of a bachelor’s program at the university level
  • Master’s degree: completion of a master’s program at the university level
  • Doctoral degree: completion of a doctoral program at the university level

Level of study: Five levels of study have are shown for foreign students.

  • Secondary or less: primary or secondary educational institutions in Canada
  • Trade: vocational trade at non–university educational institutions in Canada (such as technical and vocational institutions, CEGEPs and colleges)
  • University: undergraduate, postgraduate (master’s and doctoral) and other studies at university institutions in Canada
  • Other post–secondary: post–secondary level of study, not at the university or trade level, including language institutions, private institutions and university qualifying programs
  • Other: foreign students not classified in any of the above levels of study

Live–in caregivers: Persons granted permanent resident status as economic immigrants after their participation in the Live–in Caregiver Program. This program brings temporary foreign workers to Canada as live–in employees to work without supervision in private households to care for children, seniors or people with disabilities. Participants in this program may apply for permanent resident status within three years of arrival in Canada, once they have completed two years of employment as live–in caregivers. The Live–in Caregiver Program replaced the Foreign Domestic Movement Program on April 27, 1992.

New workers: Permanent residents who are intending to work in Canada but who are without a declared occupation. Occupational skill level cannot be assessed.


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Occupational skill level: Five skill levels, based on the National Occupational Classification, are shown for permanent residents 15 years of age or older as well as for temporary foreign workers.

  • Level O (managerial): management occupations
  • Level A (professional): professional occupations in business and finance; natural and applied sciences; health; social science, education, government service, and religion; and art and culture
  • Educational or training requirements: university degree
  • Level B (skilled and technical): skilled or technical occupations in administration and business; natural and applied sciences; health; law, social service, education, and religion; art, culture, recreation and sport; sales and service; as well as trades and skilled transport and equipment operators; skilled occupations in primary industries; and processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and skilled operators
  • Educational or training requirements: two to three years of post–secondary education, or two to five years of apprenticeship training, or three to four years of secondary school and more than two years of on–the–job training, occupation–specific training courses or specific work experience
  • Level C (intermediate and clerical): clerical occupations; assisting occupations in health services; intermediate occupations in sales and services; transport, equipment operations, installation and maintenance; primary industries; as well as processing and manufacturing machine operators and assemblers
  • Educational or training requirements: one to four years of secondary school education, or up to two years of on–the–job training, training courses or specific work experience
  • Level D (elemental and labourers): elemental sales and service occupations and labourers in construction; primary industries; and processing, manufacturing and utilities
  • Educational or training requirements: no formal educational requirements; short work demonstration or on–the–job training

Other humanitarian cases: Temporary residents in the humanitarian population composed of foreign nationals other than refugee claimants, who are allowed to remain in Canada on humanitarian or compassionate grounds under “special circumstances”. These other humanitarian cases include a small number of individuals who have never filed a refugee claim but who are processed under special programs established to handle refugee–like cases.

Other temporary residents: Persons with a temporary resident permit or a visitor record issued for the purpose of entering Canada. These temporary residents do not hold a work permit, a study permit, a permit processed under special programs established to handle refugee–like cases nor have they ever filed a refugee claim.

Other immigrants: Permanent residents in the other immigrant category include post–determination refugee claimants in Canada, deferred removal orders, retirees (no longer designated under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act), temporary resident permit holders, humanitarian and compassionate cases, sponsored humanitarian and compassionate cases outside the family class, and people granted permanent resident status based on public policy considerations.

Permanent residents: People who have been granted permanent resident status in Canada. Permanent residents must live in Canada for at least 730 days (two years) within a five–year period or risk losing their status. Permanent residents have all the rights guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms such as equality rights, legal rights, and mobility rights, freedom of religion, freedom of expression and freedom of association. They do not, however, have the right to vote in elections.


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Post–determination refugee claimants in Canada: Permanent residents determined to be members of the Post–Determination Refugee Claimants in Canada class (PDRCC) who are included with other immigrants. The PDRCC is a prescribed class (no longer designated under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act) where permanent residence is granted to protect a failed refugee claimant from a threat in the country of nationality or origin where there is a risk to life, or a risk of excessive sanctions or inhumane treatment.

Principal applicants: Permanent residents identified as the principal applicant on their application for a permanent resident visa for themselves and, if applicable, for accompanying spouse and/or dependants when they apply to immigrate to Canada. For individuals or families applying to immigrate to Canada in the skilled worker category, only the principal applicant is assessed on the basis of selection criteria in place at the time of the application.

Privately sponsored refugees: Permanent residents in the refugee category who are selected for resettlement in the Convention refugees abroad class, the source country class or the country of asylum class and who are privately sponsored by organizations, individuals or groups of individuals.

Province or territory: The province or territory of intended destination in Canada.

Provincial or territorial nominees: Economic immigrants selected by a province or territory for specific skills that will contribute to the local economy to meet specific labour market needs. The Regulations establish a provincial or territorial nominee class, allowing provinces and territories that have agreements with Citizenship and Immigration Canada to nominate persons to go to that province. A nominee must meet federal admissibility requirements, such as those related to health and security.

Re–entries: Temporary residents returning to Canada in the observed calendar year with a new document (i.e., a work permit, study permit, temporary resident permit, or a visitor record) issued abroad or at a port of entry. The sum of initial entries and re–entries reflects the total entries of temporary residents to Canada in any given year of observation.

Refugee claimants: Temporary residents in the humanitarian population who request refugee protection upon or after arrival in Canada. A refugee claimant receives Canada’s protection when he or she is found to be a Convention refugee as defined by the United Nations 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 protocol, or when found to be a person needing protection based on risk to life, risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment, or danger of torture as defined in the Convention Against Torture. A refugee claimant whose claim is accepted may make an application in Canada for permanent residence. The application may include family members in Canada and abroad.

Refugee dependants: Refugee dependants are permanent residents in the refugee category who are family members of a refugee landed in Canada, and who were living abroad or in Canada at the time of application. Their applications for permanent residence are considered concurrently with that of the principal applicant in Canada.

Refugees: Permanent residents in the refugee category include government–assisted refugees, privately sponsored refugees, refugees landed in Canada and refugee dependants (i.e., dependants of refugees landed in Canada, including spouses and partners living abroad or in Canada).


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Refugees landed in Canada: Permanent residents in the refugee category who have had their refugee claims accepted and who subsequently applied for and were granted permanent resident status in Canada. With the introduction of IRPA, this group is referred to as “Protected persons in Canada”.

Retirees: Permanent residents included with other immigrants who are over the age of 55, who come to Canada with no intention of working and who have sufficient funds to support themselves. This immigration category was phased out in 1991 and is no longer designated under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Self–employed: Economic immigrants in the business immigrant category selected on the condition that they can, and intend to, create their own employment in Canada and contribute significantly either to the Canadian economy or to the cultural or athletic life of Canada (for example, as farmers, artists, actors, writers or professional athletes).

Skilled workers: Economic immigrants selected for their ability to participate in the labour market and to establish themselves economically in Canada. Skilled workers are assessed on the basis of selection criteria that stress education, language ability and skilled work experience.

Source area: Five major world regions are shown: Africa and the Middle East, Asia and Pacific, South America and Central America, the United States, and Europe and the United Kingdom.


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Africa and the Middle East

Africa

Algeria
Angola
Benin, Peoples Republic of
Botswana, Republic of
Burkino-Faso
Burundi
Cameroon, Federal Republic of
Cape Verde Islands
Central Africa Republic
Chad, Republic of
Comoros
Congo, Democratic Republic of
Congo, People’s Republic of the
Djibouti, Republic of
Egypt
Eritrea
Ethiopia
Gabon Republic
Gambia
Ghana
Guinea, Equatorial
Guinea, Republic of
Ivory Coast, Republic
Kenya
Lesotho
Liberia

Libya
Madagascar
Malawi
Mali, Republic of
Mauritania
Mauritius
Morocco
Mozambique
Namibia
New Caledonia
Niger, Republic of the
Nigeria
Reunion
Rwanda
Senegal
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Somalia, Democratic Republic of
South Africa, Republic of
Tanzania, United Republic of
Togo, Republic of
Tunisia
Uganda
Zambia
Zimbabwe


Middle East

Bahrain
Cyprus
Iran
Iraq
Israel
Jordan
Kuwait
Lebanon

Palestinian Authority (Gaza/West Bank)
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
Syria
United Arab Emirates
Yemen, People’s Democratic Republic of
Yemen, Republic of



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Asia and Pacific

Asia

Afghanistan
Bangladesh
Bhutan
Brunei
Cambodia
China, People’s Republic of
Hong Kong
India
Indonesia, Republic of
Japan
Korea, People’s Democratic Republic of
Korea, Republic of
Laos
Macao

Macau, SAR
Malaysia
Mongolia, People’s Republic of
Myanmar (Burma)
Nepal
Oman
Pakistan
Philippines
Singapore
Sri Lanka
Taiwan
Thailand
Tibet
Vietnam, Socialist Republic of


Pacific

Australia
Fiji
French Polynesia
Maldives, Republic of
Nauru
New Zealand

Pacific Islands, US Trust Territory of the
Papau New Guinea
Samoa, Western
Tonga
Vanuatu


South America and Central America

Antigua And Barbuda
Argentina
Aruba
Bahama Islands, The
Barbados
Belize
Bermuda
Bolivia
Brazil
Cayman Islands
Chile
Colombia
Costa Rica
Cuba
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
El Salvador
Falkland Islands
French Guiana
Grenada
Guadeloupe
Guatemala
Guyana

Haiti
Honduras
Jamaica
Martinique
Mexico
Montserrat
Netherlands Antilles, The
Nevis
Nicaragua
Other America (Greenland, St. Pierre and Miquelon)
Panama, Republic of
Paraguay
Peru
Puerto Rico
St. Kitts-Nevis
St. Lucia
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Surinam
Trinidad and Tobago
United States
Uruguay
Venezuela
Virgin Islands, British



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Europe and the United Kingdom

Albania
Andorra
Armenia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Azores
Belarus
Belgium
Bosnia-Hercegovina
Bulgaria
Canary Islands
Croatia
Czech Republic
Czechoslovakia, Former
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Georgia
Germany
Gibraltar
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland, Republic of
Italy
Kazakhstan
Kyrgyzstan
Latvia

Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Macedonia
Madeira
Malta
Moldova
Monaco
Netherlands, The
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Russia
San Marino
Slovak Republic
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Tajikistan
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Ukraine
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Former
United Kingdom
Uzbekistan
Yugoslavia


Source countries: Refers to the principal country of last permanent residence for all permanent residents and temporary residents, unless otherwise indicated. For refugee claimants, source country refers to the principal country of alleged persecution. In this publication, the top ten source countries appear in decreasing order of entry (or presence) from these countries in the most recent year.

Spouse and dependants: Permanent residents who are the spouse, common–law or conjugal partner, or dependent children of the principal applicant and listed as such on the application.


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Still present: Temporary residents subject to a refugee claim or a valid document (i.e., a work permit, study permit, temporary resident permit, or a visitor record) issued for the purpose of entering Canada in compliance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (or with the Immigration Act of 1976 prior to 2002) for which the validity continues from the previous year to any point in time during the year of observation (calendar year). For a given year of observation, the sum of initial entries, re–entries and persons still present reflects the number of temporary residents deemed “ever present” in Canada at any point in time during that calendar year. This total number of persons differs from the Temporary residents present on December 1st shown in other tables of this report.

Study permit: A permit authorizing foreign nationals to enter and study in Canada on a temporary basis. The study permit identifies the level of study and the length of time the individual may study in Canada. Students do not need a study permit for courses shorter than six months.

Temporary resident permit holders: Persons included with other immigrants who have been granted permanent residence after having lived continuously in Canada for three to five years under the authority of a temporary resident permit.

Temporary resident presence: This statistic measures the number of temporary residents with a valid document (i.e., a refugee claim, a work permit, study permit, temporary resident permit, or a visitor record) on December 1st of the observation year. This measure excludes temporary residents granted permanent resident status on or before the observation date and those whose document validity has expired or is not yet in effect. The Temporary residents present December 1st is the measure normally used to report the size of the temporary resident population in Canada.

Temporary residents: Foreign nationals who are lawfully in Canada on a temporary basis under the authority of a valid document (i.e., a work permit, study permit, temporary resident permit, or a visitor record) issued for the purpose of entering Canada and individuals who seek asylum upon or after their arrival in Canada and remain in the country pending the outcome of processes relative to their claim. Temporary residents include foreign workers, foreign students, the humanitarian population and other temporary residents. The other category of temporary residents is not profiled in this publication.

Total entries: The sum of initial entries and re–entries of temporary residents.

Transitions: Changes from one temporary resident status to another (i.e., from foreign student to temporary foreign worker) as well as from temporary resident status to permanent residence. Transitions refer to the number of temporary residents whose yearly status has changed from the previous year or from an earlier year if the individual is returning to Canada. A transition is reported in the calendar year in which the event happened.

Urban area: Refers to selected urban areas in Canada that are the intended destination for permanent and temporary residents. The urban areas are either census metropolitan areas (CMA) or census agglomerations (CA) as identified and named in accordance with Statistics Canada’s 2001 Census definitions for these geographical units. A census metropolitan area has an urban core with a population of at least 100,000. A census agglomeration has an urban core with a population of at least 10,000.


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The Census Metropolitan Areas (shown by province) are:

Newfoundland and Labrador
St. John’s
Nova Scotia
Halifax
New Brunswick
Saint John
Quebec
Montréal
Chicoutimi–Jonquière
Ottawa–Gatineau (Quebec part)
Québec
Sherbrooke
Trois–Rivières
Ontario
Hamilton
Kingston
Kitchener
London
Greater Sudbury
Oshawa
Ottawa–Gatineau (Ontario part)
St. Catharines–Niagara
Thunder Bay
Toronto
Windsor
Manitoba
Winnipeg
Saskatchewan
Regina
Saskatoon
Alberta
Calgary
Edmonton
British Columbia
Abbotsford
Vancouver
Victoria

Work permit: A permit authorization that allows a non–Canadian citizen or a non–permanent resident to work in Canada. Some temporary jobs in Canada may not require a work permit—for example, news reporters, public speakers, performing artists, foreign government officers.

Yearly status: For statistical purposes, temporary residents are grouped as foreign workers, foreign students, the humanitarian population, or other temporary residents according to the main reason they have been authorized to enter and stay temporarily in Canada for each year of observation. These four categories are mutually exclusive—any person included in one category is excluded from the others.

Years of schooling: Number of years of schooling for permanent residents.

Date Modified: