Posted on - Nov 04, 2013

By Catherine Sas, Q.C.

Catherine Sas Q.C.

Last week Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander tabled his Annual Report to Parliament presenting an immigration action plan that will continue to maintain an overall high level of immigration with an increased focus on economic immigration. In 2014 Canada plans to welcome between 240,000 to 265,000 new permanent residents, continuing the highest level of sustained immigration in Canada’s history. Two key components of the economic immigration program, the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), are slated to achieve their highest levels of admissions ever. The 2014 immigration plan is targeted to achieve continued economic growth for 2014 and the coming years ahead.

Canada’s immigration program features three key components: economic, family and humanitarian applications. In the past two decades immigration levels were pretty evenly split on a 50/50 basis between family and economic immigration, with humanitarian representing a minimal component. This year’s immigration proposed targets are as follows:

Economic Family Humanitarian
63% 26.1% 10.9%
164,000 68,000 28,000

Canada’s economic immigration program was historically comprised of the Skilled worker program and the Business program including Investors, Entrepreneurs and Self-Employed applicants. In recent years the Investor and Entrepreneur programs have been suspended as was the Skilled worker program which re-opened this spring. However in 2000 the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) was introduced allowing provinces and territories the ability to select immigrants that met their regional needs. In 2008 the Canadian Experience Class was created providing an opportunity for people already working or studying in Canada to obtain permanent resident status without the need to apply from outside the country in the usual fashion. Given the dramatic increase in temporary foreign workers in Canada, both the CEC and PNP programs should continue to see ongoing growth. The proposed 2014 levels for these programs announced by the Minister last week forecast record admissions for both categories with targets of between 44,500 to 47,000 immigrants in the PNP and up to 15,000 immigrants in the CEC. The key to both of these programs is that applicants are either already working in Canada or have been selected by a Canadian employer. Given Canada’s projected ongoing need for foreign workers, these programs are both expected to flourish:

“While Canadians will continue to get the first crack at available jobs, getting the right people in the right places is key to addressing regional labour market needs and fuelling Canada’s long-term prosperity,” said Alexander.” We need newcomers willing to put their skills, ideas and energies to work.”

Currently Canada’s economic immigration is comprised of the following categories:

  • Skilled Worker
  • Provincial Nominee Program
  • Canadian Experience Class
  • Start Up Visa
  • Self-Employed
  • Live-In Caregivers

The number of immigrants in each of these categories has shifted dramatically over the years; however, the overall level of economic immigration has continued to grow from a level of approximately 50% a decade ago to a projection of 63% in the coming year. There is now a recognition that Canada’s immigration program needs a mix of overseas applicants along with those who have already come to work or study in Canada. The Minister’s Report signifies a continued recognition of the importance of immigration for Canada’s economy and a desire to remain competitive in the global search for talent:

“Securing economic growth is and will remain our Government’s top priority,” said Alexander. “Canada is in a global competition for the best and brightest immigrants, and this plan is crafted with attracting the people we need for Canada to succeed.”

Catherine Sas, Q.C. is a Vancouver immigration lawyer at Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre in Vancouver, BC Canada. Catherine has been practicing law for over 25 years, and has been voted Vancouver’s Best Immigration Lawyer by the Georgia Straight newspaper for 6 consecutive years.

To learn more about immigrating to Canada, becoming a permanent Canadian resident or bringing your family to Canada, email Catherine Sas or call her at 1-604-689-5444.

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