Canada’s more than 100 immigration programs and streams in the economic class offer a wide range of opportunities for prospective immigrants.
CIC News has conducted a new analysis since January and there are now 104 economic immigration pathways in Canada.
The federal government and every Canadian province and territory have been making great strides over the past three decades with the introduction of many economic immigration pathways.
The goal: Provide a variety of immigration pathways so that Canada can meet the needs of a larger number of potential immigrants who, in turn, can bring a variety of skills and contribute to the country’s economic growth.
Canada’s immigration system welcomes permanent residents through three main avenues: as economic immigrants bringing both capital and labour skills, as family members sponsored under the family reunification program, and as refugees who are accepted into the country on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
The economic class accounts for the largest share of immigration to Canada, with about 6 in 10 immigrants selected for their positive impact on the economy. Most economic immigrants are highly skilled workers who apply from abroad, as well as highly skilled temporary workers and international students already living in Canada.
Those interested in becoming permanent residents in Canada can submit a profile to the Express Entry pool, where they are electronically screened for eligibility to one of the three main economic immigration programs—the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skilled Trades Class and Canadian Experience Class.
Eligible candidates who are entered into the Express Entry pool are ranked based on a score awarded under what is known as the Comprehensive Ranking System or CRS.
The CRS awards points for factors that include age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French, which are both the official languages of Canada, as well as other factors.
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In addition, the federal government has a host of pilot programs that fall under the economic category such as the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot.
A growing number of immigrants are being admitted through PNPs
Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) has grown substantially since its introduction in the 1990s and has now become the second most important avenue for skilled foreign workers to obtain permanent residence in Canada, after the Express Entry system.
In 1996, only 233 people were admitted to Canada through the PNP. Today, admission targets for the program are set at over 60,000.
The PNP allows participating Canadian provinces and territories to nominate a set amount of immigration candidates for permanent residence each year through its own unique program.
Each of these programs is designed to provide Canadian provinces, particularly smaller ones struggling to attract immigrants, with greater flexibility and the ability to tailor economic immigration to their specific labour market needs and overall economic development priorities.
All Canadian provinces and territories with a PNP have at least one “enhanced” nomination stream that is linked to the federal Express Entry system.
Express Entry candidates who receive a provincial nomination are awarded an additional 600 points toward their CRS score, which effectively fast-tracks them for an invitation to apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence.
Recent weeks have seen PNP streams in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and Ontario issue more than 2,500 invitations to workers with a range of skills and professional experience to apply for a nomination for Canadian permanent residence.
Earlier this week, Canada also hosted two Express Entry draws.
This year, Canada aims to welcome nearly 200,000 economic immigrants through its more than 100 economic immigration streams, of which about 90,000 are expected to arrive through its three Express Entry programs and 65,000 through PNPs.