News & Updates

JUNE 2018

 Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada today announced a new Student Direct Stream that promises streamlined processing of Canadian study permit applications for ‘legal residents’ of China, India, Vietnam and Philippines.


Previously, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) had different programs to serve individuals applying to study in Canada from these countries.

IRCC has now merged those separate programs into the SDS to ensure consistency in processing and requirements for all study permit applicants.

IRCC is also planning to expand the program to Africa in 2019 with a focus on potential French-speaking students in countries like Senegal.

“IRCC recognizes the tremendous economic, cultural and social benefits that international students bring to Canada,” Canada’s Immigration Minister, Ahmed Hussen, said in a statement.

“We are committed to improving client service for all applicants, including students, as we continue to find new and efficient ways to reduce processing times.”

To benefit from faster Canadian study permit processing through the SDS program, potential international students to Canada must meet additional language requirements.

After getting accepted at a Designated Learning Institite(DLI), international student applicants must also show proof of:

  1. tuition payment for the first year of study at a designated learning institution in Canada;
  2. purchase of a Guaranteed Investment Certificate of $10,000;
  3. completion of an upfront medical examination;
  4. a qualifying score of at least 6 for English (IELTS), or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens score of 7 for French (TEF), or graduation from a Canadian-curriculum high school.

IRCC says that citizens of these four countries who are residing elsewhere when submitting an application will be processed under regular study permit conditions. T

The Government of Canada says it is committed to making study in Canada easier and will evaluate the success of the program before expanding it in 2019.



Message from the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

As Canada marked its 150th anniversary of Confederation this year, Canadians across the country celebrated the diversity that makes us strong. Throughout our history, Canada has proudly welcomed immigrants and refugees from around the world. Indeed, our country was built by the many significant cultural and economic contributions of immigrants and our Indigenous peoples.

Immigration is not only an important part of our country’s history. It will also be integral to our country’s future, helping to spur economic growth, job creation and our prosperity. As Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, I’m honoured to carry forward our country’s welcoming tradition, while we shape our country’s future.

In 2016, Canada welcomed more than 296,000 permanent residents, which is close to our new, ongoing target of 300,000 that we aim to achieve in 2017. In order to meet the growing needs of our economy and expanding labour market, the highest category of admissions in 2016 continued to be the Economic Class, which included approximately 156,000 permanent residents.

The high level of permanent resident admissions in 2016 also featured an extraordinary commitment to resettle Syrian refugees and a renewed focus on reuniting families. More than 62,000 people were admitted to Canada as resettled refugees, as people who were granted protected persons status in Canada through the asylum system, and people admitted for humanitarian and compassionate considerations under public policies. Canada also welcomed approximately 78,000 permanent residents in the Family Class, which is 19 percent higher than admissions in 2015 and reflects a Government of Canada commitment to reuniting more families faster.

Temporary immigration also continues to serve an important role in meeting our labour market needs and represents a significant contribution to our economy in general. Canada is becoming an increasingly popular destination for international students and tourism, and those who came to Canada temporarily in 2016 accounted for $32.2 billion in our economy.

This past year, Canada issued over 286,000 work permits to temporary workers. To help attract and retain global talent, the Government also launched the Global Skills Strategy in 2016. A key aspect of this effort will get highly-skilled temporary workers here faster, helping businesses to attract the talent they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive global market.

To better meet regional economic needs through immigration, this past year Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada launched the employer-focused Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program. As well, to enhance our country’s competitiveness globally, the Start-up Visa Program is now a permanent feature of our economic immigration program.

While Canada will continue to be a welcoming country that embraces our diversity, the Government is also aware of the ongoing need to balance our openness with the security and safety of Canadians. This balance is critical to the future success of our immigration program, to ensure it continues to bring economic and social benefits to Canada. We remain committed to reuniting more families faster and to upholding our humanitarian obligations, while we strive to make our immigration system more efficient and responsive to our economic needs.

As we continue to work towards achieving these goals at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, is with great pride that I present the Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration 2017, including the levels plan for 2018 to 2020.

The Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen, PC., M.P.
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

Increase in immigration numbers appears to be the largest in more than a century

More than 320,000 new permanent residents settled in Canada in the past year, the highest total number for many decades. In the period from July, 2015 to July, 2016, a total of 320,932 new immigrants landed in the country as permanent residents. That is an increase of more than one third over the previous year, when 240,844 immigrants came to Canada, representing the fastest growth in nearly three decades. Moreover, the government of Canada is planning to welcome even more newcomers over the coming years.

Statistics Canada (Statscan) revealed these latest figures this week in its annual population count. Though earlier data are not strictly comparable, the latest Canadian immigration numbers appear to be the largest in more than a century at least 1971, when comparable records began, according to Statscan.

Under the current data-gathering methodology, the previous record for new immigrants was set in 2009-2010, when 270,581 people arrived in Canada.

According to the Statscan report, the Prairie provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba) are becoming more popular destinations than ever before. In the past year, 27.9 per cent of new immigrants settled in one of these provinces. Alberta, which received 57,384 people, ranked as the second most popular destination for newcomers of all the provinces. Manitoba (17,238) and Saskatchewan (15,006) also boosted their immigration numbers.

Ontario remained the most popular destination province, with 199,647 newcomers landing in the province in the past year, representing 37.3 percent of the total. Meanwhile, Quebec welcomed 55,164 new immigrants. More than half (54.4 percent) of all new immigrants to Canada landed in Ontario or Quebec.

Not only did all provinces welcome more immigrants, six provinces actually took in record numbers of immigrants in 2015-16. In Eastern Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador (1,406), Nova Scotia (5,390), and New Brunswick (4,435) all took in record numbers, as did Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.

British Columbia received 42,832 newcomers, while Prince Edward Island (2,008) and the Territories (Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, 512 in total) also continued to welcome new immigrants.

Reduction in processing times

In the 12-month period under review, processing times for all permanent residence programs together decreased by a massive 42 percent. The shortest average processing times are for applications submitted under one of the federal economic programs managed through the Express Entry selection system: The Federal Skilled Worker Class, the Federal Skilled Trades Class, and the Canadian Experience Class. Complete applications submitted under one of these programs are typically processed to in 3-5 months. Express Entry allows the government to select which individuals are able to submit an application through a federal economic program. As a result, the government can manage supply, and therefore reduce processing times.

In addition, the government continued to work through a backlog of applications that were submitted before Express Entry came into operation. It was also revealed that processing times on these applications were reduced.

Other reductions occurred in Quebec Skilled Worker application processing times, which are down by 28 percent year-over-year for the federal stage, as well as Family Class applications, which have seen an overall reduction in processing times of 15 percent.

The programs that come under Canada’s Humanitarian immigration category saw a reduction in processing times of 38 percent. Canada’s refugee settlement programs come under this category.

Reasons for the increase in immigration numbers
Express Entry and the backlog

Since Express Entry was first launched in January, 2015, the government has processed applications through the new system, in addition to working through a backlog of applications submitted before Express Entry came into operation. The period under review in the report runs from July, 2015 to July, 2016, and we know that far more newcomers who submitted applications through Express Entry landed in the second half of 2015 than the first half of 2015. Throughout 2016, the government has continued to issue Invitations to Apply (ITAs) to candidates in the pool.

Provincial Nominee Programs

Over the past year or two, Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)have become more dynamic, with an increasing number of applications being submitted under these programs. When the government revealed its 2016 Immigration Plan in March, it set a target of up to 48,000 for new arrivals through the PNPs this year alone. Provincial governments have also been active in lobbying the federal government for larger allocations for the PNPs; Nova Scotia and British Columbia, in particular, have been successful in this regard.

Most provinces and territories have at least one PNP dedicated to attracting Express Entry candidates for immigration to Canada, with more categories being introduced on an ongoing basis. Candidates who receive a provincial nomination certificate through one of these enhances PNP categories benefit from quick processing times.

Syrian refugees

One of the first signature acts of Canada’s new Liberal government was the arrival of Syrian refugees, which began in November, 2015. This spike in refugee immigrants partly explains the overall increase. At last count, Canada had welcomed 30,862 refugees, with thousands more still to be processed.

New government

The Liberal government of Canada, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has been vocal in its support of immigration and immigrants across all categories. The government has recognized that Canada faces demographic and labour challenges, and that immigration is an important part of solutions to these challenges. Moreover, the Liberal Party has traditionally embraced multiculturalism and is generally perceived as a pro-immigration party.

Government wants to “substantially increase” immigration

Over the summer months, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, John McCallum, stated his intention to “substantially increase” the number of new immigrants to Canada in order to fill labour shortages and confront the demographic challenges of an aging population.

Speaking in August, 2016, McCallum said, “Why not substantially increase the number of immigrants coming to Canada? The direction in which I would like to go is to increase substantially the number of immigrants.

“We’re going to reduce some of the barriers in our immigration system . . . we think it can be simplified. We think there are some rules which are no longer necessary,” added McCallum.

The Liberal government, which took office less than one year ago, plans on unveiling its overall immigration strategy in the near future, with a three-year plan expected to be released in November of this year.

An optimistic vision for Canada

“Though it is still relatively early days in the life of this government, its work on the immigration front has been positive. The government has approached immigration in a realistic way, while retaining an optimistic vision for the country,” says Attorney David Cohen.

“While other countries increasingly look inward from the world, Canada is actually going out there and laying out the welcome mat for an increasing number of newcomers from around the globe. This includes professionals, families, international graduates, relations of current Canadian permanent residents and citizens, and those fleeing hardship.

“We can expect future figures to show not only that Canada is increasing immigration numbers, but ultimately that newcomers are building successful lives in Canada for themselves and their families. Canada has a government that is prepared to invest in the country, its people, and its immigrants.”