In 2020, Canada received 185 000 new immigrants on a long-term or permanent basis (including changes of status), -45.9% compared to 2019. This figure comprises 32.5% labour migrants, 51.8% family members (including accompanying family) and 13.8% humanitarian migrants. Around 51 000 permits were issued to tertiary-level international students and 53 000 to temporary and seasonal labour migrants.

India, China and the Philippines were the top three nationalities of newcomers in 2020. Among the top 15 countries of origin, India registered the largest decrease (-42 000) in flows to Canada compared to the previous year.

In 2021, the number of first asylum applicants increased by 23%, to reach around 23 400. The majority of applicants came from Mexico (2 300), India (1 700) and Colombia (1 400). The largest increase since 2020 concerned nationals of Iran (700) and the largest decrease nationals of Nigeria (-300). Of the 48 000 decisions taken in 2021, 54% were positive.

Canada’s 2022-24 Immigration Levels Plan aims to continue welcoming increasing amounts of new permanent residents. Planned admissions include 431 645 in 2022, 447 055 in 2023, and 451 000 in 2024. These targets represent a growth rate of about 1% of Canada’s population per year.

At the beginning of 2022, Canada established the Atlantic Immigration Program as a permanent programme, replacing the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, initially launched in 2017.

Several changes addressed disruptions caused by COVID-19. In response to border closures the expedited one time TR to PR Pathway, in effect from May to November 2021, enabled more than 90 000 temporary workers and student graduates in Canada to apply for permanent residence with over 45 000 approved to date. To ease family reunification despite the economic difficulties during the pandemic, COVID-19 and employment insurance benefits could be included to meet the income requirements for family class sponsorship for the 2020 tax year. In addition, the overall income requirement for sponsors of parents and grandparents was reduced.

In December 2021, Canada launched the second phase of its Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot, which helps skilled refugees to access Canada’s existing economic immigration pathways. The EMPP helps to fill labour shortages in high-demand sectors such as health care, while providing refugees with a durable solution. The EMPP aims to admit 500 skilled refugees and their family members under Phase 2 and to expand even further in the future.

In June 2021, the Citizenship Act was amended to include a reference to Indigenous and Treaty Rights in the Oath of Citizenship to support newcomers’ awareness of Indigenous rights and history.

In August 2021, IRCC announced a special resettlement initiative for Afghan nationals to help resettle at least 40 000 Afghan nationals over the next two years. In addition, Canada launched a new resettlement stream for human rights defenders with an annual quota of 250 resettlement spaces for 2021 and 2022.

As of March 2022, the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel was launched to help Ukrainians and their family members receive extended stay in Canada, as well as work and study options. Additionally, federal settlement services, such as language training and a one-time benefit of USD 3 000 for each adult and USD 1 500 for each child are offered. This is an extraordinary measure aimed at supporting Ukrainians arriving under this special, accelerated temporary residence pathway.

During the pandemic, the majority of settlement services, including language training, were shifted to online delivery. This ensured continued support to newcomers and refugees, while respecting public health guidelines, and included resources to address the increase in gender-based violence during the pandemic. In response to the need for flexibility, the validity period of language assessment results was extended, and remains, from one to two years.

Canada will invest close to CAD 830 million in the next five years to modernise its business practices and implement an enterprise-wide digital migration management platform. This new platform will support greater use of data and digital tools to improve application processing across lines of business and better support applicants.

For further information:

Metadata, Legal and Rights

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Extracts from publications may be subject to additional disclaimers, which are set out in the complete version of the publication, available at the link provided.

© OECD 2022

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at