Canada's Immigration Levels Plan 2024-2026
Under its Immigration Levels Plan, Canada is now looking to welcome 500,000 new immigrants annually in the coming years, which are the highest levels in its history.
Canada's immigration goals are to strengthen the economy, reunite families, and help refugees. This comprehensive CanadaVisa page outlines everything that you need to know about Canada's Immigration Levels Plan.
Table of Contents
- Summary of Canada's Immigration Levels Plan
- Canada's Immigration Levels Plan 2024-2026
- Why Canada Needs Immigrants
- Overview of Canada's Immigration Programs
- Contact Cohen Immigration Law for Assistance
Each year, the federal department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) releases a new Immigration Levels Plan which it uses to guide its operations.
In 2023, IRCC plans to welcome more than 465,000 immigrants to Canada. In 2024, Canada's newcomer target is 485,000 new permanent residents (PRs). In both 2025, and 2026 Canada will aim to welcome an additional 500,000 immigrants (in each year). The following table summarises Canada's immigration targets between 2024-2026 by immigration class:
Overall Planned Permanent Resident Admissions
Federal High Skilled
Federal Economic Public Policies
Economic Pilots: Caregivers
Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program
Provincial Nominee Program
Quebec Skilled Workers and Business
See the Quebec immigration plan
See the Quebec immigration plan
To be determined
Spouses, Partners and Children
Parents and Grandparents
Refugees and Protected Persons
Protected Persons in Canada and Dependents Abroad
Resettled Refugees - Government-Assisted
Resettled Refugees - Privately Sponsored
Resettled Refugees - Blended Visa Office-Referred
Total Refugees and Protected Persons
Humanitarian and Other
Total Humanitarian & Compassionate and Other
Francophone Permanent Resident Immigration outside of Quebec
Canada welcomes high levels of immigration to keep its economy strong.
Canada has one of the world's oldest populations and also one of the world's lowest birth rates. This creates economic and fiscal pressures. Canada has a low rate of natural population growth which results in low rates of labour force and economic growth. Low economic growth makes it difficult for Canada to raise the taxes it needs to support social spending on services such as education, health care, and other important areas that provide high living standards in the country.
As a result, Canada has been increasing its immigration levels since the late 1980s to increase its rate of population, labour force, and economic growth. Canada now depends on immigration for the majority of its population and labour force growth and a larger share of its economic growth.
Consider that Canada will have 9 million baby boomers reach the retirement age of 65 by the year 2030. This means that Canada will have fewer workers at a time when its social spending on health care will rise. To alleviate this challenge, Canada has been proactive by gradually raising its immigration targets for over 30 years now.
Canada has regularly welcomed over 200,000 immigrants per year since 1988. In recent years, it has decided to increase its levels to well over 400,000 per year. Canada's immigration rate now stands at nearly 1.2 per cent. In other words, Canada welcomes three times more immigrants on a per capita basis than then the United States of America.
Based on its demographic realities and its immigration trends, it appears likely that Canada will continue to gradually increase its immigration levels over the foreseeable future. Immigration will remain critical to supporting a healthy economy and fiscal situation in the country.
Moreover, a strong argument can be made that immigration's importance has increased due to the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 has weakened the Canadian economy in the short run and increased government spending on social services. In addition, Canada's birth rate fell to its lowest level ever of 1.47 children per woman in 2019. Given the low birth rate prior to the pandemic, and the chance the pandemic will reduce the birth rate even further due to economic uncertainty, Canada will become even more dependent on immigration for its population growth in the coming years. If Canada's birth rate remains low, then immigration will comprise an even larger share of labour force growth in the decades to come. Finally, Canada will need to strengthen its tax base through immigration to support government spending following COVID-19.
Economic immigration, which is a major driver of Canada’s economic growth, accounts for more than half of planned admissions through the multi-year levels plan.
Nearly half of projected economic admissions will be through the federal Express Entry system programs:
- the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Program
- the Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC); and
- the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) also plays an important role in terms of economic immigration. This program allows participating Canadian provinces and territories to nominate eligible immigration candidates who match local workforce needs for permanent residence.
The following are immigration programs included in Canada's Multi-Year Immigration Levels Plan:
- Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Program:
This Express Entry-managed program is for immigrants with the requisite education, work experience, proficiency in English and/or French and other skills need to establish themselves economically in Canada.
- Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC):
The Express Entry-managed Federal Skilled Trades Class is for foreign workers with qualifications in a skilled trade.
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC):
The Canadian Experience Class is managed by the Express Entry system and welcomes expressions of interest from foreign workers with Canadian work experience or recent graduates of Canadian educational institutions working in Canada.
- Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP):
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot allows designated Atlantic employers to recruit and hire foreign skilled workers or international graduates in the Atlantic Canada region (Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick).
- Caregivers Program:
Canada allows eligible foreigners caring for children and people with high medical needs the opportunity to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
- Federal Business (Start-Up Visa Program and Self-Employed Person):
Federal business class programs allow foreigners who meet eligibility requirements the chance to run new or pre-existing businesses in Canada.
- Provincial Nominee Program (PNP):
This program allows participating provinces and territories to nominate eligible economic immigration candidates for Canadian permanent residence.
- Quebec Skilled Worker Program and Quebec Business:
The province of Quebec runs its own immigration system outside the federal system. The Government of Quebec's planned levels for 2019 to 2021 have yet to be determined.
Family Class Programs
Refugees and Protected Persons, Humanitarian and other
- Protected Persons in Canada and Dependents Abroad
- Privately-Sponsored Refugees
- Blended Visa Office Referred
- Government-Assisted Refugees
Cohen Immigration Law is a leading Canadian immigration law firm with over 45 years of experience. Cohen Immigration Law is comprised of over 60 Canadian immigration lawyers, paralegals, and other professionals. We are dedicated to helping people achieve their Canadian immigration goals. We assist in areas including skilled worker and business immigration, family sponsorship, work permits, study permits, citizenship, and inadmissibility. CanadaVisa.com was founded in 1994 as the online presence of Cohen Immigration Law. CanadaVisa has since blossomed into the one of the world's most trusted resources on Canadian immigration. Please reach out for assistance. We're happy to help:
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