Three Canadian flags blowing in the wind in front of Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

The government of Canada has set an ambitious target in its 2016 Immigration Levels Plan, aiming to welcome up to 305,000 new permanent residents over the course of this year across a range of economic, family, and refugee/humanitarian immigration categories.

This is the first time in many years where a Canadian government has set a target of 300,000 or greater.

While Canada is opening its doors even wider to immigrants, with plans for more refugees and improved family reunification times, the overall target number for economic immigration categories has seen a slight decrease from the 2015 plan. However, economic immigration remains by far the largest category in terms of the number of newcomers targeted.

“We will be able to welcome more people to Canada,” said Canada's Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, John McCallum, on Tuesday morning.

McCallum said a bill tabled in Parliament calls for between 280,000 and 305,000 permanent residents to be allowed into Canada in 2016, including more refugees from war-torn Syria. Calling it the country’s highest targeted number of new immigrants to Canada in modern times, McCallum said the government’s goal is to “bring in immigrants who wish to build a better Canada."

The plan supports family reunification, reductions in application processing times, responds to economic needs, and allows the government to meet humanitarian objectives. The plan is supposed to be tabled each November, but the one for 2016 was delayed by the general election and change of government around that time last year.

Canada's 2016 Immigration Levels Plan

CategoryImmigration Program2016 Admission Range2016 Admission Target2015 Admission RangePercentage change, 2015 to 2016**

Economic Programs

Federal Economic - High Skilled* 54,000–59,000 58,400 See note below* See note below*
Federal Economic - Caregivers 20,000–22,000 22,000 26,000–30,000 -26.67%
Federal Economic - Business 500–900 800 1,000–1,700 -47.06%
Provincial Nominee Program 46,000–48,000 47,800 46,000–48,000 No change
Quebec Skilled Worker Program 25,500–27,000 26,200 26,000–27,000 No change
Quebec Business 5,200–5,500 5,400 5,000–5,500 No change
Total Admission Range for 2016 Economic Programs: 151,200–162,400
Percentage of overall: 53.24%

Family Class Programs

  
Spouses, Partners and Dependent Children 57,000–62,000 60,000 45,000–48,000  +29.17
Parents and Grandparents 18,000–20,000 20,000 18,000–20,000  No change
Total Admission Range for 2016 Family Class Programs: 75,000–82,000
Percentage of overall: 26.88%

Refugees, Protected Persons, Humanitarian

 

Government-Assisted Refugees 24,000–25,000 24,600 5,800–6,500 +284.61%
Privately-Sponsored Refugees 15,000–18,000 17,800 4,500–6,500 +176.92
Blended Visa Office Referred 2,000–3,000 2,400 700–1,000 +200%
Protected Persons in Canada and Dependents Abroad 10,000–11,000 11,000 10,000–11,000 No change
Humanitarian and Other 2,800–3,600 3,600 3,000–4,000 -10%
Total Admission Range for 2016 Refugees, Protected Persons, and Humanitarian Programs: 53,800–60,600
Percentage of overall: 19.87%
Total Admission Range for all immigration categories in 2016 Immigration Levels Plan: 280,000–305,000

*The 2016 plan did not provide a distinct figure for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), as the 2015 plan did. Further, the 2015 plan also included the Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC) under the banner of Federal Skilled Worker (FSW). At the time of writing, it is believed that the above figure includes FSW, CEC and FSTC. In that event, between the three programs there is a decrease of 20.27% from 2015 to 2016.

**All calculations were made using the higher number provided within the admission range for both 2015 and 2016.