2023: A preview of Canadian immigration
The most recent census revealed that immigrants now make up their largest-ever share of Canada’s total population (23%), beating a record that had previously been set 100 years ago.
Heading into 2023, the Canadian government seems steadfast in its continued commitment to immigration and welcoming newcomers to this country. Canada hopes that heightened immigration will continue to help this country develop socially and economically, while also working to reunite families and assist vulnerable populations through Canada’s capacity for humanitarian aid.
Looking forward to 2023, the following is a general overview of what Canadian immigration may look like over the next calendar year.
Client Experience: Hope that IRCC application backlog continues to decrease
Since September 2022, the total application backlog at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has decreased steadily. According to data provided to CIC News, IRCC has decreased their backlog by 400,000.
Additionally, IRCC has received $85 million in additional funding to “reduce application inventories” and has, between March 2019 and November 2022, increased “front-line operations staff” by 2,521 employees. The hope remains that these factors will continue positively impacting IRCC’s service standards and application backlog in 2023.
Immigration Levels Plan Target for 2023
Canada has set a record-high immigration target within the Immigration Levels Plan for 2023, suggesting that IRCC believes it can manage the backlog while also welcoming a high number of newcomers.
By immigration category, the 2023 Immigration Levels Plan target (465,000) breaks down as follows.
Previewing 4 key Canadian immigration pathways
Provincial Nominee Programs in 2023
Towards the end of this year, we came to learn that the PNP is set to overtake Express Entry as Canada’s top immigration pathway. PNPs are crucial to helping Canada address specific labour market needs that are becoming more prominent across the country. Accordingly, 2023 is expected to see Canada welcome just under 23,000 more PNP immigrants than Express Entry candidates.
Express Entry in 2023
Further reinforcing Canada’s desire to address specific labour market needs and gaps, IRCC is expected to introduce ‘targeted’ Express Entry draws in 2023. These draws, instead of giving out Invitations to Apply (ITAs) based on a candidate’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, will target candidates who have specific occupational experience, language skills and/or educational backgrounds.
Parents and Grandparents Program in 2023
In 2023, Canada will remain committed to family reunification. This is evident in the popularity of Canada’s Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP). The PGP, combined with other immigration pathways such as the Super Visa, will look to welcome more than 28,000 newcomers next year according to Canada’s latest Immigration Levels Plan.
Note: No official details are yet available regarding the exact selection process IRCC will use for the PGP in 2023.
International Students in 2023
In October, IRCC announced an amendment to its off-campus work hours policy for international students in Canada.
From November 15, 2022, until the end of 2023, “international students who are in Canada and have off-campus work authorization on their study permit will be allowed to work over 20 hours per week off-campus while class is in session.”
Designed to help Canada better deal with labour shortages, as Canada faces “historic labour shortages and an unemployment rate which is low by historical standards”, this change will potentially allow over half of a million international students to work more hours while they attend their classes between now and the end of next year.
How will these developments impact Canada in 2023?
Immigration significantly benefits Canada’s population and labour force, which should continue in 2023.
For instance, the expected increase of newcomers to Canada through both PNPs and targeted Express Entry draws should allow Canada to relieve more of the pressure currently hindering the country’s labour market. As more capable skilled immigrants enter the country, especially those working in high-demand occupations, Canada will benefit economically through the natural cycle of spending that occurs when people are employed.
Additionally, temporarily lifting the off-campus work hours rule means more international students may come to Canada over time, as this move is expected to make Canada an even more attractive international student destination. Should this lead to more international students also staying in Canada after graduation, this work hours policy change will mean that more foreign students eventually contribute to the improvement of Canada’s economy and labour market (much like the Express Entry and PNP immigrants described above).
Accordingly, immigration in 2023 should provide many reasons for all Canadians to be more hopeful for a prosperous labour force and economic future in this country.