Immigration Levels Plan 2024-2026

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.


Summary of Canada's Immigration Levels Plan

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:


Immigration Class


Canada's Immigration Levels Plan 2024-2026


Immigrant Category 2024 2025 2026
Target Target Target
Overall Planned Permanent Resident Admissions 485,000 500,000 500,000
Economic Federal High Skilled 110,770 117,500 117,500
Federal Economic Public Policies
Federal Business 5,000 6,000 6,000
Economic Pilots: Caregivers 10,875 14,750 13,750
Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program 6,500 8,500 8,500
Provincial Nominee Program 110,000 120,000 120,000
Total Economic 281,135 301,250 301,250
Family Spouses, Partners and Children 82,000 84,000 84,000
Parents and Grandparents 32,000 34,000 34,000
Total Family 114,000 118,000 118,000
Refugees and Protected Persons Protected Persons in Canada and Dependents Abroad 27,000 29,000 29,000
Resettled Refugees - Government-Assisted 21,115 15,250 15,250
Resettled Refugees - Privately Sponsored 27,750 28,250 28,250
Resettled Refugees - Blended Visa Office-Referred 250 250 250
Total Refugees and Protected Persons 76,115 72,750 72,750
Humanitarian and Other Total Humanitarian & Compassionate and Other 13,750 8,000 8,000
Francophone Permanent Resident Immigration outside of Quebec 26,100 31,500 36,000


Why Canada Needs Immigrants

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.


Overview of Canada's Immigration Programs

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:

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:


Economic Programs

  • 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