Canada Surpasses Target Welcomes 471,550 New Permanent Residents in 2023

Canada Surpasses Target: Welcomes 471,550 New Permanent Residents in 2023

Recently, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that Canada has surpassed its target for welcoming new permanent residents in 2023. The backlog data indicates that a total of 471,550 individuals were granted permanent residency last year.

Exceeding the Immigration Levels Plan Target

The number of new permanent residents welcomed in 2023 surpasses the target outlined in the Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025, which aimed to welcome 465,000 individuals as permanent residents. IRCC considered candidates from various programs, including the Express Entry programs, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), and their accompanying family members.

Finalized Temporary Residence Applications

Additionally, IRCC published figures detailing the final decisions made on temporary residence applications. Especially, the department concluded processing 1,646,300 work permit applications, including extensions, reflecting an increase of 503,330 over the previous year. This encompasses applications from both the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the International Mobility Program.

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In terms of study permits, IRCC finalized 1,089,600 applications, including extensions, marking a significant increase of 171,700 compared to the previous year’s figure of 917,900.

Furthermore, the data reveals that 293,000 newcomers obtained Canadian citizenship between April 1 and December 31, 2023, representing an increase of 13,900 over the same period in 2022.

Immigration Levels Plan and Future Projections

The robust number of new permanent residents welcomed in 2023 indicates that IRCC is on track to achieve its target of welcoming 485,000 individuals as permanent residents in 2024. Looking ahead, IRCC plans to welcome 500,000 new permanent residents in both 2025 and 2026.

IRCC annually releases the Immigration Levels Plan for the upcoming three years, setting targets for permanent resident admissions to Canada. Notably, this plan does not encompass targets for temporary residents, such as those on work or study permits.

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Introduction of Study Permit Caps and Processing Limits

Despite the absence of a cap on the number of permanent residents admitted to Canada, IRCC introduced a cap on the issuance of study permits in 2024. The department announced its intention to issue 360,000 new study permits, with no cap imposed on permit renewals or new permits for graduate-level students.

Moreover, on February 1, IRCC published ministerial instructions indicating a limit on the number of study permit applications processed to 606,250.

Current Backlog Status and Mitigation Efforts

As of December 31, 2023, IRCC reported a total of 2,221,100 applications in its inventory, with 949,500 applications classified as backlog. The department is mandated to process 80% of immigration applications within service standards, which vary depending on the application type.

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Efforts to reduce the backlog include prioritizing the processing of work permit applications for healthcare and agriculture workers and implementing Canada’s tech talent strategy to expedite processing for foreign workers in high-demand tech occupations. Additionally, the introduction of online portals for certain permanent residence applications, as well as online application status trackers, has facilitated faster processing.

Furthermore, IRCC has launched an online process for citizenship applications for individuals over 18 years old, allowing applicants to complete citizenship tests online and participate in virtual citizenship ceremonies.

As Canada continues to manage its immigration processes and address backlog challenges, IRCC remains committed to ensuring the efficient processing of applications and welcoming individuals to contribute to the country’s diverse and thriving society.

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