The Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration (FMRI) has held its midterm meeting in Halifax, providing an update on Canada’s top immigration priorities. The FMRI consists of federal, provincial, and territorial ministers responsible for immigration, who come together to discuss Canada’s immigration system’s effectiveness in meeting economic and regional needs. At the last meeting, the ministers aimed to increase provincial/territorial (PT) involvement in the selection process, expand the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), and Express Entry modernization. They also aimed to provide timely multi-year allocations before March 31st, 2023.
Plan for Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) Covering Multiple Years
At the latest meeting, the ministers discussed positive support for immigration in Canada and how they have built on objectives outlined the previous summer. They endorsed the first-ever multi-year PNP and Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) plan, which will allow provinces and territories to outline immigrant admissions and settlement in advance. This plan includes a 44% growth in PNP allocations for 2023. The challenges of securing affordable housing for new immigrants were recognized by the ministers who emphasized the need for nationwide settlement services.
The ministers are also seeking to enhance the process of obtaining an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) or foreign credential recognition (FCR) by collaborating more with stakeholders such as labor ministers, employers, and chambers of commerce. Obtaining an FCR quickly is a crucial step for newcomers to practice their profession at their full potential.
The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is a significant component of Canada’s shared jurisdiction over immigration. Each province, with the exception of Quebec and Nunavut, operates its own PNP through which candidates for permanent residency (PR) can indicate a preference to work and live in a specific province. The provincial government may offer them a provincial nomination if it believes the candidate can easily integrate into the workforce and support the provincial economy. The IRCC has the final say in how many candidates are invited to apply for PR under a PNP, and each year under the Immigration Levels Plan, IRCC outlines the national PNP admissions target.
In the meeting last summer, PT ministers advocated for higher allocations due to labor shortages and a desire to have more control over the economic immigrants who settle and their ability to close their labor force gaps. The Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025 shows that PNP admissions will continue to outpace federal high-skilled (Express Entry) admissions into 2025.
Provincial Immigration Results March 4-10
The provinces and territories routinely hold immigration draws. This week, British Columbia, Ontario, and Manitoba held PNP draws, while Quebec had a draw under its own system. British Columbia invited 276 candidates through the BC PNP, including tech occupations, and entry-level, and semi-skilled candidates. Ontario held two draws under the Express Entry Human Capital Priorities stream, targeting healthcare and tech occupations, respectively. Manitoba invited 576 candidates across three categories, including Skilled Worker occupations under National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 major.