ICC Immigration Dashboard: Driving Skilled Immigration


By Adiba Hasan

Canada remains on track to welcome 465,000 new permanent residents in 2023, having already hit 47% of its target by May. While April saw a temporary dip in the number of PRs admitted (likely related to the Public Service Alliance of Canada strike action), May saw a resurgence with 45,825 new permanent residents welcomed into the country.

Debates on immigration levels have bubbled to the surface in recent weeks, particularly in relation to its impact on housing affordability. The political significance of this debate was made all the more evident in the recent cabinet reshuffle as Minister Sean Fraser — the Minster responsible for setting current immigration levels — was moved from IRCC to Housing Infrastructure and Communities. With the introduction of Marc Miller (former Minister of Indigenous Services) as Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the debate continues over how to balance immigration levels with adequate housing supply for a growing population. In particular, with labour shortages afoot, who will build the housing required to accommodate this growth? As Canada adapts its immigration categories and embraces new selection methods, the ICC Citizenship and Immigration Dashboard serves as a reliable resource, keeping the public informed about the latest trends in immigration.

January – May Actual: 220,810

Invitation to Apply: 2023

In May 2023, the former Minister of IRCC, the Honorable Sean Fraser, introduced a category-based selection approach to prioritize skilled immigrants in specific areas of need in Canada. The new categories established as part of this strategy are the following:

  • French-language proficiency
  • Healthcare occupations
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) occupations
  • Trade occupations
  • Transport occupations
  • Agriculture and agri-food occupations

The first call to apply for PR as part of the new immigration pathways under Express Entry focused on admitting immigrants with experience in the trades, STEM occupations, and French language proficiency. This year, IRCC pledged to welcome 82,880 immigrants under the Express Entry system and already issued 73,448 Invitations to Apply (ITAs).

The highest draws were from the general express entry pool without any specific category, accounting for 56,400 ITAs. The rest of the categories make up 23% of the total ITAs issued in 2023, 6,900 ITAs for French Proficiency, 3,300 ITAs for Foreign Skilled Worker Program, 2,648 ITAs for Provincial nominees, 2,000 ITAs for Healthcare, 1,500 ITAs for Trades, and 500 ITAs for STEM.

As we wait for the Prime Minister to issue his mandate letter for the new cabinet, Minister Marc Miller has expressed that to address the shortage of skilled trades workers, it is imperative to be focusing on the new Trades category. In the coming months, close attention will be paid to how this immigration category impacts Canadian labour demand.

PR Admissions per Province: May

As Canada progresses towards its PR admissions target, provinces have experienced uneven trends.

Quebec saw a decline in PRs admitted since the beginning of the year. The province admitted 5,995 PRs in January, but as the year progressed, the province saw a drop in April, admitting 3,310 PRs. In May, Quebec admitted 3,555 PRs, but as the province toughened its immigration policies to make French language proficiency mandatory for almost all economic immigrants, it is yet to be seen how the numbers of PRs admitted are affected. However, economists indicate that the province will see labour shortages as companies will find it difficult to attract international talent partly due to the strong emphasis on French across permanent and temporary immigration streams.

The Atlantic Provinces started the year on a high note, but Newfoundland and PEI have since seen a fall in PR admissions. In January 2023, Newfoundland admitted 1,085 PRs, and PEI admitted 640 PRs. Fast forward to April, these provinces admitted 405 PRs and 300 PRs, respectively. As they strive for economic growth and development, attracting and retaining skilled immigrants becomes crucial.

Given the prevailing debates around immigration and housing across Canada, the introduction and prioritization of new categories for Express Entry raise interesting and significant questions: can category-based selection actually deliver against the labour shortages being experienced in the trades, STEM and healthcare sectors? Does Quebec’s new approach to francophone immigration pose risks to the province’s social and cultural cohesion, particularly amongst those outside of the francophone community? Our goal is to foster meaningful discussions about immigration and citizenship in Canada – share your thoughts with us!

Take a look at our immigration dashboard for the latest numbers on PR admissions and new citizens.

You can learn more about the ICC here. Join the conversation and be part of building a more inclusive Canada.

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