Canada Immigration 2017: Year In Review

Over the past year, Canada has seen an increase in immigration that will grow even more in 2018. Express Entry has continued to serve as a pathway to permanent residence, and immigration programs have evolved, many to ease to immigration process. See all the ways in which Canadian immigration has changed and been impacted in 2017 in our “year in review.”

Express Entry

This year, Express Entry offered more than double the invitations extended in 2016 at over 70,000. Draws in 2017 typically occurred twice a month, sporadically. While the lowest CRS score for each round typically stayed within the range of 413-468, there were outliers of 775, 673, 199, and 241. The number of invitations issued per draw ranged from 143 to 3,900, the majority ranging from 2,700 to 3,900.

Changes have been made to some provincial nominee programs, such as in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta, particularly involving the number of applicants accepted and under which streams. Quebec, which has its own version of Express Entry, plans to expand on the number of invitations it extends in the coming year to about 50,000 newcomers.

2018 Immigration Plan

In November of 2017, Canada set what has been regarded the “most ambitions plan” in recent history in terms of immigration. Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen announced not only a target of 310,000 individuals for 2018, but also 330,000 and 340,000 for 2019 and 2020, respectively. This increase will include economic migrants, family reunifications, and refugees, and some of the major goals are to fill the labour gap and ensure integration of immigrants and resource management. Hussen expects immigrants to account for one percent of the Canadian population by 2020.

Immigration Related Programs

Various immigration programs were changed, announced, and implemented over the past year that have served to create and alter opportunities for newcomers. Bill C-6, for example, amended the Citizenship Act and created changes in who qualifies for citizenship. One of these changes included eliminating the “intent to reside” requirement.

The Atlantic immigration pilot program was also introduced in March of 2017 with the goal of attracting immigrants to the provinces of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador. These Atlantic provinces have not had the same draw as cities like Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, but are in need of newcomers to fill their labour shortage. This program allows designated employers in these provinces to recruit immigrants and recent international graduates.

Canada also began offering a new passport option as of August 2017, in which an individual is no longer required to identify themselves as either male or female. They will be offered the choice of “X” as a gender neutral identification.

Summer 2017 also saw an influx of asylum seekers to Canada, prompting local authorities in Quebec to repurpose the old Olympic stadium in Montreal to welcome them. Though not a permanent shelter, the stadium has held up to 450 refugees at a time.

As of April 2017, the Canadian government also ended conditional permanent resident status for spouses and common law partners who are sponsored to Canada. This addressed concerns that sponsored individuals would stay in abusive relationships out of fear that, in ending such relationships, they would also lose their permanent resident status.

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