Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025
IRCC released Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan on November 1st, 2022 for the years 2023-2025. Canada aims to settle permanently a total of 465,000 in 2023, 485,000 in 2024 and 500,000 in 2025. In Canadian immigration history, this is the first commitment set by IRCC to welcome half a million permanent residents in one year. If we compare with the Immigration Levels of 2022-2024, we notice an increase by 33,355, 40,000 and 49,000, permanent residents respectively. Canada’s intent remains to retain international students and temporary foreign workers to cope with the aging workforce and expected retirees in the coming years.
These targets are optimistic to say the least! While we have witnessed a reduction in processing times for permanent resident applications post-covid, the federally high skilled programs (Federal Skilled Worker-FSW, Federal Skilled Trades-FST and Canadian Experience Class-CEC) are nowhere near the average six (6) month processing times. For example, as of November 3, 2022, the FSW processing time is estimated to be 22 months, while the CEC is increasing and sits at 19 months. Also, the Provincial Nominee Programs (outside of Express Entry) are still spanning an average of almost 2 years before being finalized.
The immigration backlog did not slow down, and this projected commitment will not help the case. It is key to note that in 2021, there were over 415,000 temporary residents with work permit who will be eligible to apply for permanent residency in 2023. In addition, there were approximately 446,000 study permit holders in 2021. Since many are enrolled in two (2) year programs, they will be eligible to apply for economic immigration by 2024. The spots are scarce and limited under the projected federally high skilled programs and PNPs that will maintain the processing time at high level.
It would be interesting to witness how IRCC will manage their projections. Maybe it is best for IRCC to entice new immigration officers with competitive salaries that will increase interest in the profession and follow up with hiring and training a large number of officers to meet their goals.
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