Over the last several years, Canada has been a world leader when it comes to immigration, particularly concerning the country’s open-door policies for welcoming newcomers. Between 2015 and 2016, Canada’s provinces accepted a record number of foreign nationals, which totaled more than 320,000 in new arrivals. According to Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC), these numbers will remain at Canada’s objective of accepting 300,000 immigrants for the year 2017 and serve as “the baseline for admissions going forward,” Hussen further added.
This projection, Hussen assured, would not fall below 300,000 despite the government’s uncertainty of immigration levels for the following year. It was also noted by Hussen that Canada’s admission aims for 2017 had substantially increased economic immigration from the previous year’s figures and considered “a reflection of [Canada’s] commitment to the idea that immigration continues to be a key ingredient to [Canada’s] economic future as a country.”
The IRCC commitment to accepting more newcomers goes hand in hand with the Canadian government’s desire to attract more candidates for obtaining permanent residency (PR) in Canada as well as creating a more simple path to Canadian citizenship. At a conference held earlier this month, Hussen emphasized that he and the IRCC department wanted “more permanent residents—in fact, we want all permanent residents, if possible—to become Canadians.”
Key elements of IRCC’s plans to attract newcomers to Canada include the introduction of new immigration programs such as the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project (AIPP) launched in early 2017 and opening new immigration streams for international graduate students in the province of Ontario. Canada has also made recent changes to the federal Express Entry system as a means to keep admission of foreign nationals at a consistent level and help new arrivals better integrate into Canada’s local communities and labor markets.
In addition, Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), which focus on business investment immigration, have proven to play an increasingly important role in maintaining economic stability throughout Canada’s provinces. Between 2015 and 2016, IRCC trends for issuing an Invitation to Apply (ITA) to Provincial Nominee streams had doubled in a single year, with the largest amount totaling 4,259 invitations issued in the final quarter of 2016.
In the last few years, Provincial Nominee Programs have gained more traction among business-minded men and women seeking entry to Canada through investment opportunities. Unlike the newly re-opened Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP), which requires candidates to make a passive investment into the economy, Provincial Nominee Programs require qualified business owners, entrepreneurs, and senior managers to have direct involvement in Canadian businesses that are established or purchased.
Although requirements and application processes for Provincial Nominee Program streams vary from province to province, they align with IRCC’s endeavor to enhance the Canadian economy by attracting foreign innovation and skill to the country’s business sectors. Statistics provided by IRCC indicate that successful applications for Provincial Nominee Programs increased by nearly 10,000 between 2015 and 2016, particularly in the provinces of Manitoba, British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, and will continue to gain momentum throughout 2017.
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