Virginia, US

Nov 08 2018

Immigration Levels Plan for 2019-2021 Announced


The situation

The multi-year Canadian immigration levels plan sets the target levels for increased immigration to Canada from 2019 through 2021.

A closer look

Details of the immigration levels plan are as follows:

  • Immigrant numbers. Canada will welcome the following number of permanent residents each year:
    • 2019: 330,800 foreign nationals
    • 2020: 341,000 foreign nationals
    • 2021: 350,00 foreign nationals

  • Allocations. The target for immigration levels will be allocated as follows: 58 percent under the economic class, which includes skilled workers applying under the Express Entry and Provincial Nominee Programs among others; 26 percent under the family class; and 16 percent for refugees.

  • Rationale. The government believes that immigrants will help spur innovation and support the domestic labour market while helping to address the demographic realities of an aging workforce. The target levels for family and refugee classes support Canada’s commitment to family reunification and international humanitarianism.

Impact for employers

Higher immigration levels for permanent residents and a focus on economic immigrants helps to secure a skilled worker force in Canada that will support the increased hiring of foreign nationals by Canadian employers.

Impact for foreign nationals

As target levels for immigrants increase, the Express Entry system is expected to invite more applicants. Fragomen anticipates some increase in the allocation given to Provincial Nominee Programs by the federal government. 


Canada sets annual target levels for permanent residents and further breaks down the target into categories based on application type and other factors. 

Similarly to Canada, some countries use their quota to increase employment-based immigration. For example, the Romanian government is planning to ease immigration eligibility requirements by eliminating a national quota and labor market testing requirements.

On the other hand, other countries are significantly restricting immigration levels. For example, many countries in the Middle East recently lowered the allowable number of foreign nationals in certain sectors, specifically through Saudi Arabia’s Nitaqat Program and Oman’s Omanization program.

Looking ahead

The change to a three-year plan for immigration levels shows the Canadian government’s ongoing focus on the need to encourage immigration into Canada, and the role that immigration plays in economic and other planning. Fragomen expects to continue to see longer term planning with respect to this critical topic in Canada.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to