Nov 06 2020

Immigration Levels Plan Announced Emphasizing Economic Recovery through Immigration


At a Glance

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced the 2021 to 2023 Immigration Levels Plan which aims to increase immigration targets in order to help the Canadian economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Specific details of the plan include:

  • Increasing overall immigration admissions over the next three years, including 60% of admissions coming from the Economic Class of the permanent residence program;
  • Accelerating the digitization of immigration processes;
  • Granting additional points to French speaking individuals in the permanent residence process; and
  • Providing additional pathways to permanent residence for asylees and refugees.

The situation

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced the 2021 to 2023 Immigration Levels Plan which aims to increase immigration targets.

A closer look



  • Approximately 1% of the population of Canada (including 401,000 permanent residents in 2021; 411,00 in 2022; and 421,000 in 2023) can settle in Canada per the plan.
  • The Economic Class of the permanent residence program will comprise 60% of admissions. This class includes federal skilled workers, entrepreneurs and investors, among others.

The increase in admissions will allow for labor gaps to be filled by qualified foreign nationals and will open the door for foreign nationals to start businesses in Canada, contributing to economic recovery.


Continued emphasis on digitization of the immigration system to support immigration operations.

  • Online systems accelerate immigration processes by granting faster decisions and reducing in-person appearance requirements.
  • The continued digitization of immigration processes should allow for better sharing of information across government agencies involved in immigration decisions, including the Canada Border Services Agency, Employment and Social Development Canada and the Canadian Royal Mounted Police.

French language requirements

Additional points for French-speaking Express Entry applicants.

The government is seeking to grow French-speaking communities outside of Quebec in order to further promote the role of French culture across the country.

Refugees and asylees

  • Admission of up to 500 refugees over the next two years through the Economic Mobility Pathways Project, which helps qualified refugees apply for permanent residence.
  • Pathway to permanent residence for eligible asylum seekers who provided direct care to patients in health-care institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic from March 13 to August 14, 2020.
  • Qualified refugees and asylees will contribute to addressing labor gaps in the Canadian workforce.
  • Healthcare workers have been an in-demand population during the COVID-19 pandemic, and by providing eligible asylees who had worked in this field a pathway to permanent residence, it is likely that this population will remain in Canada. 



  • Covid-19 pandemic impact. Since far fewer foreign nationals were able to immigrate to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic than would have been expected in a regular year, the country did not reach its immigration targets. The previous plan set targets of 351,000 in 2021 and 361,000 in 2022.
  • Immigration Levels Plans.  The government is required to report an Immigration Levels Plan to Parliament each year, which sets targets and ranges for overall admissions to Canada as well as individual immigration categories.
  • Quebec immigration levels. Under the Canada-Quebec Accord, Quebec establishes its own immigration levels independent of those set by the federal government; its Immigration Plan for 2021 will also increase admission by 7,000 entrants over the next year due to the deferment of admissions during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is is line with the past trend of the conflicting goals of the Quebec government versus the federal goals.


Looking ahead

Canada, like most other countries across the world, will continue to adjust its immigration policies due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new Immigration Levels Plans shows the government’s ongoing commitment to encourage immigration into Canada based on its belief that immigration benefits the national economy.

For up-to-date information on COVID-19-related travel bans, restrictions and concessions, among other information, check Fragomen’s dedicated website

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 [email protected].