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Canada Announces Immigration Levels for 2022–2024

The figures are in! Canada just unveiled its Immigration Levels Plan for the years 2022–2024. Between 2022 and 2024, the Canadian government plans to welcome around 430,000 new immigrants every year, the biggest number in the country’s history and over 1% of the country’s total population.

The immigration goals of Canada are to assist refugees, reunite families, and enhance the economy. We’ll look at the Immigration Levels Plan today, as well as the provincial and territorial immigration paths.

Summary of Canada’s Immigration Level Plans

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) publishes a new Immigration Levels Plan every year to guide its operations. Canada will aim for the following number of new immigrant landings between 2022 and 2024:

  • 2022: 431,645 permanent residents
  • 2023: 447,055 permanent residents
  • 2024: 451,000 permanent residents

Why Canada Needs New Immigrants

In order to develop its economy, Canada welcomes a large influx of immigrants. Canada not only has one of the oldest populations in the world, but it also has one of the lowest birth rates. This imbalance puts fiscal and economic pressure on the government. Canada has been raising immigration levels since the late 1980s to meet the pressures produced by a lower birth rate and an aging population. This has helped to boost the country’s economy, population, and labor force. For the majority of its population and economic growth, Canada now relies on immigration.

What This Means For International Students

The new Immigration Levels Plan in Canada is fantastic news for overseas students seeking permanent residency in Canada. International students in Canada may be eligible for a work permit after graduation (PGWP). While PGWP holders are allowed to work in Canada for a limited time, this does not guarantee permanent residency. International students who want to stay in Canada permanently must apply for immigration. Express Entry is one option, while others may be eligible for the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Because of the high numbers specified under the Immigration Levels Plan, overseas students have a better chance of obtaining permanent residency through these numerous routes.

Immigrant Categories

Below we’ll break down the planned permanent resident admissions by each of the four immigrant categories.


  • Federal Highly Skilled
  • Federal Economic Public Policies
  • Federal Business 
  • Economic Pilots and Caregivers
  • Atlantic Immigration Program
  • Provincial Nominee Program
  • Quebec Skilled Workers and Business


  • Spouses, Partners, and Children
  • Parents and GrandparentS


  • Protected Person in Canada and Dependents Abroad
  • Resettled Refugees – Government-Assisted
  • Resettled Refugees – Privately Sponsored
  • Resettled Refugees – Blended Visa Office-Referred


  • Humanitarian & Compassionate and Other 

Provincial and Territorial Immigration Pathways

Below we’ll explore in more detail what immigration pathways are available by province and territory.

Alberta (AB)

The Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) nominates individuals for permanent residence who can fill key job shortages or plan to buy or start a business in Alberta. There are four main streams:

British Columbia (BC)

The BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) is a pathway for experienced entrepreneurs or skilled foreign workers to move to the province as permanent residents. 

Newcomers can apply for the BC PNP through one of three streams:

Manitoba (MB)

As students are likely to qualify for the IES category, these are the pathways in this stream: 


New Brunswick (NB)

There are three immigration programs specific to New Brunswick:

Newfoundland and Labrador (NL)

The Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Nominee Program (NLPNP) assists skilled newcomers by nominating individuals for permanent residency. Six streams of the NLPNP fit various candidates’ skills:

Northwest Territories (NT)

The Northwest Territories Nomination Program (NTNP) expedites immigration for students, entrepreneurs, and skilled workers who can fill essential positions that can’t be filled locally. It has two streams:

Nova Scotia (NS)

The Nova Scotia Provincial Nominee Program (NSNP) accelerates immigration for students, entrepreneurs, and skilled workers who can fill important positions in Nova Scotia. These include:

Nunavut (NU)

Nunavut doesn’t have an immigration nomination program. However, interested students can apply through federal programs. Newcomers may apply for federal programs through two streams:

Ontario (ON)

The Ontario Provincial Nominee Program (OINP) supports Ontario’s economy by nominating skilled international workers for immigration. These include:


Prince Edward Island (PEI)

The PEI Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) expedites the immigration process for students, entrepreneurs, and skilled workers coming to PEI. It has three streams:

Quebec (QC)

Quebec’s immigration programs accelerate the immigration process for newcomers while helping to address the province’s employment needs:

Saskatchewan (SK)

The Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) speeds up the immigration process for students, entrepreneurs, and skilled workers who can fill essential openings in Saskatchewan’s economy. Multiple programs are available:

Yukon (YT)

Yukon works with the Canadian Government to nominate foreign skilled workers for accelerated permanent residency through the Yukon Nominee Program. Employers must advertise a job locally, and if the opening isn’t filled, the employer can then offer it to an eligible foreign national. Newcomers can’t immigrate through the YNP without receiving a job offer first. There are three YNP streams:

The YNP also runs a Business Nominee Program.

Consider studying abroad in Canada to expand your opportunities while helping to strengthen the country’s economy and labor force. 

How to extend your temporary status in Canada

Here are a few options for visitors, international students, and temporary foreign workers who want to stay in Canada longer and extend your temporary status in Canada.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provides a number of options for temporary residents to remain in Canada and extend their temporary status in Canada while awaiting a decision on the permanent or temporary residence.

Maintaining status, for example, means that temporary residents who apply for new temporary status do not have to leave Canada if their documents expire before IRCC makes a decision. Students, visitors, and temporary foreign workers with maintained status can stay in Canada under the same conditions as their previous permit until they hear back about their new application.

Temporary residents applying for permanent residency who are nearing the end of the validity period of their documents may be eligible for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP).

While some temporary residency permits are eligible for extension, certain programs like the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) are not renewable nor extendable, but that does not necessarily mean these workers cannot be eligible for a different work permit.

Although it is an option for many, applying for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) in Canada is not usually desirable because it does not allow you to work or study. Those on a TRV may also be eligible to apply for a Visitor Record, which allows them to stay for more than six months but does not allow them to work or study. In some cases, people who are eligible to be exempt from work permits may be able to stay. This article discusses possible places to stay for people who may benefit from the following:

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Work Permits

Canadian work permits are split into two broad categories, those that require a positive or neutral Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), and those that are LMIA exempt.

An LMIA is intended to show the Canadian government that there is a genuine need for a foreign worker to fill a vacancy. The LMIA process must be completed by the employer, not the employee. When Employment and Development Services Canada (EDSC) issues a positive or neutral LMIA to the employer, the employer provides a copy of the confirmation letter to the worker. The worker then applies to IRCC for a work permit.

In order to address established labour shortages, some work permit programmes provide facilitated LMIA processes. For example, the Global Talent Stream (GTS) allows employers of eligible tech occupations to bypass the LMIA’s advertising requirement, reducing processing time. The processing time for GTS work permits is two weeks. Furthermore, the province of Quebec has its own list of occupations that allows for streamlined LMIA processing.

The majority of temporary foreign workers have work permits that are not subject to the LMIA. More than 315,000 LMIA-exempt work permits were issued in 2021, nearly three times the number of work permits supported by an LMIA. To hire through an LMIA-exempt work permit programme, Canadian employers who post a job that matches an LMIA exemption code must pay a compliance fee and submit an offer of employment through IRCC’s employer portal.

From the government’s perspective, the purpose of LMIA-exempt work permits is to support Canadian interests. The most common LMIA-exempt work permits fall into the categories of significant benefit and reciprocal employment. A “significant benefit” is defined in Canada as a foreign national whose work will benefit Canadians socially, culturally, or economically. Reciprocal employment occurs when Canada has an agreement with another country that allows for the cross-border exchange of workers. The impact on the labour market is considered neutral because foreign workers can have similar opportunities in Canada as Canadian workers can have abroad.

Open work permits, which allow holders to work anywhere in Canada for any employer, are included in the LMIA-exempt category. Work permits issued under CUSMA, CETA, or other free trade agreements with Canada are also included. The same holds true for work permits obtained through the International Experience Canada (IEC) programme. The IEC provides opportunities for youth from specific countries who want to gain Canadian experience.

Study Permits

Obtaining a study permit can allow you to stay in Canada if it makes sense for your career and financial situation. You will also have the option of working part-time during the academic year and full-time during scheduled breaks.

To obtain a study permit, you must first be accepted into a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). You can then use your acceptance letter to apply for a study permit in Canada.

After you complete your program, you may be eligible to stay in Canada under the PGWP (if you have never had one before). In addition, you will be eligible for pathways to permanent residence designed specifically for international student graduates who want to extend Temporary status in Canada. 

Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

For international student graduates who have completed a post-secondary program at an eligible Designated Learning Institution, the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) may be an option to stay in Canada (DLI). It is an open work permit, which means it does not bind the holder to a specific employer or occupation.

Study programs that are longer than eight months but less than two years in length may be eligible for a PGWP that corresponds to the length of their program. International students who have completed two-year or longer programs may be eligible for a three-year PGWP.

Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)

Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) allows certain permanent residency applicants to stay in Canada after their temporary status expires.

A BOWP is available for the following immigration programs:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • Canadian Experience Class
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program
  • Provincial Nominee Program
  • Quebec Skilled Workers
  • Agri-Food Pilot Program

Since September 2021, foreign workers who may be eligible for the CEC have so far not gotten the chance to apply for permanent residence. Without an Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) from IRCC, they cannot get a BOWP. However, they may be able to apply for other work permits depending on their circumstances.

Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP)

Spousal sponsorship may be an option if your spouse or common-law partner is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. If you apply for sponsorship from within Canada, you are considered an in-land applicant, and you may be eligible for a Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP), which is designed specifically for spouses and common-law partners of Canadians who are in the immigration process. 

Spouses of temporary residents may be able to obtain an open work permit as well. Temporary foreign workers must meet certain eligibility criteria, such as having a work permit that is valid for six months after receiving an open spousal work permit, among other things. The foreign worker must also meet one of four requirements:

  • working in a National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill level of 0, A, or B;
  • working in any occupation when accepted to an Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) stream;
  • working in any occupation holding a provincial or territorial nomination from the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP); or
  • working in any occupation and holding a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ).

There are additional program-specific criteria that must be met depending on the situation of the temporary foreign worker.

Spouses of international students may be able to obtain an open work permit if they can demonstrate to the government that they are in a genuine relationship and that their spouse is enrolled in an eligible programme.

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Canada COVID 19 border measures are now in effect

As of February 28, travellers may enter Canada with an antigen test and other COVID-19 procedures in place.

Canada is enabling passengers to enter the country with a pre-arrival antigen test as of February 28 at 12:01 a.m for COVID 19.

Previously, travelers had to take a molecular test, such as a PCR test, within 72 hours before their scheduled flight or border crossing.

Before crossing the border into Canada, all travelers aged five and above must take the COVID-19 test. Incoming travelers will be able to provide an antigen test result taken within one day of their scheduled flight or arrival at the land border under the new rules. The test can’t be done at home; it has to be done by a laboratory, healthcare organization, or telemedicine service, and it has to be approved by the country where it was acquired. The use of PCR testing is still permitted. For pre-arrival PCR tests, no new rules have been implemented.

Unvaccinated children would no longer have to isolate for 14 days, and international flights would resume at all airports, in addition to the abolition of the PCR test requirement.

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If you've recovered from COVID-19, read on.

Travelers who test positive for COVID-19 after recovering are allowed to board a plane, but only under certain circumstances. As part of the pre-arrival test requirements, you must give a positive COVID-19 molecular test on a specimen acquired at least 10 days and no more than 180 days prior to entering Canada.


All travelers must still use ArriveCAN to provide their necessary information. Prior to arrival in Canada, visitors can submit their evidence of vaccination in English or French, as well as a quarantine plan, using either the desktop or mobile app.

Travellers who are not fully vaccinated

Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travelers must quarantine for 14 days in an appropriate location and perform an obligatory COVID-19 test on arrival and on day 8.

Fully-vaccinated travelers

Fully-vaccinated travelers do not need to quarantine upon arriving in Canada, provided they meet the following criteria:

  • meet pre-entry testing requirements;
  • have no symptoms;
  • submit all required COVID-19 information to ArriveCAN and present their ArriveCAN receipt, pre-departure test results,  paper or digital
  • proof of vaccination documents before they board their flight to Canada;
  • have a suitable quarantine plan in case they don’t qualify for the exemption.

Mandatory random tests upon arrival

Border services officers may randomly select you for a mandatory arrival test.

If you are fully vaccinated and are randomly selected for an obligatory arrival test, you must do it on the day you enter Canada as ordered. The test may be administered at the airport, or officials may provide you with a self-swab kit to complete within 24 hours after entering the country.

You do not have to wait for the results if you are randomly selected for the on-arrival test. You are not need to quarantine while awaiting your results, and you are free to fly to your final destination and connect planes.

You can expedite the procedure by enrolling in advance with the testing provider for the airport where you will arrive using the same email address you used for ArriveCAN, according to the Canadian government.

As COVID cases decline, Canada will relax travel requirements

Canada will ease entry for fully vaccinated international travelers beginning Feb. 28 as COVID-19 cases decline. Allowing a rapid antigen test for travelers rather than a molecular one, officials said on Tuesday.

Antigen tests are less expensive than molecular tests in Canada and can provide results in minutes.

The new measures, which include random testing for vaccinated visitors entering Canada, were announced at a briefing by federal government ministers.


“These changes are possible not only because we have passed Omicron’s peak, but also because Canadians across the country have listened to science and experts,” Duclos told reporters.

According to the health ministry, approximately 80% of Canadians are fully vaccinated, and more than 40% have received a booster dose.

The global travel advisory for Canadians is being updated as well. Previously, the government advised citizens to avoid all non-essential travel, but now it only advises them to exercise caution.

“Though today’s announcement brings us one step closer to where our industry needs to be,” the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable industry group said in a statement. “However, by requiring pre-departure rapid antigen tests, the government missed an opportunity to align with other international jurisdictions that have removed pre-departure test requirements for fully vaccinated travelers.”

“Today’s news by the federal government is a step forward both for travelers, our business, and the Canadian economy, which relies on commerce and tourism,” said Suzanne Acton-Gervais, interim president of the National Airlines Council of Canada.

As coronavirus infection rates decline, several jurisdictions, including Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec, and Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, have announced a relaxation of restrictions imposed during the epidemic.

On Monday, Ontario announced that it will accelerate its plan to eliminate proof-of-vaccination requirements and ease pandemic-related capacity constraints for many enterprises, while Alberta, in the west, ended its mask requirements for schoolchildren.

For weeks, protesters have been blocking border crossings and paralyzing Ottawa’s downtown, demanding that governments lift pandemic restrictions. To pacify them, provincial premiers have refused relaxing restrictions, claiming that the limitations are no longer necessary to contain COVID-19.

Canada New Immigration Policy 2022

Canada's new Immigration policy aims to fill labour shortages and boost the Canadian economy.

Canada’s Immigration system has contributed to the development of Canada as the prosperous, varied, and friendly country it is today. Newcomers enrich and improve our communities by working to create jobs, care for our loved ones, and support local businesses on a daily basis. They’ve been on the front lines of the pandemic, working in critical industries like health care, transportation, and manufacturing. Canada would not have been able to overcome obstacles in vital industries and sectors of the economy in the last two years if it hadn’t been for them. Immigrants are more important than ever before in ensuring Canada’s continued success.

The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, today tabled the 2022-2024 Immigration Levels Plan, which lays out an ambitious but responsible immigration strategy that will help the Canada’s economy recover and fuel post-pandemic growth, all while strengthening communities and industries that rely on immigration across the country.

The pandemic has brought attention to the contributions of newcomers to the well-being of our communities and the economy as a whole. Last year, Canada welcomed almost 405,000 new permanent residents, the highest number ever in a single year. Despite the fact that many of the jobs lost during the epidemic have been recovered, there are still hundreds of thousands of open opportunities in all sectors. With 5 million Canadians expected to retire by the end of the decade, the worker-to-retiree ratio will plummet to just 3:1. This is a clear indication that additional immigration is required for economic reasons.

The 2022–2024 Immigration Levels Plan aims to continue welcoming immigrants at a rate of about 1% of Canada’s population, including 431,645 permanent residents in 2022, 447,055 in 2023, and 451,000 in 2024, to ensure Canada has the workers it needs to fill critical labour market gaps and support a strong economy in the future. This plan builds on the previous levels plan by putting a greater emphasis on assisting our economic recovery and post-pandemic growth.

To help support these higher levels, the Government of Canada recently announced a plan to modernise Canada’s immigration system in order to boost economic recovery and improve client experience, which will aid in addressing key challenges faced by our clients, such as reducing inventories and providing the predictable processing times that they expect and deserve.

This strategy will aid in attracting and retaining newcomers in areas facing severe economic, labour, and demographic issues. It will also boost Francophone immigration outside of Quebec, while also assisting newcomers in settling in and building Francophone communities across the country. We’re aiming for 4.4 percent of French-speaking immigrants outside of Quebec by 2023 as part of our Francophone Immigration Strategy.

The following are some of the plan's highlights:

  • By 2024, admissions will account for 1.14 percent of the Canadian population.
    With over 60% of admissions in the Economic Class, there is a long-term concentration on economic growth.
  • Special measures for giving permanent residency to refugee claimants working in health care during the pandemic, such as the special procedures for awarding permanent residence to refugee claimants working in health care during the epidemic.
  • Support for global crises by offering a safe haven for people fleeing persecution through humanitarian immigration.
  • Temporary residents accepted through the time-limited paths for vital employees, which began in April 2021, will be granted permanent status, allowing them to stay in Canada.

This approach also emphasises the importance of family reunification and aids in the preservation of the 12-month processing norm for spouses and children.

Canada is sticking to its worldwide humanitarian commitments, including a pledge to resettle at least 40,000 Afghans over the next two years. As a result of these efforts, more than 7,550 Afghan refugees today call Canada home. We are utilising all possible options to facilitate safe passage for people in Afghanistan by collaborating with regional partners.

The Immigration Levels Plan for 2022–2024 will help Canada maintain its position as one of the world’s top talent destinations, laying a solid basis for post-pandemic economic growth while reconnecting families with their loved ones and fulfilling Canada’s humanitarian obligations.

“Immigration has helped shape Canada into the country it is today. From farming and fishing to manufacturing, healthcare and the transportation sector, Canada relies on immigrants. We are focused on economic recovery, and immigration is the key to getting there. Setting bold new immigration targets, as outlined in the 2022-2024 Levels Plan, will further help bring the immeasurable contribution of immigrants to our communities and across all sectors of the economy.”

The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of IRCC
Canada requires international students more than ever

In the 2019-2020 academic year, international students made up 18 percent of Canada’s post-secondary enrollment, up seven percentage points from 2015-2016. 1 This data illustrates that international student enrollment has continued to be critical to Canada’s post-secondary education’s expansion and success. Improved access to global education helps Canada and the globe become stronger and more successful.

According to a new study from Ontario’s auditor general, domestic student enrollment at Ontario’s colleges has decreased by 15% during 2012-2013. 2 However, the most recent data from Statistics Canada shows that Ontario is not alone in this tendency. This new data set sheds light on the numbers behind many of the international studies patterns we’ve seen around the country.

Total Enrollment in Canada

The overall number of domestic students enrolled in Canadian post-secondary schools fell by 1% in 2019-2020, after hovering around 1.8 million for several years. At the same time, approximately 388,000 overseas students enrolled in Canadian universities and colleges, indicating a 14 percent increase year over year. Over the five-year period, the rapid growth of international student enrolment has captured a bigger percentage of Canada’s total enrollment.


In 2019-2020, there were 159,000 more international students enrolled in Canadian post-secondary schools than in 2015-2016, a 70 percent increase. From 2016-2017 through 2019-2020, year-over-year growth in international student enrollment topped 10% each year. As domestic student enrollment dwindled, this growth was critical to the success of Canada’s post-secondary industry. It also demonstrates Canada’s international strength in attracting and educating students from all around the world.

Enrollment in Canada, Province by Province

The stacked bar charts below indicate which provinces increasingly relied on international student enrollment to keep their post-secondary schools growing from 2015-2016 to 2019-2020.

Enrollment at the University Level

International student enrollment at universities increased by 40% from 2015-2016 to 2019-2020. During this time, domestic university enrollment remained steady, growing by less than 1%. The following graph compares the total percentage of foreign and domestic student enrollment at university level by province from 2015-2016 to 2019-2020.

Enrollment at the College Level

In comparison to universities, colleges in Canada have seen more fluctuation in international and domestic student enrollment. The chart below compares the total percentage of foreign and domestic student enrollment at the college level by province from 2015-2016 to 2019-2020.

Travelling to canada mandatory vaccine

International students must be fully vaccinated to enter Canada from January15 2022.

From January 15, 2022, Travel to Canada cautiously.  Travelers must be completely vaccinated to enter Canada, according to the Canadian government. This decision affects overseas students visiting Canada as well as people who were previously allowed to enter the country without having had all of their vaccinations.

Changes to testing and quarantine exemptions for certain passengers entering Canada, regardless of citizenship, will also be made, according to the government. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreigners are currently only permitted to enter Canada if they meet certain criteria.


Travelling to Canada: What international students should know

International students visiting Canada should get the full series of immunizations or a combination of vaccines that the Canadian government recognises. At least 14 days before entering the country, the final dose must be given. The following vaccines are currently licenced in Canada:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty
  • Moderna Spikevax
  • AstraZeneca Vaxzevria/COVISHIELD
  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson
  • Bharat Biotech Covaxin
  • Sinopharm BIBP
  • Sinovac/CoronaVac/PiCoVacc

Fully vaccinated travelers must also meet all other entry requirements, which include being asymptomatic upon arrival, possessing a paper or digital copy of their proof of vaccination in English or French (or a certified translation), and having an acceptable quarantine plan, if necessary.

International students with a valid study permit or who had been approved for a study permit on or before March 18, 2020; and international students attending a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) that had obtained prior approval from the provincial government of its response plan to control the spread of COVID-19 were previously allowed to travel to Canada.

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