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Express Entry, PNPs set to drive immigration to Canada over next 3 years

From now on Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program and the high-skilled economic immigration programs will be managed by Canada’s Express Entry system. Over the next three years it set to play increasingly vital roles in Canada’s immigration strategy.

The combined admissions targets for these popular immigration programs are slated to reach 160,100 new permanent residents in 2021 under Canada’s new immigration levels plan released last week — an increase of 23 per cent over their combined 2018 targets of 129,900. Together the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skilled Trades Class and the Canadian Experience Class — and Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) will account for 44 per cent of the 1.3 million new permanent residents that Canada is planning to welcome between 2018 and 2021.

Year Federal High Skilled Targets Provincial Nominee Program Targets Combined total
2018 74,900 55,800 129,900
2019 81,400 61,000 142,400
2020 85,800 67,800 153,600
2021 88,800 71,300 160,100


Canada’s Express Entry system is the main driver of economic immigration to the country. Candidates are ranked in the pool based on points awarded for human capital factors including education, work experience, age and proficiency in English or French. The highest-ranked candidates are invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence through regular draws from the pool.


Federal High Skilled admissions

Targets for the three Federal High Skilled programs are slated to increase by 18.5 per cent between 2018 and 2021 under the new multi-year levels plan, from 74,900 to 88,800 admissions. More immediately, Federal High Skilled admissions targets are set for a year-over-year growth of 6,500 in 2019, to 81,400.

The target for the Express Entry-managed programs will then increase to 85,800 in 2020 and finally 88,800 in 2021. For the current year, IRCC data for the first eight months of 2018 show just over 56,000 admissions to Canada under the three Federal High Skilled categories by the end of August, leaving Canada four months to reach its annual target of 74,900 for this category.

PNP admissions

Canada’s PNPs are also set to continue the growth they’ve experienced in recent years. The admissions target for Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program, which is set at 55,000 for 2018, will grow by 29 per cent over the next three years. In 2019, the PNP admissions target is set at 61,000, an increase of 5,000 over 2018. For 2020 and 2021, IRCC is planning to raise the number of PNP admissions to 67,800 and 71,300, respectively.

According to IRCC, 34 per cent of economic immigrants in 2017 had destinations outside Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, compared to just 10 per cent in 1997. IRCC attributed this trend to the strength of Canada’s PNP programs, which it says have grown “exponentially” since the PNP’s implementation in 1996. IRCC data for the first eight months of 2018 show 45,595 new admissions through PNPs in 2018, leaving it less than 10,000 away from its annual target of 55,000 with four months still to go in the year.