Canada Express Entry and PNP targets to rise over the next three years

Canada Express Entry and PNP targets to rise over the next three years

Surya Rathee Surya Rathee
[Published 07 Nov, 2023 | 04:46 AM]
About Author - 4 min read

The steady rise of admission targets in Canada’s two largest economic immigration programs - can be seen in the recently announced Canada Immigration Levels Plan 2024-2026. 

Each year, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) releases a new Immigration Levels Plan which it uses to guide its operations. The new & improved Canada Immigration Levels Plan for 2024-2026 will act as a guide for the number of immigrants to be welcomed over the coming three years across all immigration classes: Economic, Family, and Refugee.

With this year’s levels plan, IRCC has reinforced that Canada’s economic immigration programs will continue to lead the country’s growth efforts with respect to permanent residence. A majority of new Canada PR holders are expected to be invited under Express Entry and the 11 Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).

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Canada PR Admission from 2024 to 2026

Back in November 2022, when Canada released its Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025, it was seen that PNP admission targets had exceeded Express Entry targets as the top economic immigration pathway.

Last year, 11 PNPs across Canada invited 83,500 new permanent residents in Canada. The 2023-2025 plan also showed that IRCC’s PNP targets were projected to increase to 105,000 in 2023. Then, targets for 2024 and 2025 were set at 110,000 and 117,500, respectively.

According to the latest Canada Immigration Levels Plan 2024-2026 released on November 01, 2023, Express Entry is set to regain the top spot among economic immigration pathways in Canada. But, this is only expected to be the case in 2024. As per the current admission targets, Canada PNPs are projected to be the top economic immigration pathways for 2025 and 2026.

Immigration Class 2024 2025 2026
Express Entry (Federal High Skilled) 110,770 117,500 117,500
Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) 110,000 120,000 120,000
Total 220,700 237,500 237,500

Express Entry

Launched in 2015, the Express Entry System is Canada’s primary economic immigration pathway that manages applications from three specific Canada PR programs - the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

Canada now operates three types of Express Entry invitation rounds:

1. General rounds of invitations

In general rounds of invitations, IRCC invites the highest-ranking candidates in the pool who are eligible for 1 of the 3 programs managed through Express Entry.

2. Program-specific rounds of invitations

In program-specific rounds of invitations, IRCC invites highest-ranking candidates who are eligible for a specific Express Entry program linked with a Provincial Nominee Program.

3. Category-based rounds of invitations

For Category-Based Selection for Express Entry draws, Sean Fraser, Canada’s Immigration Minister, establishes a category to meet a specific economic goal. IRCC then invites the highest-ranking candidates in the pool who are eligible for the targeted category.

Here are the six categories IRCC has chosen to prioritize through category-based draws in 2023:

  • French-language proficiency
  • Healthcare occupations
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) occupations
  • Trade occupations
  • Transport occupations
  • Agriculture and Agri-food occupations

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Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) on the other hand give local governments at the provincial and territorial level the ability to select specific immigration candidates - that are best suited to help their region’s specific local labor market and economic challenges.

Each province or territory has its own PNP with its own eligibility criteria. If you meet the eligibility criteria for a PNP, you can apply for it, and if you are selected, you will receive a provincial nomination that will improve your chances of getting Canada PR under federal immigration programs.


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