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Canada Broke Immigration Record in 2023 with 471,550 New Permanent Residents

February 12th, 2024 at 01:23 am

Canada Broke Immigration Record in 2023 with 471,550 New Permanent Residents

According to newly disclosed figures from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Canada exceeded its projected quota for accepting permanent residents in 2023.
According to the most recent IRCC backlog data, the department admitted 471,550 new permanent residents in 2023, representing a significant rise from 437,600 in 2022.

This figure exceeds the Immigration Levels Plan 2023–2025’s target of admitting 465,000 permanent residents. The agency evaluated candidates from a variety of categories, including Express Entry and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), as well as their spouses, partners, and children.

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) also issued data on the finalization of temporary residence petitions, including approvals and denials.

Work Permits: A total of 1,646,300 work permit applications were finalized, including extensions, representing a 503,330 increase from 2022. These data include applications processed under both the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the International Mobility Program.

Study Permits: IRCC approved 1,089,600 study permits, including extensions, in 2023. This indicates a huge increase over the 917,900 final judgments made in 2022, with a 171,700 year-over-year difference.

Additionally, IRCC data shows that 293,000 foreigners earned Canadian citizenship between April 1 and December 31, 2023. This represents an increase of 13,900 over the same period in 2022, when 279,100 people obtained citizenship.

Immigration Level Plan

Last year, Canada sought to welcome 465,000 new permanent residents, primarily through economic programs like Express Entry and the Provincial Nominee Program. However, the country exceeded expectations by admitting nearly 471,550 new permanent residents.

Based on recently released preliminary data from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), we’ve assembled the most important observations into immigration to Canada in 2023.

The flood of new permanent residents in 2023 implies that IRCC is on track to meet its 485,000 target for 2024.


Looking ahead, IRCC plans to welcome 500,000 new permanent residents between 2025 and 2026.

Annually, IRCC publishes the Immigration Levels Plan for the next three years, which outlines targets for permanent resident admissions to Canada. Notably, this plan does not set targets for temporary residents, such as those with work or study visas.

The IRCC does not impose a cap on the number of permanent residents admitted to Canada or the processing of their applications. However, on January 22, the IRCC imposed a cap on the issuance of study visas for 2024. The government declared its intention to award only 360,000 new study licences, noting that there is no limit on permit renewals or new permits for graduate-level students.

On February 1, the agency issued ministerial orders limiting the number of study permit applications handled to 606,250.

Top provinces for Canadian immigrants.

Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario were the three provinces with the most new permanent residents (PRs) in 2023. Notably, Quebec’s ranking fell from second to fourth place among the provinces compared to 2022.

Top cities for Canadian immigration.

Toronto has emerged as the leading city for new Canadian permanent residents (PRs) in the last year, with around 135,865 people living in the city.

Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, and Edmonton followed Toronto in terms of new permanent inhabitants.

Express Entry

One of the most important immigration channels in Canada is called Express Entry, and it offers qualified workers the opportunity to acquire permanent status from Canada more quickly.

Express Entry is responsible for the management of applications for a wide range of programs, such as the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FST), and certain programs that fall under the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

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The previous year saw a total of 120,770 new permanent residents enrolling in the program through Express Entry. With about 43,290 people, the PNP had the most access points, followed by the CEC (41,865) and the FSW (35,500 with the same number of people). Only 110 individuals were granted permanent residency as a result of the FST.

Bear in mind that these statistics are still in the early stages and may undergo changes in the future. Once Canada has completed the publication of its Express Entry report for the year 2023, official numbers will be made public.

IRCC’s current backlog.

The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has a total of 2,221,100 applications in its portfolio as of December 31, 2023, with 949,500 of those applications being considered to be in the backlog.

Within the service standards, which are the department’s mandated processing times for applications, the Immigration and Refugee Commission (IRCC) is responsible for processing eighty percent of all immigration applications.

The service criteria are different for each type of application that is being handled. For instance, it is anticipated that your Express Entry application will be processed within a period of six months, whereas the processing time for your family-class sponsorship application could take up to a year.

The term “backlog” is used to refer to applications that outperform the service criteria that have been prescribed.

In the year 2022, the IRCC successfully processed more than 5.2 million applications from all operational domains.

1. Permanent residency.

Regarding permanent residency, IRCC has 702,000 applications in its inventory, with a 308,900 backlog. This means that 44% of all permanent residency applications currently in inventory have not been processed in accordance with the stated service criteria.

2. Temporary Residents

The data showed that there were 1,257,000 applications in inventory for work permits, student permits, and temporary resident (visitor) visas. Of them, 590,800 applications are classified as having a backlog.


Further investigation by the IRCC showed that 61% of visitor visa applications were backlogged as of December 31, 2023. In comparison, only 18% of study permit applications and 49% of work permit applications were pending.

3. Citizenship Applications

By December 2023, the total number of citizenship applications would have reached 262,100. In this inventory, 49,800 applications, or 19%, were identified as part of the backlog.

If you’re thinking about relocating to Canada but aren’t sure which program you qualify for, you may check your eligibility for free.





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