One of the most unique things about Canada is it reports some of the strongest levels of public support for immigration in the world. Since the early 1990s, public support for immigration in Canada has steadily increased. Today, some 80 per cent of Canadians agree that immigration is beneficial to the economy. The strong public support allows the Canadian government to target the arrival of over 400,000 new immigrants per year.

Public support for immigration in Canada is due to the following factors:


Canada has a history of immigration. British and French settlers joined Canada’s Indigenous peoples to build the country. Since Canada’s Confederation in 1867, it has welcomed millions of immigrants from all corners of the globe. Hence, other than Canada’s Indigenous peoples, all Canadians are immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. As the saying goes at the Canadian Museum of Immigration in Halifax, Nova Scotia, “A Canadian is an immigrant with seniority”.


Canada is able to exercise great control over who enters the country since it is surrounded by vast bodies of water and only shares its border with one country, the United States. The strong control allows Canada to screen people before they enter the country to make sure they meet Canada’s policy goals.


Canada invests billions of dollars each year in welcoming immigrants and providing them with settlement supports such as job training. In addition, Canada invests billions on education, health care, infrastructure, and other important areas to keep living standards high for Canadians and immigrants.


Canada’s largest cities and provinces have high levels of immigration. Politicians need support from immigrants in order to win democratic elections.

Skilled Worker Immigration Pathways

Under its Immigration Levels Plan, Canada aims to welcome over 400,000 immigrants every year. Some 60 per cent of these immigrants arrive as skilled workers. The main way skilled workers can immigrate to Canada is through the Express Entry application management system. The second main way is through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), followed by Quebec’s skilled worker programs, and then a few other targeted federal programs.

Skilled Workers Can Move to Canada with their Family

Skilled workers can also bring close family members with them to Canada. These family members also gain permanent resident status. 

Close family members include:

  • your spouse or common-law partner
  • dependent children
  • dependent children of your spouse or common-law partner
  • dependent children of dependent children

Dependent children are:

  • under 22 years old and not a spouse or common law partner
  • 22 years of age or older, depended significantly on financial support from their parents before the age of 22 and can not support themselves financially due to a physical or mental condition

Express Entry

Express Entry is Canada’s main way of managing skilled worker applications through the three main economic class immigration programs:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

Candidates receive a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on criteria such as their age, education, language skills, and work experience.

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

All provinces and territories, except for Quebec and Nunavut, has its own PNP. Each province determines its own criteria for choosing eligible candidates. PNPs operate Expression of Interest (EOI) systems, similar to Express Entry, and invite the highest scoring candidates in regular draws.

You do not need to have an Express Entry profile to apply. You can apply directly to a PNP stream. These are called ‘base’ streams.

Quebec Immigration

The province of Quebec has its own immigration system with its own selection criteria that is separate from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) programs and also separate from the PNP. Applicants who are selected to immigrate to Quebec are given a Quebec Selection Certificate, or Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ). This is a document that is issued by Quebec’s Immigration Ministry.

Atlantic Immigration Program

Atlantic Canada has its own immigration program called the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP). The AIP that allows employers to attract and retain foreign talent. Atlantic Canada includes four provinces:

  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Nova Scotia
  • Prince Edward Island

Other Federal Skilled Worker Programs

Additional targeted federal skilled worker programs exist that help certain immigration candidates gain permanent residence. The additional federal programs include:

  • Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP)
  • Agri-Food Immigration Pilot
  • Home Child Care Provider Pilot
  • Home Support Worker Pilot

Business Immigration

Business people have several options that may allow you to fast-track the Canadian immigration process.

For example, you may be able to immigrate to Canada through the Federal Start-Up Visa Program, or the Federal Self-Employed Persons Program.