Backgrounder Article from  Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Key Highlights – 2016 Immigration Levels Plan

The 2016 annual immigration levels plan outlines a shift in immigration policy towards reuniting more families.

The plan will improve processing times and backlogs will go down across multiple immigration programs including those for: spouses; partners and children; and parents and grandparents – because the department will be able to welcome more people into Canada.

By the end of 2016, Canada will welcome between 280,000 and 305,000 (target 300,000) new permanent residents. This is a 7.4% increase in planned admissions over the 2015 levels plan.

Immigration Class2016 Levels Plan
2015 Levels Plan

Economic Total



Family Total



Refugee Total



Humanitarian Total






Reuniting more families

Reuniting families helps immigrants build successful lives in Canada. When families are reunited, it improves integration and economic outcomes for the immigrant while contributing to the development of Canada’s social, cultural and economic development.

The 2016 immigration levels plan is increasing admissions of sponsored spouses, partners and dependents to help reduce inventories and processing times, and is maintaining high immigration levels in the Parent and Grandparent Program.

IRCC is doubling the number of sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents that it will accept for processing to 10,000 a year. 20,000 admissions are planned under the Parent and Grandparent Program and by the end of 2016 it is expected that the backlog inventory will be reduced by approximately 15%.

Immigration ClassImmigration Program2016 Levels Plan

Spouses, Partners and Children (includes Public Policy)


Parents and Grandparents


Total admissions under the Family Class


Providing a place of refuge for those fleeing from persecution

The Government of Canada remains committed to upholding its humanitarian tradition to resettle refugees and offer protection to those in need. All Canadians play an important role by helping refugees integrate into Canadian society so they can build a successful life and contribute to Canada’s social, cultural and economic development. 

The 2016 annual immigration levels plan significantly increases admissions in the Refugees and Protected Persons class so that we can provide protection and welcome more people from around the world who are fleeing from war and persecution.

These increases will also allow the Government to complete its commitment to resettle Syrian refugees to Canada in 2016 and enable Canada to welcome higher numbers of refugees from other parts of the world with refugee populations such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, and Eritrea, as set through various existing multi-year refugee resettlement commitments. 

As a world leader in innovative refugee programs, IRCC has almost tripled admissions space for privately-sponsored refugees and government-assisted refugees, and has more than doubled the admissions space for the blended visa office-referred category.

Immigration ClassImmigration Program2016 Levels Plan
Refugees and Protected Persons

Protected Persons in Canada and Dependants Abroad


Resettled Refugees


Government-Assisted Refugees


Blended Visa Office Referred


Privately Sponsored Refugees


Total admissions under the Refugees and Protected Persons Class


Immigration ClassImmigration Program2016 Levels Plan

Humanitarian and Other

Total admissions under the Humanitarian and Other classFootnote 1


Building our economy

Immigration supports Canada’s long-term economic growth while building strong communities and improving our global competitiveness. The contributions that experienced foreign professionals and skilled workers make to our country and economy result in jobs, innovation, and growth in existing and new industries. 

The 2016 immigration levels plan continues to support Canada’s economic growth with significant admissions in economic immigration programs. The economic class will account for the majority of all immigration admissions in 2016, representing more than half of the overall total planned for the year.

The economic class includes the principal applicants as well as their spouses, partners and dependants in the following programs and streams: Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program and the Canadian Experience Class (collectively, the Federal Economic High Skilled programs) – since January 2015, all applications for these programs fall under the Express Entry application management system; Federal Economic Business programs; Quebec-selected Skilled Worker and Business programs (as set by the Government of Quebec); the Provincial Nominee Program; and the Caregiver Program.

Immigration ClassImmigration Program2016 Levels Plan

Federal Economic – High SkilledFootnote 2


Federal Economic – CaregiversFootnote 3


Federal Economic – BusinessFootnote 4


Provincial Nominee Program


Quebec Skilled Worker


Quebec Business


Total admissions under the Economic Class



Footnote 1

Includes admissions of persons selected on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, for reasons of public policy, and in the Permit Holder Class.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

Includes admissions in the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, and Canadian Experience Class. Admissions include applicants who applied prior to the launch of Express Entry on January 1st 2015 (i.e., applications on inventory), as well as those who made an application using Express Entry.

Levels targets and ranges have not been established for each individual program, as almost half of admissions in 2016 are expected to come from Express Entry. This approach reflects the new ways federal economic immigrants are selected under the Express Entry system. The Express Entry system determines which programs foreign nationals qualify for based on the information they provided and awards them points under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) for their ability to successfully enter the Canadian workforce (e.g. age, education, official language proficiency and work experience).

Return to footnote 2 referrer

Footnote 3

Includes admissions in all three streams of the Caregiver Program: the Live-in Caregiver Program, the High Medical Needs pathway, and the Caring for Children pathway.

Return to footnote 3 referrer

Footnote 4

Includes admissions in the Self-Employed Persons Program, Start-up Visa Program and Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Program. This category also includes admissions resulting from a small number of applications in the Federal Immigrant Investor and Entrepreneur Programs, which were cancelled in 2015.

Return to footnote 4 referrer

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