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Canada Immigration Statistics Facts

The Canadian organization responsible for immigration in Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, compiles many interesting facts and figures for your perusal.

Canada is sometimes known as the Land of Immigration because of the very large numbers of immigrants who come to the country every year.

Canadians and the Canadian government are very supportive of the influx of foreign residents as migration is seen as being beneficial to the economic and cultural health of the country.Canada Statistics

Canada is, of course, one of the most multicultural countries in the world and is quite proud of that fact.

Below we have some facts about immigration in Canada. The source for all of these statistics is Citizenship and Immigration itself. All figures are for the year 2012. Statistics for 2013 have not been released yet as the year is not over.

  • 65,008 immigrants were granted Permanent Residency based on a family application. This class of immigrant files for entry into Canada with the sponsorship of a Permanent Resident or Citizen relative that already lives in the country.
  • A whopping 160,819 immigrants entered Canada on an economic type permanent Resident Card. As was mentioned previously, immigrants contribute to the health of the economy. These immigrants filed for entry into Canada by being sponsored by a job already in the Country.
  • 23,094refugees were accepted into Canada and given Permanent Residency to protect them against persecution in other countries.
  • Overall, 257,887 people were granted Permanent Residency in Canada in 2012. An interesting fact to add here is that this number is higher than the yearly average over the past 20 years! Canada really does take in a lot of immigrants!

A good question to ask here is where, exactly, are all of these immigrants coming from? That can be answered easily enough:

  • People from Asia and the Pacific contribute the highest number immigrants compared to any other continent at 129,592. They are also the highest contributors to the family and work category of immigrant visas.
  • People from Africa and the Middle East contribute the most to the total number of refugees accepted into Canada in 2012 at 9,967.
  • However, there were quite a few refugees from all of the other continents. Asia and the Pacific had 5,539. South and Central America (including Mexico) contributed 1,945 refugees. The United States had 1,041. Europe contributed 4,567 refugees in 2012.

For a bonus fact: Canada allows its students to transfer their temporary resident status to Permanent Resident Status. In 2012 1,359 students became Permanent Residents and continued their lives in the Land of Immigrants: Canada!

News for June 21, 2013

World Refugee Day

Canada celebrated World Refugee Day on June 20th by celebrating their very successful and helpful resettlement programs.

As a democracy with a reputation for helping people in need and accepting very large numbers of immigrants every year, Canada resettles very large numbers of refugees from all over the world.

Refugees are people who, because of persecution in their home countries, must flee to be able to preserve their lives or lifestyles. Refugees in Canada who successfully apply for refugee status are given Permanent Residency, the right to live and work in the country with very little restriction.

After a period of time, Permanent Residents of Canada, including refugees can apply for citizenship in the “Land of Immigrants.”

Here are some statistics regarding Canada’s resettlement programs:

  • Canada has resettled nearly 16,000 refugees
  • Canada plans to resettle 20,000 Iraqis by 2015 and they are on-track to do so
  • By 2018, Canada will resettle almost 5,000 refugees who are currently in Turkey, but originally hail from Iran or Iraq
  • 6,500 Bhutanese refugees in Nepal will be resettled by 2015
  • Canada is investing $5 million a year on streetlights, lanterns and stoves in Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

This newest iteration of the humanitarian asylum system has been in place since December 15, 2013.

Removal of Foreign Criminals Act

On June 20, 2013 The Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act was passed by Parliament and given royal assent. This means that this particular bit of legislation is now in effect.

The new legislation does three things:

  • Makes it easier to deport foreign criminals currently in Canada,
  • Make it much more difficult for criminals looking to enter Canada to do so.
  • Make it easier for non-criminal visitors and immigrants to come to Canada.
  • A ministerial authority which can refuse the entry of certain visitors in unusual circumstances.

The new legislation has received quite a few accolades as it aims to reduce potential problems in Canada with unlawful immigrants and potentially criminal activities.


Service Canada

Many government services offered in Canada can be accessed through Service Canada.

There are also many immigration services that Service Canada provides.

ImmigrationService Canada

Briefly, Service Canada provides a few limited services for immigration. Most things involving immigration are handled through Citizenship and Immigration Canada, a separate department.

Service Canada has a citizenship program, an immigration loan program, a permanent residency program, a right of permanent residence fee loan program and other, less popular, services for newcomers.

For more information, please visit our blog about the subject.

Useful Information

Did you know that Service Canada has a lot of helpful tips and hints that can make your life easier?

Particularly, Service Canada has a section on their website called “Life Events” which can help you deal with the everyday concerns of life with greater ease and success.

Find hints on subjects such as:

  • Being a caregiver
  • Changing your address
  • Finding a job
  • Handling a death
  • Getting married or (hopefully not) divorced
  • Having a child
  • What to do when you lose your wallet
  • Managing your credit card debt
  • Starting your very own business in Canada
  • Getting started with higher education
  • Planning for your retirement

Employment Insurance

Most countries have some form of compensating the recently unemployed. In some places it is called, simply, unemployment, and in Canada it is called Employment Insurance, or more commonly, EI.

Employment Insurance is paid out to people who are able to meet certain requirements set forth by the department.

Service Canada allows Canadian residents to do a variety of things on their site:

  • Apply for Employment Insurance
  • Filing Employment Insurance reports
  • And learning about how Employment Insurance


As a resident in Canada you will be required to pay Canadian taxes. You can learn more about paying these taxes and maintaining your records through Service Canada.

Old Age Security

Older retirees without a pension plan are eligible for Old Age Security and they can sign up for that program on Service Canada.

Canada Pension Plan

Planning for one’s retirement is an important thing to consider while working. Residents can work on getting a pension to be able to pay for things after they retire.

Job Bank

Residents can access Service Canada’s Job Bank to see any jobs that have been posted by employers all over Canada

Can I Apply for Immigration Online

Applying for immigration benefits to Canada can be easily done online.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada is an organization very concerned with making the immigration process easier for potential residents.

It is estimated that the influx of immigrants improves a variety of attributes in a society including economic strength, intellectual freshness, cultural understanding and innovation in all fields. Online Application

As a result of this innate desire to be helpful, there are many immigration applications and forms that can be filled out online.

Many applications have been made available online, but there are still quite a few that can only be filed by mail. As Citizenship and Immigration Canada improves its services more applications may be able to be filed online.

Temporary Visas

Temporary Visas are granted to people who wish to come into Canada for short periods of time. These people are typically:

  • Students
  • Seasonal workers
  • Tourists
  • Vacationers
  • Family members of Canadian residents.

Each type of person generally has a different visa type to apply for. It is rare for these visas to last any more than a couple years in extreme cases. Student visas are an exception. Students can continually renew their visas until they are done with school.

Work permits, Study permits, visitor visas and visit extensions may be filed online.

Some of the above visa types even allow the visitor to switch their status later and become a Permanent Resident (see below).

Permanent Residence (Immigration Visas)

Permanent Residency is a Canadian immigration status that allows a person to live and work within Canada for as long as they please.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada does not accept online applications, however, third-party online businesses can help immigrants file for their Permanent Resident Cards.

There are many different ways to get Permanent Residency, including:

  • Through a family member such as parent, spouse or sibling
  • Through work, whether it be a professional position or a tradesperson position
  • Asylum, where a person can apply for residency if they would suffer from persecution if they were forced to go to their country of origin
  • Education, where when a person completes their education in Canada they can then apply for permanent residency in some cases
  • Or, through investment. People with the capital to make a large investment in the Canadian economy can sometimes apply for Permanent Residency through that

A Permanent Resident Card is the document that accompanies Permanent Resident Status and should be renewed every ten years when it expires.


Citizenship applications are currently not available online at Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Third-party businesses do have these forms available.

Citizenship applications can only be applied for if a person is able to meet all of the requirements.

General Immigration Documents

Other immigration documents such as:

  • Confirmation of Landing
  • Proof of Citizenship
  • And Confirmation of Permanent Residence

Cannot be applied for using the CIC’s online services and must be applied for through mail or in-person.

Solving Canada Immigration Problems

Applying for immigration benefits can be a difficult process even with all the help one can get.

This brief guide is designed to help people make sure that their immigration processes go as smoothly as possible.

Often times, problems that arise during immigration applications are the same problems that many people experience. Because of this, there is a great deal of communal information that can help people who have become stuck in their process.

Initial Application

There are several things that applicants must make sure of when they first file their applications for immigration or citizenship. Think of this list as something of a checklist where all points must be addressed before the application package is sent out:

  • Is the application entirely filled out and complete?
  • Has the filing fee been paid and the receipt included in the package?
  • Are all related documents included in the package?
  • Are all documents translated (if the originals are in a language other than French or English)?
  • Is the application package addressed to the proper office?

All of these questions have to be answered affirmatively to make sure that one’s application is accepted.

If an application is denied it will be sent back to the applicant for revision which could, potentially stall the entire process further.

For time sensitive applications (such as student visas, work visas or Permanent Resident Cards) this delay can be very inconvenient and could result in the denial of benefits and other dire consequences.

Visa Interviews

For a visa to be issued, Citizenship and Immigration Canada typically requests that the applicant come in to an office for an interview. There are a number of things that one can do to ensure that the interview is a success.

  • Dress for success. The general rule is that you should come to the interview as you would dress for your job. If you work for a company that requires a uniform, then slacks, a belt and a decent shirt should do.
  • Bring supporting documentation. During the application you will submit copies of your relevant documents. When you go to the interview you should bring all of the originals in case the case worker wants to see them. Be careful when travelling with important documents as fraudsters have been known to steal these documents to create false identities.
  • Punctuality. Being on-time for a meeting or appointment is considered a sign of respect and responsibility in Western culture. In fact, if at all possible it is a good idea to be a few minutes early. If you are late, you may have to schedule another appointment.

The Citizenship Interview

The rules for the citizenship interview are very similar to the regular visa rules, but there are some additional steps that you can take to ensure that your appointment is a success.

  • Study beforehand. The immigration officer will examine your ability to read, write, and understand either English or French. Being practiced in the language should be relatively easy since you will encounter it regularly while you wait to become eligible for citizenship.
  • Get to know Canada. You will also have to complete a test which will examine your knowledge of Canadian history and government. It is a wise decision to spend some time reading up on Canada and perhaps taking a class or two at a local community centre.

Immigration for Same-Sex Partners

Immigration for gay couplesOverview

Canada is very clearly a multicultural state and it is extremely interested in maintaining its view of equality between all peoples.

This doesn’t just mean between people of different ethnicities, religions or nationalities, but can be extended to sexual orientation or gender identity.

In this way, same-sex partners are treated exactly the same and can apply for immigration to Canada in the same way as any other married couple would.

Granted, of course, the marriage was recognized in the jurisdiction in which it took place. Children of these families are also recognized and may be included on applications.

Different Ways to Apply

There are many ways to apply for immigration status in Canada. There are two general processes by which people immigrate:

  • Sponsorship through family. If one partner is already a Permanent Resident or citizen of Canada, they can then sponsor the immigration of their partner. Once the application is accepted, the partner and any children included on the application can enter Canada and apply for PR Cards.
  • Sponsorship through work. People can immigrate to Canada if they are able to get a job that will sponsor them. There are many resources in Canada that allow potential immigrants to communicate with employers and arrange for sponsorship.

Different kinds of work-based sponsorship include:

  • Canadian Experience Class where students in Canada can apply for Permanent Residency.
  • Federal Skilled Workers Program which is the more general work category.
  • Provincial immigration processes can also help immigrants come to Canada.

Refugee Status

Another pathway to Permanent Residency in Canada may be through refugee status.

Refugees may apply for asylum in Canada if they can show that they faced persecution in the place from which they came.

Persecution may be interpreted in a number of different ways. Canada has institutions specifically designed to address the applications of asylum seekers. Applicants who claim asylum will make their case with one of these organizations.

Because of the hostility that presents itself to many countries throughout the world to LGBTQ peoples, they may have more of a basis to apply for refuge than many other people who come from democratic or developed nations.

The Permanent Resident Card

A Permanent Resident Card, otherwise known as a PR Card is the document that proves that an immigrant has Permanent Resident Status. This document is useful for a number of reasons:

  • It can be used as identification
  • Social services through the Canadian government can be obtained with a PR Card
  • It serves as a work permit
  • You can travel abroad and use the PR Card as proof that you can return to Canada

Becoming a Citizen

After a period of time as a Permanent Resident in Canada, many immigrants decide to become citizens.

Among the requirements for citizenship is Permanent Residency. Applying for citizenship is significantly easier after maintaining active residency in Canada for about four years.

Immigration Statistics Canada

The newest generation of the Open Data Portal, the public statistics database of the Canadian Government, was release to much praise last week.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has some of the most popular datasets in the database and it’s all available to anyone curious enough to look into statistics about

  • Immigrants’ countries of origin
  • Preferred immigration programs
  • Settlement patterns
  • Application inventories and
  • Processing times.

There are also many other governmental statistics available through the Portal. This program is part of the Government of Canada’s efforts to be an open and transparent organization for its citizens and Permanent Residents.

Permanent Residence Applications

Below are some interesting statistics pertaining to applications for Permanent Residency filed abroad as well as the processing times involved in the filings.

Permanent Residency is an immigration classification which allows a person to live and work in Canada on an indefinite basis. There were 275,451 approved Permanent Residency applications in 2012.

Approval rates for Permanent Resident applications for the year 2012, select categories:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program – 55%
  • Business based immigration category – 87%
  • Live-in Caregivers program – 96%
  • Family class Permanent Residency – 86%
  • Refugees – 85%
  • The approval rate of all Permanent Residency applications was 78%

Approval rates for Permanent Resident applications for the year 2012, select regions:

  • Embassies in Africa and the Middle East – 80%
  • Embassies in Asia and the Pacific Ocean – 84%
  • Embassies in Europe – 65%
  • Embassies in North and South America – 86%

Processing Times

Processing times are a way of the Canadian government to give its immigrants an idea of how long it will take for a particular application to be reviewed and either rejected or granted.

Often, this statistic is represented in terms of a certain percentage completed within a certain number of months. These figures are not necessarily constant and are likely to change often. These processing times should be used as estimates and not hard-and-fast limits to how long one may wait for their immigration application to go through.

Indeed, the amount of time needed to do the necessary processing may take longer or shorter depending on the complexity or completeness of a particular application.

Processing times for Permanent Residency categories for 2012, select categories.

  • 80% of Federal Skilled Workers have their applications processed in 30 months.
  • 80% of Business based immigrants have their applications processed in 47 months.
  • 80% of Live-in Caregivers have their applications processed in 38 months.
  • 80% of Family based immigrants have their applications processed in 34 months.
  • 80% of Refugees have their applications processed in 33 months.
  • 80% of all Permanent Residency applicants have their applications processed in 32 months.

Moving to Canada to Work

If you’re looking to come to Canada to work you can fully immigrate if you are careful in your application process. By doing so you will be able to live and work in Canada on a more-or-less permanent basis. As long as you follow the immigration regulations you could even change jobs after a while and still be able to stay in Canada.

Filing for immigration benefits can prove to be a serious drag and will end up taking up a significant portion of your time. However, you can make the process much easier for yourself by reading up about the process as much as you can. Here, we have compiled a list of hints and tips that might help you in your efforts towards a work permit. Citizenship and Immigration Canada is the official voice in immigration matters and is an excellent reference for these matters.

Labor Market Opinions Work permit holder

Sometimes, in order for an employer to sponsor your immigration to Canada, they must first ask for a Labour Market Opinion from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. The Labour Market Opinion is effectively a document that says that there is a need for a foreign worker to come to Canada.

Some jobs do not require a Labour Market Opinion. You should talk to your employer to find out whether or not they will need to file for one.

Needed Documents

When you apply with the Canadian government for immigration you will need to provide two documents. You will need a letter stating that a Canadian company is offering you a job and the Labour Market Opinion form Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

What’s the difference between a Work Permit and a Work Visa

Work Visas are the full-immigration form of a Work Permit. A Work Visa is just another way of saying that you immigrated to Canada through a job and now you are living permanently within its borders.

Work Permits are much more temporary. A Work Permit will allow you to work within Canada for a while, but eventually you will either have to leave or change your status to something a little more permanent.

Processing Times

Processing times of any application can be hard to estimate. Generally, the CIC releases processing time schedules on their website. However, these times are highly variable depending on the load that the office may be handling, the complexity of your particular application and any difficulties that may arise during the examination process.

As of June 14, 2013 a strike at the CIC offices is currently delaying the process of immigration applications.


Protect Against Fraud

It is an unfortunate fact that immigrants are often the victims of fraud or other illegal activities, but with a certain degree of education anyone can avoid these awful pitfalls.

The CIC and Fraud CIC

Citizenship and Immigration Canada, under the direction of Minister Jason Kenney, takes immigration fraud very seriously and have enacted many deterrents over the years.

People who have been caught attempting to defraud the immigration department of the government will be placed into removal proceedings and most likely will be deported.

The CIC is not the only organization of Canada interested in enforcing the immigration laws of the country. The Canada Border Services Agency is largely responsible for enforcement duties.

It is very important to file your applications carefully to ensure that the CIC does not think you are trying to defraud the government.

Different Kinds of Fraud

There are a number of different categories of potential fraud that may occur:

  • Marriage Fraud is when a person from Canada marries a foreign resident with the intent of giving them immigrant status or citizenship. The couple then divorces and both have supposedly legal status in Canada. The Canadian resident may or may not be aware of this scheme and may believe that it is a legitimate marriage, though it is not. This is also called a marriage of convenience.
  • Forgeries are instances where people will submit fraudulent documents to Citizenship and Immigration Canada with the intent of making themselves look more desirable as an immigrant or to hide things that may make them ineligible. Forged documents are absolutely illegal and will result in removal from Canada.
  • Some predatory groups on the Internet will take advantage of immigrants’ experience and try to trick them into giving up information. They may contact a potential immigrant posing as the CIC and then ask for credit card information to be able to process an account. Do not accept communication from organizations other than CIC. The CIC will not ask you for your credit card information.

Reporting Fraud

Depending on what kind of fraud has occurred there you may have to contact different organizations. Below is a short list of organizations you should contact in case of immigration fraud:

  • General Immigration Fraud reporting: 1-888-502-9060.
  • You can also contact the CIC to report citizenship fraud through 1-888-242-2100.

Protecting yourself against Fraud

Here are some helpful hints to help you protect yourself against fraud:

  • Carefully read all relevant information in any immigration programs you may use, either with the CIC or another organization. There are plenty of valid and useful third party organizations, but you must examine them first.
  • Be wary of potentially unusual activities of people trying to immigrate to Canada. There are many “mail order bride” organizations that exist only to help people immigrate to Canada and take advantage of their sponsor.
  • Make sure that all of the documents you submit for your application are official before you include them in your application package.

Top Five Application Tips

Applying for immigration to Canada is a process. Unfortunately it is not as easy as simply calling up Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and asking for a Permanent Resident Card.

Fortunately, the CIC is very willing to help you in your efforts to immigrate to Canada properly. Below are some of the topics that immigrants tend to ask during the application process.

What you should do with questions that don’t apply to you. CIC Immigration tips

When filling out an immigration form you may notice that there are some questions that simply don’t apply to you. However, it is important that you try to answer these questions to the best of your ability and to not leave them blank. If any of the questions are left blank, the application will be returned to you, unprocessed.

If the question truly does not apply to your situation, be sure to write “N/A” (Not Applicable) in the space given to you.

Client IDs

Client IDs are numbers given to immigrants in the CIC’s system designed to keep track of them while they apply and after they have been granted status. You will not receive a unique client identifier until you have applied for immigration benefits at least once.

On all following applications you will be required to use your Client ID on your application. For those immigrants filing for the first time, please follow the guidance included in the above section, “What you should do with questions that don’t apply to you.”

How to submit additional documents

If you have already sent an immigration application, but you have realized that you forgot to include a document, you cannot, unfortunately resend the application. You will have to wait until you receive a notice from the CIC informing you that your application is short of information.

You should be notified fairly quickly because the CIC typically checks applications for completeness before processing.

Changing and reviewing application responses

As long as you have not yet submitted your immigration application (meaning that you are still working on it online) you can go back in your application and change your answers.

You won’t be able to use the back command in your browser to do so. Rather you will need to use the link called “Previously Answered Questions”. You can use this link to go back and modify your previous answers

Language guidelines

All supporting documentation to be included in your application package should be in either English or French. If the document is in another language, you can have the document translated by a qualified translator, but the original document must be included along with the translation and a certification that declares that the translator was accurate in his translation.