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Canada exceeded its immigration target in 2023—welcoming a new record number of permanent residents.

Canada had planned to admit 465,000 new permanent residents last year, the majority of which would come through economic pathways like Express Entry and the Provincial Nominee Program. Indeed, Canada exceeded expectations with nearly 471,550 new permanent residents admitted.

From the newly released preliminary data from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), we’ve gathered the most interesting tidbits of information on immigration to Canada in 2023.

You’ll find the top source countries of immigrants, top destination provinces and cities, and Express Entry stats.

These data inform policy makers, governments, and other stakeholders on migration trends as a result of existing policies and inform those of the future.

The following figures are from IRCC’s open data portal, which offers monthly preliminary data. Numbers are rounded to the nearest 5 for the privacy of newcomers.

Top provinces for Canadian immigrants

Ontario was once again the province that became home to the most new PRs in 2023, followed by British Columbia and Alberta. Compared to 2022, Quebec dropped from second to fourth place among the provinces.

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Provincial immigration by category

Canada classifies immigration into the broad categories of economic immigration, family immigration, refugees, and other. As set out in the Immigration Levels Plan, most immigrants came through economic streams.

The following table shows the distribution of immigrants by immigration class and province.

Immigrants by province and category

Provincial immigration numbers since 2015

It was a record-breaking year for Ontario with 206,720 new permanent residents admitted. BC came in second, up from third, and Alberta slid in to the top three. Conversely, Quebec slipped down the ranks from second to fourth place since 2022.

Immigration raised in all Atlantic provinces with the exception of Nova Scotia, which retained its first-place ranking for the four east coast provinces.

Immigration numbers went up in all territories and especially the Yukon.

The following infograph shows immigration numbers by province between 2015 and 2023.

Provincial Immigration 2015-2023 Table

Top cities for Canadian immigrants

The top city for new Canada PRs was Toronto. About 135,865 permanent residents landed in Toronto last year.

Following Toronto was Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, and Edmonton.

Top source countries of Canadian immigrants

India was once again the top source country of new immigrants in 2023 with 139,715 Indian citizens becoming Canadian PRs. China came in second with 31,765. The Philippines were in third place with 26,950. Next was Afghanistan with 20,165, taking fourth place from Nigeria, which came in fifth with 17,445.

  1. India – 139,715
  2. China – 31,765
  3. Philippines – 26,950
  4. Afghanistan – 20,165
  5. Nigeria – 17,445

Express Entry

Express Entry is one of Canada’s main immigration pathways. It opens the doors for workers in skilled occupations to get permanent residency in Canada.

Express Entry manages applications for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FST), and some programs under the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

Last year, 120,770 new permanent residence immigrated through Express Entry. Most came through the PNP with nearly 43,290, followed by the CEC (41,865) and FSW (35,500). Only 110 new permanent residents immigrated through the FST.

  • Express Entry total: 120,770
  • PNP: 43,290
  • CEC: 41,865
  • FSW: 35,500
  • FST: 110

Keep in mind, these figures are preliminary and subject to change. Official numbers will be released when Canada publishes the 2023 Express Entry report.

If you’re interested in moving to Canada but not sure which program you may be eligible for, check your eligibility for more than 20 Canadian immigration programs by taking Moving2Canada’s free Canada Immigration Quiz.

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