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Are you looking to immigrate to Canada in 2024? If so, here are some of the trending topics you might want to follow.

This past year has been an interesting one in Canadian immigration. As category-based Express Entry draws began, Canada also flattened out its immigration levels plan over the next three years. Canada’s public opinion on immigration is also at its lowest point since 1998—which may have implications for temporary residents.

The policies on immigration that affect newcomers like you—whether you’re in Canada and applying for PR, or planning your big move—are influenced by global events, Canada’s economy, and the political climate.

Events from last year have set the stage for 2024. In this article we’ll focus on why Canada’s immigration minister is talking about reducing the number of temporary residents, how to come to Canada on a working holiday, and factors to consider when weighing whether you should apply for immigration through Express Entry or the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

Will Canada reduce temporary residence in 2024?

In line with the housing shortage and rising living costs in Canada, the political climate around immigration seems to be changing.

In October 2023, the Environics Institute released a report showing that support for immigration is on the decline in Canada. Although Canadians still generally agree that immigration has a positive impact on the economy, support for the statement is at its lowest point since 1998. According to the survey, 78 percent of Canadians agree that immigration is good for the economy, down 11 points from 2022.

However, the cooling opinions on immigration appear to stem from economic concerns more than xenophobia. The Environics Institute says that concerns over “too many immigrants” are driven largely by worries over housing, rather than immigration presenting any sort of threat to Canada’s culture and values. On the contrary, multiculturalism is still very much valued in Canada.

While countries like Australia, the UK, France, and the US, are reducing the number of newcomers on the whole, Canada is maintaining its previous immigration targets of welcoming 485,000 new immigrants in 2024, and 500,000 in 2025 and 2026.

However, Canada’s immigration minister, Marc Miller has said he is planning to reign in the number of temporary residents accepted into Canada in 2024. We’ve already seen this happen with the temporary cap being placed on the number of study permits being issued in 2024 and 2025, and the elimination of spousal open work permits for study permit holders (except those studying master’s and doctoral programs in Canada).

Canada also raised the cost of living requirement for international students from CAD $10,000 to CAD $20,635.

Other such measures that could limit the number of temporary residents may be forthcoming. However, the immigration minister has said these measures would focus more on curbing fraud that has previously allowed unsuspecting international students to enter the country.

At the same time, Canada remains committed to humanitarian efforts. In December, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced measures to offer temporary residence to hundreds of family members of Canadians who are affected by the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip. Read more details on the government website.

Canada is also expecting to host some 90,000 youth through the International Experience Canada (IEC) program in 2024, which we’ll discuss more below.

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International Experience Canada (IEC)

Do you dream of taking a working holiday in Canada? If you are from one of the eligible IEC countries you may be able to work while you travel in Canada.

In 2024, Canada will once again welcome up to 90,000 international youth between the ages of 18-35 (depending on the country) through the three IEC programs.

The most popular of these programs is the Working Holiday Visa, which allows participants to work anywhere in the country for any Canadian employer. You can even switch jobs so long as your work permit is still valid.

The other two programs are closed work permit options but can be good for those who already have a job offer lined up in Canada. These programs include the Young Professionals and the International Co-op.

Plus, if you decide you want to stay in Canada and get permanent residency status, you may have options to stay in Canada after IEC. Keep scrolling for more info on Canada’s most popular immigration programs for workers.

Keep up to date on IEC news on our dedicated IEC News Hub.

For more resources to help you come to Canada through IEC in 2024—including a personalized checklist—sign up for a free Moving2Canada account.

Express Entry vs PNP for Canadian immigration

For the next three years, hundreds of thousands of newcomers are slated to get permanent residence through Express Entry and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

If you already know the difference, you can skip the next couple of paragraphs.

Express Entry is actually the name of the electronic application management system for three permanent residency programs:

If you are eligible for one or more of these programs you get a profile in the Express Entry system and a score on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The higher your score, the more likely it is you will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian immigration.

Through Express Entry, IRCC aims to process 80 percent of applications within six months. In other words, you could get permanent residency six months after IRCC receives your application.

To see what your CRS score could possibly be, check out Moving2Canada’s CRS Calculator.

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is a Canadian immigration program that allows the provinces and territories to create their own immigration pathways that are tailored to their labour markets. It is a two-step process where candidates apply for a provincial nomination, and then use that nomination to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

Some PNPs actually invite immigration candidates who are in the Express Entry system. In this case, the candidate must first be eligible for one of the aforementioned Express Entry programs. They get invited to apply for a provincial nomination, then if they successfully receive it, they get an automatic 600 points added to their CRS score. Such an award primes them to receive an ITA in a subsequent Express Entry draw.

To stay up to date with the latest Express Entry draws, check out the dedicated Express Entry draw page.

PNP or Express Entry?

So, you have a general idea of how it all works, which one is best for you?

Well, it depends.

Both are economic immigration pathways which select candidates who have demonstrated an ability to integrate into the Canadian labour market. Factors like education, work experience, and official language proficiency are all part of the eligibility criteria for these programs.

Express Entry requires a certain amount of “skilled” work experience. Canada recognizes work experience as “skilled” if the duties to perform the work fall under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) TEER categories 0, 1, 2, or 3.

If you are eligible for Express Entry, you may be invited to apply based on what program you are eligible for (i.e. CEC, FSWP, FSTP), or if you are eligible for category-based selection. You may also be invited to apply in an all-program or “general” draw, which prioritizes a high CRS score.

With the PNP, you do not necessarily have to be eligible for Express Entry. Participating provinces and territories also offer “base” PNPs which use their own application management systems. In some cases, you may be eligible for a PNP with work experience in an “in-demand” occupation—not necessarily a “skilled” occupation. In-demand occupations are determined by the provinces and are based on their own labour markets.

What about Quebec immigration?

Quebec does not participate in the PNP nor the Express Entry system. Instead, it offers its own immigration programs including:

For more info, check out our dedicated page on immigration to Quebec.

If you would like to see which pathway you may be eligible for, check your eligibility for more than 20 Canadian immigration programs by taking Moving2Canada’s free Canada Immigration Quiz.

About the author

Shelby Thevenot

Shelby Thevenot

They/Them
Canadian Immigration Writer
Shelby is a journalist, freelance writer, and expert news analyst with more than five years of experience in writing about Canadian immigration.
Read more about Shelby Thevenot
Citation "What to expect in Canadian immigration in 2024." Moving2Canada. . Copy for Citation

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