Skip to content
Rate article
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
4.33/5 - 6 votes
Share article

Statistics Canada has released data about the transition rates from temporary to permanent residency in Canada – and it’s generally good news. The data shows overall increases in transition rates across the temporary resident programs.

Key Takeaways

  • Overall transition rates from temporary to permanent residency have increased over time. 
  • The number of temporary residents on Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWPs) increased significantly over time. This program also saw an increase in the transition rates during the observed period. 
  • Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program and Canadian Experience Class are the primary immigration pathways for temporary residents transitioning to permanent residency. 
  • IEC Participants and agricultural program workers are among the least likely to stay in Canada. 
  • You can view the full Statistics Canada report here.

5 Noteworthy Statistics In The TR To PR Report

Statistics Canada’s transition to permanent residency report looks at three distinct cohorts of temporary residents: 

  • 2006 to 2010, where there were 632,000 work permit holders (the 2010 cohort). 
  • 2011 to 2015, where there were 763,100 work permit holders (the 2015 cohort). 
  • 2016 to 2020, where there were 1,048,600 work permit holders (the 2020 cohort). 

Increased Transition Rates Overall

There has been a dramatic increase in transition rates within 2 years between 2006 and 2020, alongside a large increase in the number of temporary residents in Canada (as outlined above).

Here’s what the data tells us about the overall transition rates:

By the second year, 

  • 9.4% of the 2010 cohort;
  • 11.7% of the 2015 cohort; and 
  • 23.2% of the 2020 cohort had transitioned to permanent residence. 

By the fifth year, 

  • 26.7% of the 2010 cohort; and
  • 34.3% of the 2015 cohort had transitioned to permanent residence. 

We don’t have the data for the fifth year from the 2020 cohort yet (since five years have not passed). 

By the tenth year, 34.5% of the 2010 cohort had transitioned to permanent residence. 

As you can see, transition rates crept up across the timespan for each cohort. Additionally, each cohort had higher transition rates than the cohort before it. There are several factors that likely contribute to the overall gains in transition rates, including Canada’s focus on retaining temporary workers and the Express Entry system, which was introduced in 2015. 

High Transition Rates For PGWP Holders 

PGWP doesn’t have the highest transition rate as a percentage, but it is notable due to the relatively high transition rate and the large number of work permit holders transitioning through it.

PGWP enjoyed the following transition rates:  

By the second year, 

  • 34.9% of the 2010 cohort;
  • 28% of the 2015 cohort; and 
  • 40.1% of the 2020 cohort had transitioned to permanent residence. 

This is particularly significant since the 2020 cohort is made up of 378,100 PGWP holders. This is by far the largest program, with IEC being the second largest with a 2020 cohort of 235,000. Just 6.4% of IEC participants from the 2020 cohort had transitioned to PR within two years. 

By the fifth year, 

  • 69.1% of the 2010 cohort; and
  • 72.9% of the 2015 cohort had transitioned to permanent residence. 

By the tenth year, 73.6% of the 2010 cohort had transitioned to permanent residence. 

Other programs with high transition rates include: 

  • Other international agreements or arrangements, with a transition rate of 58.2% for the 2020 cohort in their 2nd year. 
  • Spouses or common-law partners of skilled workers, with a transition rate of 39.9% for the 2020 cohort in their 2nd year. 
  • Other TFWP without a skill level, with a transition rate of 39% for the 2020 cohort in their 2nd year. 
  • High Skilled TFWP, with a transition rate of 23.9% for the 2020 cohort in their 2nd year. 

So, PGWP holders had the second highest transition rate as well as the highest overall numbers. 

Advertisement

IEC Among Least Likely To Stay In Canada

Conversely, International Experience Canada (IEC) participants, which includes those who come to Canada for a working holiday, were among those most likely to leave Canada. This likely aligns with the purpose of the IEC program, which is to allow young workers to experience Canada temporarily. 

 

Transition rates for IEC participants by the second year were as follows: 

  • 3.7% of the 2010 cohort;
  • 3.9% of the 2015 cohort; and 
  • 6.4% of the 2020 cohort had transitioned to permanent residence. 

 

By the fifth year, 

  • 10.8% of the 2010 cohort; and
  • 14.7% of the 2015 cohort had transitioned to permanent residence. 

 

By the tenth year, 14.3% of the 2010 cohort had transitioned to permanent residence. 

 

Of the IEC participants who elected to stay, most from the 2020 cohort did so through the Canadian Experience Class category (34.7%). The Provincial Nominee Program (26%) and spousal class (23.9%) also allowed IEC participants from the 2020 cohort to transition to permanent residence in Canada. In fact, IEC participants were the second most likely group across all cohorts to find love in Canada (and stay through the spousal class) – beaten out only by agricultural program workers. 

Economic Pathways Most Popular

Economic immigration accounted for around 90% of the workers who transitioned from temporary residence to permanent residence between 2006 and 2020. 

 

The PNP saw higher overall rates of use for the 2010 and 2015 cohorts, while the 2020 cohort made greater use of the CEC program. 

Transition Rates Did Decrease For Some Programs

While many of the programs saw increases in transition rates, not all did. These are the programs that saw a decrease in transition rates between 2010 and 2020:

  • Agricultural programs decreased from 2.3 in the 2010 cohort to 1.3 in the 2020 cohort within 2 years. 
  • Other low-skilled TFWP, decreased from 9.3 in the 2010 cohort to 8.7 in the 2020 cohort. Notably, the figures dipped to 7.4 for the 2015 cohort, indicating significant issues in retaining lower skilled temporary workers. 
  • Spouses and common-law partners of students decreased from 24.6% in the 2010 cohort to 14.6% in the 2020 cohort. This program also saw a larger dip in the 2015 cohort, where just 12.4% transitioned within 2 years. 

Make The Move With Moving2Canada

Moving2Canada provides free resources for newcomers to Canada and for those looking to make the move in the near future. For personalized checklists, helpful information, and exclusive offers from our partners, create your free account today.

About the author

Stephanie Ford profile picture

Stephanie Ford

She/Her
Finance, Law and Immigration Writer
Stephanie is a content marketer who has written for law firms (with a focus on immigration and privacy), legal tech companies, and finance professionals for more than 9 years. She earned a Bachelor of Laws and a Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning in Australia. Stephanie is now a permanent resident of Canada and a full-time writer at Moving2Canada.
Read more about Stephanie Ford
Citation "From Temporary to Permanent Residency in Canada: Stats You Should Know." Moving2Canada. . Copy for Citation

Advertisement

  • Canada Abroad team

    Canada Abroad

    Canada Abroad is a transparent Canadian immigration consultancy with advice you can trust. Led by Deanne Acres-Lans (RCIC #508363), the team delivers professional, regulated, and efficient service.

  • The Doherty Fultz Immigration team staff members

    Doherty Fultz Immigration

    Led by Anthony Doherty (RCIC #510956) and Cassandra Fultz (#514356), the Doherty Fultz team uses their 40+ years of experience to empower you towards settling in Canada.

  • Perez McKenzie team 6

    Perez McKenzie Immigration

    Led by Jenny Perez (RCIC #423103), Perez McKenzie Immigration is a Canadian immigration consultancy based in British Columbia, with offices in Vancouver and Whistler.

Our Partners

Get your immigration questions answered by an expert

Speak with a regulated Canadian immigration consultant to help plan your immigration. Moving2Canada is happy to recommend a handful of exceptional consultants.
  • Smiling young woman at a laptop

    Find the best immigration program for you

    Take our free immigration quiz and we'll tell you the best immigration programs for you!

  • Chef at restaurant spooning vegetables

    Get matched to job opportunities

    Get matched to job opportunities from Canadian employers who are seeking to hire people with your skills.

  • Access our immigration roadmaps

    Our immigration roadmaps will teach you the basics of Express Entry, study permits, and more! Take control of your own immigration process.

Exclusive

Unlock exclusive resources with a free account.

Create a Moving2Canada account to get the resources you need, tailored to your profile. Get matched with the best immigration programs & job offers, and access exclusive events & resources.