What is the change? Canada has set a target of admitting 300,000 new immigrants in 2017 – the same number as in 2016, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship John McCallum announced Monday.

What does the change mean? Despite recommendations to dramatically increase the number of immigrants, the government will keep the total number of immigrants the same, but apportion a greater number to the skilled-worker and family-reunification categories and decrease the overall number of immigrants in the refugee and humanitarian categories.

A comparison of 2016 and 2017 immigration targets:

Immigrant Type 2016 2017
Economic Categories 160,600 172,500
Family 80,000 84,000
Refugees, Protected Persons 55,800 40,000
Humanitarian and Others 3,600 3,500

The number of total economic immigrants will increase by 7 percent compared with 2016. The Federal Economic programs – which includes the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, Canadian Experience Class and Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program – will represent 73,700 (about 43 percent) of total economic immigration, followed by the Provincial Nominee Program which will represent 51,000 (nearly 30 percent) of the total.

Earlier this month, the government’s advisory council on economic growth recommended that Canada increase immigration by 50 percent to 450,000 over each of the next five years to help boost the economy and attract foreign investors, students and entrepreneurs.

BAL Analysis: Despite suggestions by the minister that Canada would substantially increase the number of new immigrants in 2017, the total number will remain the same in an effort to reduce wait times and backlogs. The increase to the targets for the economic and family streams is positive news for businesses, skilled migrants and their family members.

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