Canada's Immigration Landscape For 2021

April 12, 2021


  • Reuben Walter

The global pandemic has seen the Canadian government make some changes to the immigration process for 2021. While you may think they would be restrictive, we have gone the other way by setting the highest target in history, as a planned 401,000 immigrants will be granted permanent residency this year.

Canada’s immigration landscape for 2021 is looking good, and here you will find a short roadmap if this is the year you finally embark on your journey to Canada.

There are a number of options available to you and your family. How you arrive at your destination in Canada will depend on how you intend to make a living when you get here. You could start a business, get a job or study and complete a new or post-graduate certificate, all will ultimately see you obtain Canadian permanent residency if you follow the correct process and maintain a legal status.

5 Ways to Become a Permanent Resident of Canada

1. Express Entry System

Last year, the Express Entry System absorbed a lot of the permanent residency spots because with borders closed, people couldn’t really apply to the other immigration programs. As travel barriers continue to make securing a job offer in Canada a challenge, the Express Entry System will continue to remain the champion of immigration to Canada in 2021.

The best part about Express Entry, is that you can apply for permanent residency from outside of Canada, if you are successful you will be issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) and as long as you can provide the supporting documents for your application, you will be issued permanent resident status, and can travel to Canada to start your new life.

A major advantage is that you do not require a job offer to apply either, although you are ranked against other applicants using a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. A job offer will add valuable points to your score

The Express Entry System has 3 immigration programs:

  • Skilled Worker Program - if you have work experience and a qualification as a manager or in a professional occupation, you may be eligible for this program. Examples include but are not limited to IT workers, engineers, doctors, architects, marketing and finance workers and so on;
  • Skilled Trades Program - If you have significant experience or a qualification as a skilled trades worker, you may be eligible for this program. Examples include but are not limited to plumbers, pipefitters, welders, cooks, carpenters, construction professionals and so on;
  • Canada Experience Class - if you have at least one year of experience working in Canada, and work in an occupation eligible for one of the above categories, you fall into this program which receives preference over the other two. Foreigners who graduate from Canadian universities or colleges and then continue to live and work in Canada often to apply through this program.

Working in conjunction with the Express Entry System, is the Provincial Nomination Program. Each province has its own immigration program, with its own immigration streams for entrepreneurs, semi-skilled workers, skilled professionals and trades workers. If you fall into the latter category, you can be eligible for a provincial nomination, which would add 600 points to your CRS score out of a total of 1,200. This, as you can imagine, means an immediate ITA.

2. Canadian Investor Visa

Whether it’s through one of the provincial entrepreneur streams or the federal Investor Visa program, if you are a business owner or manager with 3-5 years of experience, you can buy or start a business in Canada if you meet the minimum net worth, investment and performance criteria. When your business is established, you will be granted permanent residency.

In 2019, immigrants accounted for 33% of all business owners in Canada with paid staff. The Canadian government is very welcoming to foreign entrepreneurs as they create important local jobs in all sectors of the economy from construction to retail trade. There are more than 600,000 self-employed immigrants in Canada, of which 260,000 have paid employees working for them. With great incentives like a constantly declining corporate tax, Canada is not only a place where an entrepreneur can build a successful and thriving business but the whole package too.

3. Study in Canada

A bit of a longer route, but a very good one as international immigrants that graduate from Canadian institutions have the best choices when it comes to the Canadian job market. Apply to a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada, once you have been accepted get your study permit and away you go. Once you have graduated you will be able to apply for permanent residency through any number of programs, such as the Canada Experience Class Program, your province's Provincial Nomination Program or even some immigration pilots like the Atlantic Immigration Pilot.

4. Temporary Foreign Work Permit

We mentioned the Atlantic Immigration Pilot above, this program and a number of others make provision for semi-skilled workers with job offers in certain regions and cities in Canada. More than 1 out of every 4 workers in the foodservice industry are immigrants. This industry accounted for 11% of all work found by new immigrants arriving in Canada between 2011 and 2016, and now you can earn permanent residency as soon as you arrive in Canada while working in semi-skilled positions.

Immigrants account for 35% of all nurse aides and orderlies in Canada, and this is just one example of a semi-skilled occupation with a program for permanent residency.

Lake in Canada-immigration landscape 2021

5. Family Sponsorship

The Canadian government understands the value of family, and this program represents that. If you have a close personal relative who is already a permanent resident or citizen of Canada, who is willing to sponsor you, you can apply for Canadian immigration. You can also bring your spouse and children (under the age of 22) with you if your application is successful.

Consider Your Options Carefully

The Canadian immigration landscape is changing, and for 2021 it is important to weigh up your immigration options before rushing into applying. Successful immigrants in Canada are those who are following the changing trends as shown by the new pathways introduced. For example, immigration to the prairies and Atlantic provinces has more than doubled over the past 15 years. This is because there are immigration opportunities for permanent residency there.


In 1997, only 1 in 10 immigrants settled outside of Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. Today, that number is nearly 4 in 10. Know your options, make the right choice and permanent residency in Canada is easily attainable, because in Canada, #immigrationmatters.