2024 is shaping up to be an interesting year. We believe that many upcoming policies and immigration selections this year will be based on the Immigration plans found here and the number of temporary residents who are currently in Canada. Here are some predictions
1. Express Entry draw scores will continue to stay high
With over 700,000 international workers and 900,000 international students coming into Canada last year, the competition will be fierce for the approximately 110,000 Express Entry spots earmarked for 2024.
There are many alternative pathways to apply for permanent residence such as the Provincial Nomination Programs, which have 110,000 spots available, or one of the many pilot pathways that are currently active. We can help clients to prepare themselves for these different pathways and maximize their draw potential.
2. The International Student programs will see changes
In 2023, the Minister made repeated announcements about curbing the number of international students in Canada and making the provinces and schools more responsible for the selection and care of students. In December, the Minister announced several changes including funding requirements and working off-campus hours (for more details see here).
We predict that major changes will likely happen to the PGWP program and also for the selection of students who are able to obtain study permits.
3. Family Sponsorships will be processed faster with the use of AI
The government has started processing many spousal sponsorship applications using AI in 2023. For many applicants, this has resulted in a much faster processing time.
We predict that parents and grandparent applications may also be processed using AI which will hopefully speed up the processing time. However, this is subject to the yearly quota – for 2024 that would be 32,000.
While the use of AI can speed up processing times for most applicants, this can also result in higher rejection rates or longer delays for complicated files. 2023 also saw a much higher rate of Federal Court filings for cases that were evaluated through AI and we fully expect this to continue. If you have a complicated case, it is increasingly important to submit clear and complete applications to explain your circumstances.
4. Humanitarian and Compassionate processing times will be much longer
In the last few years, the government has implemented several new humanitarian and compassionate programs for citizens of Hong Kong, Ukraine, Colombia, Venezuela, Haiti, and just recently for Sudan. They have also implemented humanitarian work permit/study permit programs for many countries (and most recently for Palestinians and Israelis).
Unfortunately, however, the government cut the quota for humanitarian and compassionate permanent residence applications by half for 2024 to only 13,750. This means that most people who apply under these programs may not be able to receive permanent residence for several years if the quota remains.
We recommend many of our clients who come to Canada on humanitarian and compassionate work permits to plan their permanent residence strategy as early as possible.