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Skip Navigation LinksUnderstanding-Immigration Understanding Immigration
Skip Navigation LinksImmigration Simcoe > Employer Resources > Immigration Programs > Understanding Immigration

Understanding Immigration

​How do immigrants arrive in Canada?

Immigration policy in Canada is structured around three main entry pathways: Economic, Family Reunification, and Humanitarian. Applicants must meet specific criteria, and pass health and security checks.

Watch YouTube - Making Economic Immigration Work for Canada


This category represents the largest portion of immigrants arriving in Canada each year. Points are assigned for six different factors: education, English and/or French language skills, work experience, age, arranged employment in Canada, and adaptability. A person must have a minimum number of points to qualify to enter Canada as a permanent resident. ​

Family Reunification

This classification of immigrants includes spouses, children and other dependents who qualify to join family members who are already living in Canada. This is the second-largest group of immigrants admitted on a yearly basis. A Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada can sponsor a spouse, common-law partner, dependent child (including adopted child) or other eligible relative to become a permanent resident.

Qualifying sponsors must make every reasonable effort to support the essential needs of family members.

For more information, visit: Family sponsorship - IRCC website


This classification includes Conventional Refugees, individuals who may be considering under Country of Asylum Class and compassionate cases. This is the smallest group of immigrants admitted to Canada each year. A conventional refugee is a person who is outside their home country, and cannot return due to well-founded fear of persecution based on:​

  • race,
  • religion,
  • politica​l opinion,
  • nationality, or
  • ​memb​ership in a particular social group, such as women or people with a particular sexual orientation.​

Country of Asylum Class are individuals who are outside their home country or the country where they normally live and have been, and continue to be, seriously and personally affected by civil war or armed conflict, or have suffered massive violations of human rights.

Canada provides protection to thousands of people every year. Individuals must undergo extensive medical, and security and criminal checks.

For more information, visit: Refugee system in Canada - IRCC website

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) helps fill genuine and acute labour needs when Canadians are not available.

Employment and Skills Development Canada (ESDC)/Service Canada are responsible for assessing applications from employers requesting to hire temporary foreign workers (TFW). This ministry issues labour market opinions (LMO) that corroborate employer needs and labour shortages in specific occupations.

For more information, visit: Temporary Foreign Worker Program - IRCC website​

Where are Canadian immigrants arriving from?

The chart below highlights the major source countries of Canadian immigrants.

Permanent Residents by category and source country.PNG 

(Source: Permanent residents by category and source country 2016 CIC )