Factbox: Canada's immigration system and targets for 2017

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The U.S. administration is putting its support behind a bill that would reduce the number of legal immigrants into the United States and prioritize high-skilled workers by setting up a merits-based system similar to those used by Canada and Australia.

Signs pointing to pedestrian and cycle routes are seen outside a Canada Border Service Agency crossing at the Peace Bridge in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada July 5, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

To bring in skilled workers, Canada uses a points system to assess immigrants’ ability to enter the Canadian workforce. The majority of Canada’s economic immigrants this year are expected to come from this so-called express entry system.

Canada plans to allow 300,000 immigrants into the country this year.

Applicants are ranked on their age, education, language ability, and work experience and earn points for each category up to 600. For example, people aged between 20-29 years get the maximum 100 points while those over 45 get zero for that category.

Potential immigrants get additional points if they have a sibling who is a citizen or permanent resident of Canada. Immigrants’ spouses are assessed on the same criteria if they are also applying to come to Canada.

For a full list of points awarded under the ranking system, see here

With a population of about 35 million, the immigration target for 2017 amounts to 0.9 percent of the population. According to the 2011 census, 20.6 percent of the population were foreign-born and immigrated to Canada. More recent numbers for 2016 will be released later this year.

The following are Canada’s immigration targets by category for 2017.


Economic 172,500 0.5

Family 84,000 0.2

Refugees, protected persons 40,000 0.1

Humanitarian, other 3,500 0.01


Canada (2011) 20.6

United States (2015) 13.5*

*Source: Migration Policy Institute

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Alistair Bell