Max Rady College of Medicine

Concept: Immigration Admission Category

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Concept Description

Last Updated: 2022-12-08


    concept/Social Determinants of Health-SDOH-Digital Library-Image.jpg This concept describes how Immigration Admission Category is operationalized for immigration-related research at MCHP. The concept includes the following sections:

    Definition: This is the categorization of immigrants by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) based on the circumstances of their admission to Canada as permanent residents. This term may also be referred to as the "immigration class". Individuals may be admitted as immigrants to Canada under one of the following categories: Economic immigrant, Immigrant sponsored by family, Refugee, or Other immigrant, as described below in the methods section.

Data Sources


    In the deliverable The Diversity of Immigrants to Manitoba, Migration Dynamics and Basic Healthcare Service Use by Urquia et al. (2020), immigration admission category was operationalized by classifying the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Permanent Resident Database immigration admission category codes into one of the following four specific categories, using the Statistics Canada "Classification of admission category of immigrant" definitions.

    1. Economic immigrant - immigrants who have been selected for their ability to contribute to Canada's economy through their ability to meet labour market needs, to own and manage or to build a business, to make a substantial investment, to create their own employment or to meet specific provincial or territorial labour market needs.

    2. Immigrant sponsored by family - immigrants who were sponsored by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and were granted permanent resident status on the basis of their relationship either as the spouse, partner, parent, grand-parent, child or other relative of this sponsor. The terms "family class" or "family reunification" are sometime used to refer to this category.

    3. Refugee - immigrants who were granted permanent resident status on the basis of a well-founded fear of returning to their home country, for fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in particular social group or for political opinion (Geneva Convention refugees) as well as persons who had been seriously and personally affected by civil war or armed conflict, or have suffered a serious violation of human rights. Some refugees were in Canada when they applied for refugee protection for themselves and their family members (either with them in Canada or abroad). Others were abroad and were referred for resettlement to Canada by the United Nations Refugee Agency, another designated referral organization or private sponsors. For more information about refugees, please read the Refugee concept.

    4. Other immigrant - immigrants who were granted permanent resident status under a program that does not fall in neither the economic immigrants, the immigrants sponsored by family, or the refugee categories.

    NOTE: The Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) – Permanent Residence Database in the Repository has two files containing immigration data that cover different time periods, with different variables containing different values / codes for immigration admission category:

    • the LEGACY LANDING file contains the variable Immigration Category Code (IMMIGRATION_CATEGORY_CD) and another variable Immigration Category 4 - English decsription (IMMIGRATION_CATEGORY4_ENG_DESC) that contains values on the four different admission categories; and
    • the (current) LANDING file contains the variable Application Category (APPLICATION_CATEGORY_ID).

      A SAS® format, APPLICATION_MAIN_CATEGORY, was developed to convert the [current] LANDING file APPLICATION_CATEGORY_ID variable values into one of the four immigrant admission categories.

    The following describes the basic algorithm in developing the methodology for this concept. It summarizes the SAS® code example that is provided in the SAS code and formats section below.

    1. create a landing file containing the combined data from the two IRCC files: LEGACY LANDING and [current] LANDING;
    2. copy admission category from the IMMIGRATION_CATEGORY4_ENG_DESC variable in the LEGACY LANDING file ; OR convert APPLICATION_CATEGORY_ID variable in current LANDING file using the APPLICATION_MAIN_CATEGORY format, and then convert these newer category names into the four admission categories used in the legacy landing data.

Research Findings

SAS code and formats 

Related concepts 

Related terms 



  • Urquia M, Walld R, Prior H, Detillieux G, Eze N, Koseva I. The Diversity of Immigrants to Manitoba, Migration Dynamics and Basic Healthcare Service Use. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, 2020. [Report] [Summary] [Additional Materials] (View)


  • Immigration

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