Canada’s new permanent resident’s intake continues to suffer a serious blow as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Data from Canada immigration ministry shows Canada welcomed 15,025 new permanent residents in Sept. 2020.
This is low compared with the 35,000 newcomers Canada welcomed in September 2019.
Overall, Canada has welcomed about 143,500 new immigrants between the months of January and September. which means it is on track to fall short of 200,000 new immigrants by the end of 2020. In the first nine months of 2019, Canada welcomed 264,000 newcomers and over 341,000 total last year.
Days before Canada announced it would shut down its borders to many international travelers in March of this year, immigration minister Marco Mendicino announced the country would target an extra 341,000 new immigrant arrivals in 2020.
Canada will not be able to achieve this immigration target for three major reasons. First, the coronavirus pandemic has also affected the operations of the immigration system. Social or physical distancing measures have affected everything from the ability to complete official language tests such as CELPIP or IELTS, to lodging biometrics, to getting visas from Canadian government authorities.
Secondly, thousands of confirmation of permanent residence (COPR) holders who are exempted from Canada’s COVID-19 travel restrictions remain stranded abroad because their COPRs have expired during the pandemic.
Thirdly, Canada’s coronavirus travel restrictions do not allow people who obtained their COPR after March 18 to travel to Canada unless they fall under an exemption.
At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic is temporary and Canada confirmed two weeks ago that it remains committed or dedicated to welcoming high levels of immigration moving forward.
In late October, Marco Mendicino announced Canada would massively increase its immigration target levels to compensate for the fall in immigration this year.
Under its new 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan, the federal government aims to welcome over 400,000 new immigrants per year moving forward which will be record-breaking in Canadian history.
To enable it to achieve these targets, IRCC has been conducting Express Entry draws mostly on a bi-weekly basis throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
The two most recent Express Entry draws have featured 4,500 invitations to apply for Canadian permanent residence sent out in each draw which is tied for the highest levels per draw since Express Entry introduced in January 2015.
Express Entry system is Canada’s flagship system for managing skilled worker applications.
The second major pathway Canada welcomes highly skilled workers is through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).
PNP draws have also occurred consistently throughout the coronavirus pandemic and earlier this week Canada’s largest province, Ontario, conduct a draw.
In all, Canada’s provinces sent out nearly 3,000 provincial nominations in October.
Canada is set to fall short of 200,000 newcomers this year for the first time since 1999.
Nevertheless, the immigration system continues to operate, and new applicants are able to enter the Express Entry pool and lodge applications via the likes of the PNP and other economic class programs.
Individuals who do get COPRs can expect to enter Canada once travel restrictions are changed or are lifted altogether following the widespread distribution of coronavirus vaccines.