Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) welcomed nearly 25,000 newcomers in January and on track to achieve its ambitious 401,000 immigration target in 2021.
New IRCC data shows that the country welcomed about 24,665 newcomers in January 2021. This is comparable to Canada’s monthly intake prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, it is the strongest month for Canadian immigration since Feb 2020.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada welcomed between 25,000 and 35,000 new permanent immigrants per month.
New immigrant arrivals are the strongest during the spring and summer months and diminish towards the end of each calendar year.
Reasons for this include the warmer weather making the settlements process easier, as well as families seeking to settle in Canada by the end of the summer holiday — Generally, Canada’s school year and work schedule resume normal activity each Sept.
This typical state of affairs was interrupted suddenly by the travel restrictions Canada was imposed on March 18th of last year as it sought to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, immigration levels have remained very weak and Canada was not able to exceed 20,000 new arrivals in a month until January of this year.
Only 184,370 newcomers came to Canada in 2020, falling short of IRCC’s target of 341,000. This was the lowest year for Canadian immigration since 1998.
To make up for the deficit, Canada Minister for Immigration, Marco Mendicino announced that Canada would admit 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021.
Should Canada achieve this goal, it will be tied for the highest level of immigration in the history of the country— the present record stands at 401,000 newcomer arrivals in 1913.
The strong start to this year shows Canada is in a good position to achieve its ambitious immigration project by the end of this year. If seasonal newcomer arrivals patterns normalize, we can expect immigration activities to eventually exceed 35,000 monthly landings by the summer.
Recently, Mendicino and IRCC said the federal government will aim to transition as many people presently residing in Canada to permanent residence in order to meet their 401,000 immigrant targets.
In addition to public comments made by Marco Mendicino, a number of major changes by IRCC demonstrate the federal government’s commitment to this temporary shift in strategy.
Whereas IRCC was inviting immigration candidates from all over the world, including the Federal Skilled Worker Program candidates to apply for Canadian permanent residence towards the end of 2020, it is now concentrating on inviting candidates most likely to be living in Canada.
On Feb. 13th, IRCC conducted by far the biggest Express Entry draw in history when it invited 27,332 CEC candidates to apply for Canadian permanent residence. This draw was six times bigger than the previous record.
Express Entry is the major way Canada welcomes skilled workers to migrate to the country. Generally speaking, over 50 percent of invitees under Express Entry tend to fall within the FSWP while PNP and CEC candidate account for the minority. This has been reversed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the February 13th draw, Canada explained that it estimates some Ninety (90) percent of CEC candidates are staying in Canada right now.
Looking ahead, IRCC has said it will start welcoming skilled workers from abroad once the COVID-19 pandemic situation has improved. For now, many skilled workers who have received approval to move to Canada are not able to enter the country due to travel restrictions.
While it remains quite difficult to predict the future, recent developments provide hopes that the worst of the pandemic is over.
Daily case counts are declining in Canada since January, a function of both stay-at-home order as well as an increase in vaccine distribution.
Down south, the United States is now dispensing over two million vaccine dosages per day. Vaccine deployment is also moving at a faster pace globally. Should such a positive trend continue, Canada may be in a better spot to strongly consider easing its travel restrictions later this year.Share with friends