Canada achieved its aim of giving permanent residency to 4,01,000 immigrants by 2021 by emphasizing temporary residents already in the country, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said on Thursday.
Canada, which relies on immigration to fuel its economy and sustain an ageing population, suffered a drop in new permanent residents of more than 45 per cent to 1,85,000 in 2020 when boundaries were mostly closed due to Covid-19.
According to a statement from the immigration minister, the bulk of the new 4,01,000 permanent residents, a number reached for the first time in more than a century, were previously in Canada on temporary status.
“Last year, we set an ambitious goal. Today, we achieved it,” Fraser said.
Since taking office in 2015, Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has depended on immigration to strengthen the Canadian economy, setting an annual target of around 1% of the country’s population of over 38 million. The administration has stated that it anticipates adding 411,000 new permanent citizens next year.
Government numbers released earlier on Thursday indicated that the Canadian economy likely expanded for the sixth straight month in November, approaching pre-pandemic levels. The only other occasion Canada reached the 4,00,000-immigrant mark was in 1913, but the outbreak of World War I caused a decline in immigration in the years that followed.
Prior to the pandemic, Canada set a target of 3,41,000 additional immigrants in 2020. Due to the pandemic, it only landed 1,84,000 people last year. It did, however, double down on immigration to boost its post-pandemic economic recovery, establishing a target of 4,01,000 new permanent residents in 2021.
Through a technicality, IRCC was able to reach its Immigration Levels Plan target for this year. Before the pandemic, the majority of new immigrants came from other countries.
This year, however, IRCC has prioritized transferring individuals already in the country in order to meet its newcomer goal. The reasoning has been that those who are already in Canada are less likely to be affected by Covid-related disturbances that may hamper their ability to get permanent residency.
Prior to the pandemic, approximately 30% of new economic-class immigrants were already in the nation when they obtained permanent status, whereas approximately 70% moved from overseas. In 2021, this has been flipped, with around 70% arriving from within Canada and approximately 30% arriving from abroad.
One of IRCC’s primary aims in 2021 is to reach the 4,01,000 newcomer target. After achieving this goal, IRCC will widen its goals upon the issuing of a new mandate letter.
According to the Immigration Levels Plan 2021-2023, Canada expects to accept 411,000 new immigrants in 2022 and 4, 21,000 in 2023. By February 10, 2022, Fraser will have announced the revised Immigration Levels Plan. The immigration minister has hinted that the revised plan could have even greater goals for 2022 and 2023.