Even though immigration levels around the globe have been lower compared to previous years, this hasn’t stopped countries like Canada from inviting immigrants. While it has become seemingly harder for immigration services to function during this pandemic, Canada’s survival depends on its immigrants.
Canadian Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino has announced that Canada will seek to receive 341,000 new immigrants by 2020. A few days later, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada was looking to impose new travel restrictions to contain the COVID-19 spread as well.
Since the onset of the epidemic, the IRCC and provinces and territories across the country have continued to process new and existing immigration applications. This is to complete the processing of as many applications as possible so that those eligible for permanent or temporary status can now apply. Canada aims to accommodate at least 401,000 new immigrants a year under its 2021-2023 Leveling Immigration program.
In a recent TV interview, Mendicino said he was convinced the goals were real even during the epidemic. Reasons for this include the IRCC inviting many immigrants currently living in Canada to apply for permanent residence through the Express Entry program. Provinces and territories apply the same approach to the Provincial Nomination Program (PNP) and Quebec.
In addition, tourism restrictions contain numerous exemptions that allow certain individuals such as close family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to migrate to Canada during the epidemic.
Canada has been inviting about 300,000 new immigrants annually in the years leading up to the epidemic. The migration rate stands at about 0.9 percent, representing three times as many new immigrants as Americans. Canada’s immigration rate has dropped to 0.5 percent by 2020 as the country receives less than 200,000 immigrants for the second time since 1989 (one time being 1998).
In the future, Canadian migration rates are likely to exceed 200,000 by 2021, as the IRCC is already accustomed to the pandemic. The main reason why immigrants failed to break the new 200,000-mark last year is because Canada’s permanent residence declined sharply between mid-March and May 2020 as federal government agencies were affected by the closure of other countries. As Mendicino pointed out in his recent TV interview, the IRCC has since expanded its operations to include remote functionality and more online activity. These measures should help him avoid unexpected disruptions in his ability to support the recovery of immigration rates.
The pandemic will continue to have an impact on the Canadian Immigration Program, but we can expect the rates to exceed 401,000 annually if COVID-19’s impact decreases worldwide. In the meantime, the IRCC, provinces, and territories are continuing to issue new immigration invitations. The IRCC held a draw for Express Entry yesterday and is expected to hold another this week.