In March of this year, immigration to Canada skyrocketed, boosting the number of new permanent residents for the first quarter to a level that could push the country above its record-breaking aim.
In March, the country received 40,785 new permanent residents, up from 37,335 the previous month and over 15.2 percent more than the 35,415 in January. According to the most recent Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada figures, the country has already gained 113,535 new permanent residents in the first three months of the year.
This year’s record-breaking pace of immigration in the first quarter puts Canada on course to welcome 454,140 new permanent residents or 5.2% more than Ottawa’s already lofty immigration target for 2022. If the current trend continues for the remainder of the year, Canada will welcome 48,140 more new permanent residents this year than the 406,000 who arrived in 2021, a record-breaking year for immigration.
The key drivers of this year’s spike in immigration are two. The one-time, temporary-to-permanent resident (TR-to-PR) programme, which accepted applications last year, is still receiving new applicants, which is increasing the number of new permanent residents under the economic programmes.
According to Ottawa’s most recent immigration levels plan, Canada will welcome 32,000 new permanent residents through that channel this year. Another significant driver of immigration to Canada this year has been Ottawa’s commitment to refugees, particularly Afghan and Ukrainian refugees.
The country welcomed 16,465 refugees and protected persons in the first quarter of this year, over 34% more than the 12,290 in the same three-month period last year and roughly double the 8,385 in the same quarter in 2020.
The number of refugees arriving in Canada during the first quarter of this year was almost 70% greater than the 9,685 who arrived during the same period last year, the final full year before the Covid-19 outbreak. Part of the reason for the increase in refugee numbers is Ottawa’s commitment to providing a safe haven for Afghan refugees.
On Friday, Fraser tweeted, “Canada has now accepted 13,050 Afghan refugees, with more arriving every week.”
“Just this morning, another flight from Pakistan arrived in Toronto, carrying over 300 Afghan newcomers who backed Canada’s operations in Afghanistan.”
The Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET), which has received more than 204,000 applications as of May 4, is another major refugee conduit that is opening doors for refugees. By that point, Canadian immigration officials had approved 91,500 of those petitions. Under the CUAET, Canada has agreed to absorb an unlimited number of Ukrainian refugees.
“Canada is doing everything it can to support Ukrainians both before and after they arrive,” Fraser said.
Canada expects to welcome 447,055 new permanent residents next year and 451,000 in 2024, according to the levels plan released this year. Ottawa promotes increasing levels of immigration as the means to overcoming labour shortages and boosting the Canadian economy, citing everything from agriculture and fisheries to business management and the technology sector.
“Canada is one of the world’s top talent destinations, and immigration is a driving force behind the boom in our IT sector,” Fraser tweeted earlier this year.
“By bringing skilled workers to Canada, businesses may thrive and decent jobs are created across the country.”
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