Visa Crunch

Return to Normalcy: Canada welcomes 25,000 immigrants in January

Canada granted permanent residence to 24,665 people in January, a recent press release by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) revealed. The intake has been the highest since February 2020 and matches the pre-pandemic immigration levels.

Owing to the pandemic, Canada had to impose a nation-wide lockdown on March 18 last year. To co-relate, Canada used to welcome 25,000-30,000 immigrants before the pandemic. The 24,665-figure inches closer to the numbers that were prevalent before COVID-19. The Canadian government can finally heave a sigh of relief as, due to the pandemic, the immigration levels had dropped down to their lowest since 1998.

Only 184,370 new immigrants arrived in Canada in 2020, far below the IRCC’s 341,000 target. To address the shortage, Canadian Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino has announced that Canada will receive 401,000 permanent residents by 2021. If this claim is to be believed, this haul would surpass all migratory trends in Canada’s history.

A strong start to the year suggests that Canada is well on track to achieve its migration goal by the end of this year. If seasonal patterns are to be followed, we can expect the the migration levels to reach over 35,000 monthly in the summer. In addition, in all likeliness, there will be a noticeable spike in the number of permanent residents late in the year due to the recent Express Entry draw hosted by the IRCC on February 13. It usually takes at least nine months between a person invited to stay permanently under Express Entry and officially complete the arrival process. Hence, this spike should be recorded in November or December

The Express Entry to Skilled Workers is one of the pivotal programs that has been released by the Canadian government this year. Canada hit a historic high when they released the Express Entry numbers this year with the largest draw ever recorded of 27,332 CEC entries. This shattered the record by being 6 times larger than the previous highest draw.

Ramping up the immigration levels, the IRCC has said that it will resume admitting skilled workers from abroad once the pandemic situation improves. At present, many skilled workers who have obtained a permit to move to Canada are unable to enter the country due to travel restrictions.

Although it is still difficult to predict the future, the latest developments give hope. The new projections of immigration heavily rely on variables of the effectiveness of the vaccine and the ability of nations to restrain the new strains of the virus. Daily cases have been declining in Canada since January due to work from home-based orders and an increase in vaccine distribution. Farther south, the United States now supplies more than two million vaccines a day. Should such trends continue, Canada could be in a better position to consider relaxing its travel limits by the end of the year.

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