Strong performances in both January and February put Canada on track to set a further record in immigration this year, possibly exceeding Ottawa’s already lofty immigration target for the year.
According to the most recent data from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the country welcomed a total of 72,510 people in both months. If this rate of immigration continues through the rest of the year, it would result in 435,060 new permanent residents in Canada in 2022. This year’s immigration rate to Canada is higher – albeit by less than three-quarters of a percentage point – than Ottawa’s projections. This year, Canada hopes to welcome 431,645 newcomers. So far this year, 35,330 new permanent residents have arrived in January, with another 37,180 arriving in February.
According to IRCC, over 108,000 newcomers were welcomed in the first quarter of 2022, though the official monthly figure for March has yet to be released. Immigration during the first two months of this year increased by nearly 50.8 percent compared to the 48,095 new permanent residents in the comparable period last year and increased by nearly 43.3 percent compared to the 50,610 new permanent residents in 2020.
The comparison to the first two months of 2019, the last full year before the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic, is perhaps the best indicator of how strong a start to the year 2022 has been. In the months of January and February of this year, Canada welcomed 38,895 new permanent residents. This was 33,615, or 46.3 percent, less than in the same months last year.
The one-time, temporary-to-permanent resident (TR-to-PR) programme, which began in May last year, has been a significant contributor to higher immigration levels in the first two months of this year compared to the same period last year. Although applications for the TR to PR programme closed in early November of last year, not all of them have been processed, and Ottawa’s most recent immigration levels plan calls for 32,000 new permanent residents to be admitted under that pathway this year.
Between 2022 and 2024, Canada’s immigration plan calls for the country to welcome more than 1.3 million newcomers.
“Immigration has helped shape Canada into the country it is today. From farming and fishing to manufacturing, healthcare, and the transportation sector, Canada relies on immigrants,” said Immigration Minister Sean Fraser earlier this year.
“We are focused on economic recovery, and immigration is the key to getting there. Setting bold new immigration targets, as outlined in the 2022-2024 Levels Plan, will further help bring the immeasurable contribution of immigrants to our communities and across all sectors of the economy.”
According to the levels plan presented by the immigration minister this year, Canada expects to welcome 447,055 people next year and 451,000 in 2024. The preceding plan, presented in late 2020, called for Canada to accept 411,000 new permanent residents in 2022 and 421,000 in 2023.
Ottawa promotes increasing levels of immigration as the key to resolving labour shortages and building the Canadian economy, citing everything from agriculture and fisheries to business management and the technology sector.
“Canada is among the world’s top destinations for talent, and immigration is a driving force behind the boom in our tech sector,” tweeted Fraser earlier this year.
“Bringing skilled workers to Canada helps businesses grow, and creates good jobs across the country.”
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