Posted November 14, 2020 at 12:00 PM EST
Canada’s new permanent resident continues to suffer from the coronavirus pandemic.
New Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data shows Canada welcomed 15,025 new immigrants in September 2020.
This is low compared to the 35,000 immigrants Canada welcomed in September 2019.
In total, Canada took in around 143,500 immigrants between January and September, which means it will be under 200,000 immigrants by the end of the year. Canada welcomed 264,000 immigrants in the first nine months of 2019 and over 341,000 in the past year.
Days before Canada announced that it would close its borders to many international travelers in March this year, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said the country would target an additional 341,000 new immigrants in 2020.
Canada will not be able to achieve this goal for three main reasons. First, the pandemic has also disrupted the immigration system. The social distancing measures have impacted everything from being able to take official language tests like IELTS or CELPIP, to submitting biometric data, to obtaining visas from Canadian government agencies. Second, thousands of Permanent Residence (COPR) holders exempt from Canada’s coronavirus travel restrictions are stuck overseas because their COPRs expired during the pandemic. Third, Canada’s coronavirus travel restrictions do not allow people who received their COPR after March 18 to enter Canada unless they fall under an exemption.
At the same time, the pandemic is temporary and Canada confirmed two weeks ago that it has continued to commit to welcoming high levels of immigration in the future.
In late October, Mendicino announced Canada would significantly increase its immigration targets to offset the decline in immigration this year.
As part of its new 2021-2023 Immigration Plan, Canada plans to accept over 400,000 immigrants per year, which will be the highest number in Canadian history.
To achieve these goals, the IRCC will hold express entry draws mostly every two weeks throughout the pandemic. In the last two Express Entry draws, 4,500 invitations to apply for permanent residence were issued in each draw, which is bound to the highest number per draw since Express Entry was launched in January 2015.
Express Entry is Canada’s flagship system for managing skilled worker applications.
The second major way Canada welcomes a skilled workforce is through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).
PNP draws were also held regularly during the pandemic, and Canada’s largest province, Ontario, held a drawing earlier this week.
In total, Canada’s provinces issued nearly 3,000 provincial nominations in October.
Canada will have fewer than 200,000 new permanent residents this year for the first time since 1999.
Nonetheless, the immigration system continues to operate and new candidates can join the Express Entry pool and submit applications through the PNP and other business class programs.
This is due to the fact that language tests such as IELTS and CELPIP, as well as educational assessment organizations (ECA) such as World Education Services (WES) are in operation. Individuals receiving COPRs can expect to enter Canada as soon as travel restrictions are changed or lifted altogether following the widespread use of coronavirus vaccines.
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