As it strives to welcome 401,000 immigrants in 2021 despite COVID-19 travel restrictions, Canada is to create new pathways to permanent residence for more than 90,000 temporary workers and international graduates.
Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced on Wednesday (April 14, 2021) measures that will see a swathe of candidates with temporary status get the chance to become permanent residents this year.
The breakdown of the numbers will see 20,000 health care workers, 30,000 in other essential occupations and 40,000 international graduates become permanent residents.
Francophone and bilingual candidates outside Quebec will get their own dedicated pathway.
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Any international graduate who graduated from a Canadian university or college in the last four years can apply to become a permanent resident under the new pathways.
New streams will cover 40 health care occupations, from doctors and nurses to lower-level jobs such as home support workers.
A further 95 non-health occupations will include bus, taxi and delivery drivers, grocery store workers, harvesting labourers, as well as workers in essential trades and services.
Those that reach permanent resident status can then apply to bring in relatives through family class immigration streams, who are currently covered by exemptions to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Second-Highest Monthly Total Since COVID Restrictions Began
Canada welcomed the second-highest monthly total of new immigrants since COVID-19 travel restrictions were put in place in February, recording 23,375 new permanent resident arrivals.
The latest federal government figures show 48,025 newcomers were welcomed in the first two months of the year, slightly below the total for the same period of 2020, but significantly higher than any other two-month period during coronavirus restrictions.
However, with Canada welcoming roughly 24,000 new immigrants per month during 2021, it will have to significantly step up the numbers later in the year to meet its annual target of 401,000 newcomers.
If the current rate was maintained throughout the year, Canada would welcome in the region of 288,000 new immigrants in 2021.
The major positive is that January and February are the first time Canada has welcomed more than 20,000 new permanent residents in a month since March 2020.
With significant moves such as issuing 27,332 Invitations to Apply in a single Express Entry draw on February 13, Canada has shown it is up to the challenge of meeting its ambitious targets.