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.
More pathways to permanent residents for those already here with temporary status are also set to be announced by Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino.
Canada’s strategy is to invite candidates already in the country on a temporary basis.
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Strict COVID-19 restrictions on non-essential international travel imposed by Ottawa since March 2020 dramatically cut the number of newcomers by almost half in 2020, to 184,370 from 341,175 in 2019.
Despite the restrictions still being in place, Canada has once again displayed its ability to pivot its immigration policies to attract newcomers to help foster the economic recovery as the coronavirus crisis abates.
Canada has enhanced screening measures and pre-arrival testing for anyone entering the country’s land or air borders and a 14-day quarantine for non-essential travellers.
As of Monday February 22, all travellers coming to Canada by air for non-essential reasons need to stay in government-designated hotels for three days at their own costs after getting a COVID-19 test.
Ottawa recently extended its restrictions on international travel to Canada and the Canada-U.S. border until April 21.
Canada currently has exemptions in place for the following people, provided they are travelling for a non-discretionary reason.
- Seasonal agricultural workers, fish/seafood workers, caregivers and all other temporary foreign workers.
- International students who held a valid study permit, or had been approved for a study permit, when the travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020. More international students will be allowed to travel from October 20 under a new exemption.
- Permanent resident applicants who had been approved for permanent residence before the travel restrictions were announced on March 18, 2020, but who had not yet travelled to Canada.
- Immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents are also exempt if entering to be with an immediate family member for at least 15 days.
- Extended family members of citizens and permanent residents, plus foreign nationals travelling on compassionate grounds.
Canada’s vaccine campaign is slowly kicking into gear, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reassuring Canadians that anyone wanting to be vaccinated will have their injections by the end of the summer.