Canada immigration news: Canada is well on track to meet its 2021 goal of 401,000 newcomers after welcoming 46,315 new immigrants in October.
The figures were revealed in an interview by Immigration Minister Sean Fraser with Bloomberg, in which he also said he was happy to increase immigration numbers further.
It has already welcomed 313,700 newcomers this year, the vast majority of whom were already in the country on a temporary basis.
Between January and October, that represents an average of 31,370 new immigrants per month in 2021, already an extremely high total compared to recent years.
To reach its ambitious target, Canada needs to hit 43,650 new permanent residents per month in November and December.
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Against the backdrop of COVID-19, if Canada manages to achieve what has looked an overly ambitious target all year, it would represent an incredible achievement.
How is Canada Welcoming So Many New Permanent Residents?
Canada is achieving such high monthly newcomer levels because of various factors during 2021.
Firstly, it conducted a mammoth Express Entry draw back in February, issuing an unprecedented 27,332 invitations to Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates. An estimated 90 percent of these candidates were already working in Canada.
Then came the TR to PR Pathway, in which a further 90,000 permanent resident applications were targeted from healthcare workers, other essential workers and international students. Again, these candidates were already in Canada on a temporary basis.
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Next came the gradual easing of travel rules, in place since March 2020 due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
From an immigration point of view, the crucial step was to finally allow candidates holding Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR) documents to travel to Canada. Previously, only those with a CoPR dated before March 2020 were allowed to travel and take up their permanent residence.
With restrictions now eased at the U.S. border and for other international travellers, Canada’s immigration system is beginning on the long road back to normality.
When Will Invitations For Overseas Candidates Resume?
The one major step missing from Canada’s resumption of normal immigration practices is an Express Entry draw for overseas candidates.
With draws focusing on Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and CEC candidates since January, Ottawa has essentially ignored those candidates in the Express Entry pool applying from overseas.
This has created a two-step Canada immigration system in 2021, where candidates must arrive on a work permit first, before transitioning to permanent residence. However, with work permit processing facing massive backlogs, the system is facing a huge bottleneck.
While the decisions taken by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have become increasingly difficult to predict during COVID-19, it seems safe to assume that the return of all-program or Federal Skilled Worker draws is imminent.
In the Bloomberg interview, Fraser said the government has until mid-February to present a new Immigration Levels Plan to parliament. The current plan targets 411,000 newcomers in 2022 and 421,000 in 2023.