Canada immigration news: Canada is the fastest-growing G7 country despite the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic thanks to its open-door immigration policies over the five years that ended in 2021, figures reveal.
“Most of that growth is attributable to more people arriving here from around the world to start a new life,” notes Statistics Canada in a statement released on Wednesday.
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“Approximately 1.8 million more people were calling Canada home in 2021 compared with five years earlier, with four in five of these having immigrated to Canada since 2016.”
Canada Turning To Immigration To Deal With Labour Shortages
Canada isn’t just growing faster than other G7 countries. Its growth is almost twice as fast as that of other G7 countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.
On the Twitter social media platform, many made comments both for and against immigration in response to Statistics Canada’s 2021 census data release on Feb. 9.
Most of those who waded in on the immigration issue voiced concern about the availability of jobs and Canada’s current dire labour shortages.
“Canada is rich,” tweeted one user. “Why not train our own instead of robbing poorer countries of their scarce human capital?”
But another Twitter user summed up Ottawa’s priorities in trying to attract economic immigrants to fill jobs now going begging for a want of qualified Canadian applicants.
“We have a labour shortage,” tweeted that user. “We need doctors, engineers, scientists, nurses, care-aides – and immigrants are filling these roles!”
At the outset of the pandemic, in 2020, immigration to Canada slowed to a trickle as border closures and travel restrictions hampered the ability of immigrants to come to Canada. Since about 80 per cent of Canada’s population growth comes from immigration, the country’s rate of growth also took a hit with the arrival of COVID-19.
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“The pandemic slowed population growth from a record high in 2019, up 583,000 or 1.6 per cent (compared to the previous year), to its lowest growth rate in a century in 2020, up 160,000 or 0.4 per cent (over 2019),” notes Statistics Canada.
Despite the challenges the pandemic posed for immigration, Ottawa remained bullish on it and welcomed more than 401,000 new permanent residents to Canada last year. The country is hoping to welcome another 411,000 immigrants in 2022.
Many people fled the bigger cities last year, often out of a desire to move to smaller communities that were perceived to be safer with regard to COVID-19. That led to the reversal of some longstanding population trends in Canada.
“For the first time in the census since the 1940s, the population of the Maritimes grew at a faster pace than the Prairie provinces, due to rising immigration levels and an influx of Canadians migrating from other parts of the country,” notes Statistics Canada.
“Yukon’s population, up 12.1 per cent, grew at the fastest pace nationally from 2016 to 2021 and, among the provinces, Prince Edward Island experienced the fastest growth, up eight per cent.”
Foreign nationals considering a move to Canada can gain their permanent residence in five ways.
Express Entry Allows Foreign Nationals To Submit Profile To Pool
Under the Express Entry system, Canada receives immigration applications online. Applicants who meet eligibility criteria submit an online profile known as an Expression of interest (EOI), under one of three federal immigration programs or a participating provincial immigration program, to the Express Entry Pool.
Candidates’ profiles then are ranked against each other according to a points-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The highest-ranked candidates will be considered for an ITA for permanent residence. Those receiving an ITA must quickly submit a full application and pay processing fees, within a delay of 90-days.
Then, there are the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP). Under a shared jurisdiction between Ottawa and the provinces, Canada operates a two-tiered immigration system, offering programs for skilled workers, at both federal and provincial levels.
Through the PNPs, almost all of Canada’s ten provinces and three territories can nominate skilled worker candidates for admission to Canada with the specific skills required by their local economies. Successful candidates who receive a provincial or territorial nomination can then apply for Canadian permanent residence through federal immigration authorities.
Immigrant investors can also come to Canada under the Start-up Visa program which can grant them Canadian permanent residence.
The program aims to recruit innovative entrepreneurs to Canada and link them with Canadian private sector businesses, such as angel investor groups, venture capital funds or business incubators, and facilitate the establishment of their start-up business in Canada.
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A designated venture capital fund must confirm that it is investing at least $200,000 into the qualifying business. Candidates can also qualify with two or more commitments from designated venture capital funds totalling $200,000. A designated angel investor group must invest at least $75,000 into the qualifying business.
International students can also eventually get their permanent residence in Canada by first coming under a Study Permit, then applying for a Post-graduation Work Permit, and finally seeking their permanent residents by applying through the Express Entry system.
Canada welcomes more than 350,000 international students every year. To be eligible to study in Canada these students must demonstrate that they:
- have been accepted by a school, college, university or other educational institution in Canada;
- have enough money to pay for their tuition fees, living expenses, and return transportation;
- are law-abiding citizens with no criminal records;
- are in good health and willing to complete a medical examination, and;
- can satisfy an immigration officer that they will leave Canada at the end of their authorized stays.
Once issued a study permit, these students can work in Canada under the following categories:
- on campus without a work permit;
- off campus with a work permit;
- in co-op and internship programs, where work experience is part of the curriculum, with a work permit.
Upon graduation, a foreign student may apply for a work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. Under this program, the work permit may be issued for the length of the study program, up to a maximum of three years.
The valuable work experience gained while an international grad works in Canada under a Post-Graduation Work Permit can count towards a permanent residence application through Canada Express Entry system.
Under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) used by Express Entry system programs, applicants for immigration are assigned points based on:
- Work experience;
- Language ability;
- Language ability and education of the applicant’s spouse or common-law partner;
- Possession of a job offer supported by a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment;
- Possession of a provincial government nomination for permanent residence, and;
- Certain combinations of language skills, education and work experience result in a higher chance of the applicant becoming employed (skill transferability).