Canada immigration news: Canada’s rate of immigration is skyrocketing this year even beyond the dreams of the Century Initiative, a non-profit organization which wants the country to more than double its population to 100 million by the year 2100.
The latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reveals the country welcomed 274,980 new permanent residents in the first seven months of this year.
That puts Canada on track to see immigration hit 471,394 new permanent residents in 2022, or 16.1 per cent more than the record-breaking 406,025 new permanent residents to Canada last year.
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Under its Immigration Levels Plan for 2022-2024, Ottawa had planned to welcome 431,645 permanent residents this year, 447,055 next year, and 451,000 in 2024.
At the current rate of immigration, Canada is poised to exceed not only its targets for this year and the next but even the proposed target for 2024 – and that one by 4.5 per cent.
At the Century Initiative, population growth for Canada is touted as vital for the country’s economic growth and prosperity.
“Growing our population to 100 million by 2100 would reduce the burden on government revenues to fund healthcare, old age security, and other services. It would also mean more skilled workers, innovation, and dynamism in the Canadian economy,” notes the organization on its website.
In its 2019 report, For A Bigger, Bolder Canada: Long-term Thinking. Starting Now, the Century Initiative proposed vastly increasing immigration to levels than considered to be so high the organization took pains to point out its plan was not “radical”.
Century Initiative Wants Canada To Welcome 500,000 Residents In 2026
Those targets proposed by the Century Initiative in 2019 were 400,000 new permanent residents in 2022, 420,000 new permanent residents in 2023, another 450,000 in 2024 and 475,000 in 2025.
The organization wanted immigration levels from then onward to be pinned at 1.25 per cent of the Canadian population, up from what was then an immigration rate equal to about one per cent of the population.
That would have meant an immigration target of 500,000 new permanent residents in 2026 based on a then-projected Canadian population of 40 million.
Canada has already almost reached that rate of immigration with the number of new permanent residents projected for this year to exceed 1.23 per cent of the country’s population, determined by Statistics Canada to be slightly more than 38.2 million as of Canada Day last year.
The Century Initiative considers these levels of immigration to be “neither radical nor unachievable” but points out the higher immigration levels need to be accompanied by more investment in settlement services and better systems to match immigrants to industries, sectors, and places where they are most needed and have the best chance of succeeding.
“Any solution to our suffering workforce numbers and aging demographics will need a large influx of highly-educated professionals, skilled trades-people, general labourers, and those with entrepreneurial experience and spirit,” note the Century Initiative report.
“We need younger immigrants, to bolster the foundations of an aging workforce pyramid and encourage international students who come to Canada to contribute to the dynamism of our educational institutions to stay and apply their skills and talents to Canada’s future.”
Immigration In First Seven Months Of This Year Is Up 135%
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada in 2020, immigration slowed to a trickle with only 184,590 new permanent residents during that entire year.
In the first seven months of this year, immigration is up by 158,050 new permanent residents, or 135.2 per cent, compared to the same period in 2020.
The country’s soaring immigration rate in the first seven months of this year also means 90,305 more new permanent residents, or almost 48.9 per cent more, than the 184,675 during the comparable period last year.
Even though there are still many cases of COVID-19 in Canada with new variants, immigration is up compared to 2019, the last full year before the pandemic.
In the first seven months of this year, Canada welcomed 78,130 more new permanent residents, or almost 39.7 per cent more, than the 196,850 during the comparable period in 2019.
Ottawa seems to be taking the Century Initiative’s message to heart.
Immigration Minister Sean Fraser is reportedly working on two new pathways which should bolster immigration even further.
One will reportedly allow international students to more easily get permanent residence in Canada.
The other, confirmed to be in the works by IRCC staff, will allow undocumented migrants to gain their permanent residence.
New Pathway In The Works For Undocumented Migrants To Get Permanent Residence
The IRCC is working with academic experts and industry stakeholders, including the Canadian Council for Refugees and Migrant Rights Network, on this pathway which could pave the way for the estimated 500,000 undocumented migrants in Canada.
As Canada works on creating that new pathway, the IRCC is building on the lessons it has learnt through its launches of innovative programs which have successfully transitioned individuals in Canada on a temporary status or with no status to permanent residency.
“Most notably, programs such as the Guardian Angels, the Out-of-Status Construction Workers Pilot, and the pathway to permanent residence for temporary workers and international graduates,” explained IRCC spokesperson Michelle Carbert.
The Guardian Angels special pathway was quickly put in place at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, between December 2020 and August 2021, for refugee claimants who were then already providing direct patient care in the health sector.
“Once we confirmed that applicants were eligible and had the required work experience for this program, also known as Guardian Angels, any removal order under which they were referred was suspended until a final decision is made on their candidacy,” said Carbert.
The temporary public policy for Out-of-Status Construction Workers in Toronto is another pathway to permanent residency.
It was launched in 2020 and then extended through to Jan. 2 next year – or until 500 applicants and their family members have been granted permanent residence, whichever comes first.
That pathway recognizes the economic contributions of these workers and aims to address their vulnerability due to their lack of immigration status, said Carbert.
TR-to-PR Pathway Last Year Was Open To Up To 90,000 Applicants
“The government is working with the Canadian Labour Congress, which refers applicants who have a strong likelihood of meeting the eligibility requirements of the public policy to IRCC,” she said. “Eligible applicants may apply for a temporary resident permit and an open work permit to remain and continue working in Canada while their permanent resident application is processed and finalized.”
Last year, the IRCC also launched the one-time Temporary Resident-to-Permanent Resident (TR-to-PR) pathway which was open to accept 90,000 temporary workers and international graduates already in Canada.
Almost 169,000 foreign nationals who had been in Canada with work permits gained their permanent residency last year, making up roughly 41.6 per cent of all new permanent residents to Canada in 2021.
“As we emerge from the pandemic, IRCC will continue to explore new avenues to help more foreign nationals already living in Canada to make this their permanent home,” said Carbert.
In the first six months of this year alone, the IRCC estimates that 30,238 asylum seekers came into Canada and made refugee claims through these unauthorized border crossings, 24,811 of which are still pending.
Last year, an estimated 79,052 such asylum seekers came in at these crossings, with 64,254 of those still pending.