Canada’s 2020 immigrant intake will be the lowest since 1999.
Canada welcomed around 15,000 new immigrants in a month for the third time in a row, according to the Canadian government.
The latest Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data shows that the country welcomed 15,300 new permanent residents in November 2020, roughly the same level as in October and September. While this figure is an improvement from previous months, immigration to Canada remains low due to the pandemic.
In a given month, Canada usually welcomes around 25,000-35,000 new immigrants. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen this figure fall significantly since Canada imposed travel restrictions in March 2020.
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In the first 11 months of 2020, Canada welcomed 174,000 immigrants. On the balance of probabilities, Canada’s intake for all of 2020 will be below 200,000 new immigrants which would be the first time this has happened since 1999. By way of comparison, Canada welcomed over 341,000 new immigrants in 2019.
To date, June 2020 has proven to be the strongest month for Canadian immigration during the pandemic with the arrival of just over 19,000 new permanent residents.
Canada remains committed to high levels of immigration despite the pandemic. In late October, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced an ambitious plan that will see Canada target the highest levels of newcomers in its history.
Under the 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan, Canada will aim to welcome over 400,000 new immigrants per year, with some 60 per cent arriving through economic class pathways such as Express Entry. Express Entry is the main way Canada welcomes skilled workers.
Last week, Canada held two Express Entry draws. It is expected to hold its third draw of the year next week. In addition, Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) draws are occurring with the likes of British Columbia and Saskatchewan already holding draws in 2021.
Canada’s COVID-19 cases have increased significantly during a recent second wave, resulting in new public health measures being imposed across the country such as curfews. Canada has already begun the largest vaccination campaign in its history and aims to vaccinate all those who want COVID-19 inoculation by September 2021.
In the meantime, Canada continues to issue new immigration invitations to skilled worker candidates, and is also processing applications under the family class, and temporary resident streams such as for work permit holders and international students. A number of travel exemptions continue to exist and IRCC is frequently announcing new policies to help newcomers during the pandemic. For example, it announced last week it will provide work permit extensions to some of those in Canada who have been affected by the pandemic.