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Earlier this week, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) released data according to which Canada welcomed 70,000 new immigrants in the first quarter of 2021. These figures were well above the previous mark of 30,000-40,000 newcomers who came to Canada per quarter since the pandemic started. As per facts, in March 2021, around 22,425 new permanent residents landed in Canada.
In October 2020, Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced the 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan. Introduced to support Canada’s post-corona virus economic recovery, the plan aims for the highest levels of immigration in the history of the country. Canada now aims to welcome at least 401,000 immigrants per year, and the country is on the pace to achieve its set target in 2021, as per the early statistics. In the virtual event, Mendicino also emphasized modernizing the immigration system to facilitate immigrants from all over the world.
Last year, due to the coronavirus, Canada welcomed only 184,000 immigrants, which was very short of the 341,000 newcomers who landed in the country in 2019.
In the light of the travel restrictions because of the pandemic, the country prioritized transitioning individuals on a temporary visa to become permanent residents during the pandemic. IRCC is doing this via Express Entry and holding draws targeting individuals already in Canada. The federal program is the primary way that allows the country to welcome economic class immigrants, which accounts for over 60 per cent of the new immigrants who land in the country each year.
IRCC also stated that it aims to welcome at least 40,000 essential workers and graduates by the end of 2021.
The recent Express Entry draws targeted CEC (Canadian Experience Class) and PNP (Provincial Nominee Program) candidates. In the first quarter, CEC dominated the Express Entry system. On February 13, IRCC invited 27,332 CEC candidates to apply for Canadian permanent residence. The figures were almost six times larger than the previous Express Entry draw record.
Additionally, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada launched six new permanent residence streams to transition international graduates and essential workers to permanent residence. In just 24 hours, the English-speaking international graduate stream received 40,000 applications and reached its quota. These newly launched streams and Express Entry draws will provide significant tailwinds by the third and fourth quarter to IRCC and help the immigration department to achieve its target.
Applicants who applied from within Canada last year and received their ITA (Invitation to Apply) in this year’s first half can expect their PR status by the end of 2021. IRCC is also committed to landing at least 40,000 essential workers and graduates by the end of the year.
Moreover, a seasonal component also contributes to Canadian immigration. There is an increase in permanent residence landings during the summer months and warmer spring. Despite travel restrictions, there is a possibility that those allowed to immigrate to Canada will do so over the coming months when the weather is more favourable.
The fast start to 2021 accompanied by the aforementioned tailwinds will help Canada reach its target of welcoming 401,000 new immigrants this year.