Canada has achieved the impossible! The country smashed the all-time immigration record by landing 401,000 immigrants in 2021. During the pandemic, this goal was achieved by the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) by focusing on transitioning temporary residents living in Canada to permanent resident status.
Ever since it was founded as a country in 1867, this is just the second time that Canada has landed over 400,000 new permanent residents. Canada had surpassed the 400,000 immigrant figures earlier only in 1913, but later on, with the onset of the First World War, immigration levels to the country dropped. The news was confirmed by an IRCC news release which also confirmed that Canada has broken its all-time record for permanent residence landings in a year.
Before the pandemic started, Canada had set a goal of welcoming 341,000 new immigrants in 2020. But with pandemic restrictions, Canada could land only 184,000 immigrants. To support its post-pandemic economic recovery, Canada announced it would target the arrival of 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021.
In Canada, an immigration landing can occur by:
❖ A temporary resident of Canada having their legal status change to permanent residence
❖ People reaching Canada from abroad and officially getting permanent resident status.
The Immigration Levels Plan target was achieved through a technicality by the IRCC the past year 2021.
Before the pandemic, nearly 70 percent of new economic-class immigrants were arriving from overseas and about 30 percent were already in the country when they got permanent residency. However in 2021, due to travel restrictions, this was impossible! IRCC has concentrated on transitioning temporary residents within the country to attain its newcomer goal on the grounds that those within Canada are less likely to be impacted by COVID-related interruptions. IRCC has focused operations to transition more temporary residents to permanent residents. Almost 70 percent landing is from within Canada and about 30 percent arriving from overseas.
This goal was achieved with innovative changes that include:
❖ Holding Express Entry draws that target Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates
❖ Launching six streams in May to offer pathways to permanent residence for 90,000 international students and temporary foreign workers living in Canada.
Canada had landed between 25,000 and 35,000 immigrants per month prior to the pandemic days. The figures were higher during the warmer spring and summer months. In 2021, Canada got off to a slow start and started increasing landings since June consistently landing over 35,000 new permanent residents each month. The recent months have marked more than 45,000 landings per month.
Now that IRCC has achieved its goal, the department will broaden its priorities in 2022. Canadian immigration minister Sean Fraser stated that Canada will continue to safely welcome the immigrants. He opined that communities across Canada will be extremely benefitted by the contributions of the 401,000 new immigrants.
According to the Immigration Levels Plan 2021-2023, Canada is looking forward to welcoming 411,000 new immigrants in 2022 and 421,000 immigrants in 2023. The Immigration Minister will be announcing the new Immigration Levels Plan by February 11, 2022, and hopefully, it may imply even higher targets for the coming two years.