Canada aims to welcome 401,000 new immigrants in 2021, breaking the record set in 1913. It also welcomes newcomers over the next two years.
Data released earlier this week by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) shows that the country welcomed more than 70,000 new migrants in the first quarter of this year. This is well above the Q1 2021 figure of 30,000–40,000 newcomers, with Canada descending every quarter since the onset of the epidemic.
The IRCC is guided by the most ambitious immigration scheme in the country’s history. In late October 2020, Department Minister Marco Mendicino announced the 2021-2023 Immigration Level Plan.
Canada Welcomed Just 184,000 Migrants Last Year
By comparison, Canada welcomed just 184,000 migrants last year, due to coronavirus disruptions, much lower than the 341,000 newcomers welcomed in 2019.
The rationale for the current level of planning is to welcome a higher level of immigration to support economic recovery after the Canadian epidemic.
In light of its COVID-19 travel restrictions, Canada is prioritizing temporary residents to convert to the permanent residence during the pandemic.
The main way the IRCC can do this is by express entry draw which currently targets individuals in Canada. Express entry is the primary way in which Canada welcomes immigrants from the economic class. The economic class accounts for about 60 percent of the new immigrants Canada accepts each year.
Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
The Express Entry draw targeted the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates. The CEC comprises an overwhelming majority of successful express entry candidates in 2021.
On 13 February, the IRCC invited 27,332 CEC candidates to apply for permanent residency, nearly six times larger than the previous express entry draw record.
In addition, the IRCC launched six new permanent residency streams last week, aiming to convert approximately 90,000 essential workers and international graduates into permanent residency. The English-speaking international undergraduate stream reached its quota of 40,000 applicants in just 24 hours.
Express Entry Draw
The record-level express entry draw and these six new streams will give IRCC a significant tailwind by the third and fourth quarter of 2021 that will support its 401,000 targets.
Many people in Canada were invited under express entry last year and the first half of this year will get their permanent resident status by the end of this year. In addition, the IRCC recently stated that it aims to bring in at least 40,000 required employees and graduates by the end of the year.
In addition, there is a significant seasonal component to Canadian immigration. Permanent residence landings increase in the hot spring and summer months. Despite travel restrictions, there is a possibility that those allowed to migrate to Canada will do so in the coming months when the weather is more favorable.
This year’s IRCC’s rapid start in combination with the above tailwind has put Canada in a position to achieve its 401,000 targets this year.