Data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reveals that in the month of September 2020, Canada welcomed 15,025 new immigrants.
These figures are less than half compared to last year by this time. In September 2019, a total of 35,515 immigrants were welcomed in Canada.
Overall, between January and September this year, Canada welcomed 143,465 immigrants. Canada falls short of close to 2, 00, 000 immigrants by the end of the year to fulfill the 2020 immigration level plan. Canada welcomed 263,945 immigrants in the first nine months of 2019 and 341,175 overall last year.
Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino reported that the country will target 341,000 new immigrant arrivals in 2020. This announcement came just before its border closures because of the global pandemic.
For three major reasons, Canada will not be able to achieve this goal. First, the immigration system has been disrupted by the pandemic. From the ability to complete official language tests such as IELTS or CELPIP, to the submission of biometrics, to the obtaining of visas from the Canadian government authorities, social distancing policies have influenced all.
Secondly, the expiry of Confirmation of Permanent Residences (COPRs) during the pandemic have caused thousands of COPR holders who are excluded from Canada’s coronavirus travel restrictions to remain stuck in their home countries.
Thirdly, travel restrictions for Canada’s coronavirus do not allow people who have received their COPR after March 18 to reach Canada unless they come under an exception.
Mendicino revealed in late October that Canada would dramatically raise its immigration targets. This raise is to compensate for this year’s decrease in immigration.
Canada will seek to accept over 400,000 immigrants a year under the proposed 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Programme. This will be the highest amount in Canadian history.
IRCC has been hosting Express Entry draws mostly on a bi-weekly basis during the pandemic to allow it to achieve these goals. 4,500 invitations to apply for permanent residence were issued at each draw, in the recent two draws. These are the highest invitations per draw since the start of Express Entry in January 2015.
The Express Entry system is the application management system for handling skilled worker applications for permanent residency. The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is the second big way Canada welcomes skilled workers. During the entire pandemic, PNP draws have occurred regularly.
The immigration system, however, continues to work and new applicants can enter the Express Entry pool to achieve its targets. This is because Educational credentials Assessment organizations (ECA) such as World Education Services(WES) have resumed their operations. The language test centers for IELTS and CELPIP are also operational in many parts of the globe.