Canada, known as the land of immigrants, has a very low rate of natural population growth, that’s why it relies heavily on immigration and allowing highly skilled workers to become Canadian Citizens.
The country has been increasing its immigration efforts steadily since the late 1980s, in order to increase its population rate, labor force, and economic growth.
2021 was a year full of new policies, changes and upgrades that affected thousands of people living in Canada. When COVID-19 started in late 2019, most countries took unprecedented steps to ensure that they kept citizens safe. These steps included suspending all travels and issuing a nation wide lock-down.
Due to precautionary measures taken to prevent the spread of the virus, the immigration process was greatly affected.
Immigration After COVID-19
During the pandemic, the movement of permanent residents has changed significantly, dropping over 45% in 2020 when the borders were largely closed, so the government decided to focus on temporary residents in 2021, transitioning a greater number of residents living in Canada during the pandemic to permanent residence, this was done due to the travel restrictions implemented at the time, so instead of choosing foreigners for permanent residency, the government gave it to people already residing in the country, in order to keep the immigration levels as steady as possible while respecting the new travel regulations.
The plan entailed moving away from considering all candidates in Express Entry to primarily inviting CEC candidates for most of this year, including the historic February 13 draw that invited all 27,332 CEC candidates in the pool at the time (almost six-times more than the previous record for invitations in one draw). The plan also entailed launching a one-time special public policy enabling up to 90,000 essential workers and international graduates in Canada to apply for permanent residence.
Traveling to Canada during the pandemic
People who are eligible to enter the country are Canadian citizens (including dual citizens), people registered under the Indian Act, permanent residents of Canada, or protected persons (refugee status). Vaccinated international travelers are allowed to enter as of September 7 2020. Accepted Covid-19 vaccines in Canada are: Pfizer-BioNTech; Moderna; AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD; Janssen/Johnson & Johnson; Sinopharm; Sinovac; and COVAXIN, matching the World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Use Listing (EUL).
New Programs for the New Year
Canada has struggled to process express entry applications promptly over the past year due to COVID-19, which has put the entire world on hold for most of 2020 and a good part of 2021, leaving a backlog of 1.8 million applications in need of processing. However, if Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) can gain control over its backlog, 2022 could be a record-shattering year for Canadian immigration.
The Canadian Government has also announced some new programs that will be added by 2022 to the current immigration programs, such as The Atlantic Immigration Program; it was launched in 2017 to help employers in Atlantic Canada hire foreign skilled workers who want to immigrate to the country, and international graduates who want to stay after they graduate.
The program will officially start on January 1, 2022 to attract workers and drive economic growth that has been affected by the virus. The Canadian government will start accepting applications on March 6, 2022.
New Expectations for the New Year
In a recent news release, immigration minister Sean Fraser stated “Last year, we set an ambitious goal. Today, we achieved it. This is a historic moment for our country, as we welcome the highest number of newcomers in a century. I want to thank all the employees in my department, especially our Operations Sector, who made this possible. Canada is built on immigration, and we will continue to safely welcome the immigrants that Canada needs to succeed. I can’t wait to see the incredible contributions that our 401,000 new neighbors make in communities across the country.”
Under the Immigration Levels Plan 2021-2023, Canada is looking to welcome 411,000 new immigrants in 2022, and 421,000 immigrants in 2023. Fraser will announce the new Immigration Levels Plan by February 10, 2022, but he has suggested the new plan may entail even higher targets for 2022 and 2023.