Canada is looking forward to welcoming a record 401,000 immigrants in 2021, 50,000 more than the pre-Covid target. Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino unveiled the future immigration targets on October 30, 2020. The only time when the country witnessed an influx of more than 400,000 immigrants was in the year 1913.
The rather ambitious figure for the year 2021, which is unlike the usual intake of 350,000 immigrants, has been determined in order to compensate for the fall of immigration in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The number of new permanent residents will further increase from 401,000 in 2021 to 411,000 and 421,000 in 2022 and 2023 respectively. The 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan intends to attract 60% of the total number of immigrants through economic pathways including the popular Express Entry system and Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). While over 100,000 immigrants enter through the Express Entry, PNPs also allow around 80,000 immigrants.
Image Source: IRCC 2020 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration
According to the initial 2020-2022 Immigration Levels Plan announced on March 12, 2020, the government was targeting an additional 341,000 newcomer arrivals this year. However, the Covid-19 travel restrictions led to a decline in the numbers, not letting it reach the immigration target. There has also been a 64% drop in the number of new permanent residents permitted in August 2020, as compared to last year.
Despite the impacts of the pandemic, the country is likely to break its Express Entry record this year along with ongoing Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) draws.
Canada, due to its ageing population, is aimed at maintaining high levels of immigration every year. Its Immigration numbers were higher between January and March of 2020, as compared to 2019, with around 70,000 immigrants at the beginning of this year against around 66,000 in the first quarter of 2019.
Canadian Chamber of Commerce's Senior director of workforce strategies, Leah Nord said that a greater number of international students would play an important role in bringing back the country's immigration situation to normal. The government further announced that it will make it easier for international students already in the country in becoming permanent residents during these unprecedented times.
As of today, 5% new immigrants in Canada, which was last achieved in 1913, would bring about 2 million newcomers.
Canada's 2020 Annual Report on Immigration: International Students
In 2019, Canada recorded a total of 402,427 study permit holders, out of which 11,566 became permanent residents. According to OECD International student mobility data, Canada had been ranked 7th among the OECD member countries with the highest percentage of international students in 2017.
Canada has, in fact, seen a steady increase in the number of study permit holders between 2015 and 2019 from nearly 200,000 in 2015 to more than 400,000 in 2019. International students are allowed to study at registered Canadian higher education institutions by the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada).
The country puts forth the Immigration Levels Plan every year to outline the newcomer intake target it wants to achieve over the next few years.