The last year2020 was the year of the global pandemic, which put a significant impact on Canada’s immigration system.
Canada after bringing in approximately 341,000 new immigrants in 2019, Canada accepted high numbers of new immigrants during the start of 2020, however, immigration was altogether put on hold as the COVID-19 emerged as a global crisis in March 2020.
Canada’s has Covid-19 travel restrictions in place since March 18th, which limits the numbers of foreign nationals who can Canada. However, the major immigration programs which includes the Express Entry. Provincial Nomination Program (PNP) and other immigration programs continue to function.
The fluid nature of the coronavirus crisis will remain uncertain and we do not know as to what we can expect from Canada’s immigration system in 2021. But, there are few certainties in place which will benefit both Canada and future newcomers in 2021 and beyond.
However, Canada’s immigration system will not get back to normal till the time this pandemic is over. With the approval of vaccines, the pandemic will subside and get over by the end of 2021. Canada began the largest vaccination campaign in its history in December and aims to vaccinate all those who want COVID-19 inoculation by September 2021. This will ensure that the country and its immigration system comes back to the normal. The other point is that the global population and foreign nationals travelling into Canada should be vaccinated and free from the virus too.
Travel restrictions implemented by Canada throughout 2020 provide some sense of what COVID-19 policies it could continue to enforce even as the spread of the coronavirus begins to subside. This includes the 14-day quarantine law as well as the requirement to obtain a negative covid-19 test before travelling into Canada in place to help limit the spread of the virus within its borders.
It is important to stress that the crisis has not put any impact on Canada’s resounding commitment in bringing new immigrants, temporary foreign workers, and international students in the country. In fact, Canada has doubled down on this commitment due to the crisis.
Now Canada in its 2021-2023 period, aims to welcome over 400,000 new immigrants per year, which is the highest levels in its history.
It may be tuff for Canada to achieve this target in 2021 while the pandemic continues, the higher targets enable Canada’s federal and provincial governments to carry on with the process of immigration draws and process applications. This is because that even if Canada is unable to welcome as many new immigrants physically as it wants in 2021, the immigrants can be provided with necessary approvals so they can move to Canada at a later date.
The emergence of vaccines, however, enables the Canadian government to explore potential changes to its travel restrictions. For example, Canada can explore lifting travel restrictions on newcomers who have received a COVID-19 vaccine and who also provide a negative COVID-19 test before entering the country. The lifting of such restrictions would help newcomer flows recover, which would give the country’s economy a much needed boost. The rationale behind the 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan is that a significant increase in Canada’s newcomer intake is needed to support Canada’s post-COVID economic recovery.
We should get a clearer picture of the direction of Canada’s immigration system sometime in January. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is due to provide his cabinet members with new mandate letters. This has been delayed by the pandemic, but it is possible the letters will finally be unveiled this month. If so, a new mandate letter to Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino will outline what priorities the department IRCC will pursue over the years to come.
IRCC has also confirmed that lottery for the 2020 intake will occur in early 2021, most likely this month. Up to 10,000 applicants will be invited to submit sponsorship applications to bring their parents and grandparents to Canada. Sometime later this year, IRCC will open the 2021 PGP intake window, and & another lottery will be held, in which up to 30,000 applicants to sponsor their parents and grandparents will be invited.
It can be expected that IRCC and Canada’s provinces will have a normalized immigration system and use it to the best in 2021 At the very least, we can expect, and hope that 2021 will be a less turbulent year than 2020.
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