For many of us, 2020 was a tough year. Global pandemic affected all areas of our life and people faced numerous of challenges. Many lost their jobs, businesses or loved ones. The words ‘social distancing’, ‘wash your hands’ and ‘stay home’ got a new, deeper meaning. The spread of the virus also affected ambitious immigration plans and slowed down the arrival and processing of applications.
Canada was forced to closed their borders, limit travel and adjust immigration policies. There was not much time and federal government needed to act fast.
In March, Canada restricted entry to most travellers who were not Canadian citizens or permanent residents, and their close relatives. At the end of March new Quarantine Act mandated to all incoming travellers to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. The only exceptions were some essential workers.
The stable flow of immigrants was greatly affected and the future of immigration was not known.
Thousands of students and foreign workers were not sure about their future.
Later in a month, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that international students can continue their studies online and upon graduation they may be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), as long as they completed at least half of their studies in person. In normal circumstances students must have pursued their studies on campus-in person but in many cases it was not possible. The global pandemic, travel restrictions and lockdowns forced IRCC to allow students to pursue their studies online.
IRCC also implemented policy to allow people to re-unite with their loved ones during pandemic. Immediate family of Canadians can enter Canada without prior written authorization. Canada also allows extended family members (such as siblings and grandparents) of a Canadian to travel to Canada but they need to obtain a permission from IRCC. This policy also applies to individuals in a long-term, exclusive dating relationship.
IRCC also adjusted policies for temporary foreign workers. Some of the applicants are receiving expediting processing, while others were allowed to restore their status after more than regular 90 days since they lost it. The duration of Labour Market Impact Assessments was extended from 6 to 9 months.
Despite the challenges Provincial Nominee Programs and Express Entry were actively selecting and inviting candidates to apply for permanent residence with more focus on applicants who were already in Canada.
The global pandemic proved how Canadian economy relies on immigrants. Due closed borders and travel restrictions employers experienced labour shortages in many sectors. New immigration levels announced on October 30 by Marco Mendicino, the immigration minister, should compensate the shortfall and increase admissions to Canada for new immigrants in coming years. Canada’s immigration targets for 2021 – 2023 are as per below:
2021: 401 000 immigrants
2022: 411 000 immigrants
2023: 421 000 immigrants
Currently, Canada is experiencing a 64% drop in the number of new permanent residents landing in the country comparing to 2019.A lot of them were not able to travel and their documents expired.
There is no doubt that recovery will take time but Canada incorporates Immigration in all their plans and emphasize the importance of newcomers in Canadian economy and growth. Despite the ongoing pandemic, future of Immigration looks promising and we should look into 2021 with hope!
LIVIN Immigration wishes everyone a healthy and prosperous New Year!
If you would like to be a part of Canada immigration plans, do not hesitate to contact us!
We will be happy to help you to explore your options!