The coronavirus pandemic had a devastating impact on Canada’s immigrant intake in April.
In a typical month, some 25,000-35,000 new permanent resident (PR) visa holders will complete their landing in Canada.
However, only 4,100 new PRs could complete this process in April due to the major disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In new information released today, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data shows the country’s PR intake fell by 78 per cent compared with March 2020.
The March 2020 intake fell by 26 per cent compared with February.
Coronavirus-related disruptions have included IRCC employees working remotely, thereby limiting Canada’s PR processing capacity, travel restrictions limiting some PR visa holders from coming to Canada, reduced flights by airlines around the world, among other challenges.
Canada’s monthly immigration data for previous decades is not readily available, however Canada’s April 2020 PR intake may have been the lowest since the 1940s when global immigration was reduced due to the Second World War.
Despite the pandemic, IRCC has not indicated that it plans to change its 2020-2022 Immigration Levels Plan.
The plan states that IRCC will aim to welcome over 340,000 immigrants annually in the coming years.
Achieving Canada’s 2020 PR target seems unlikely due to the pandemic but the Canadian government remains unwavering in its commitment to welcoming immigrants.
Recently, immigration minister Marco Mendicino has made several remarks that immigration will continue to be key to Canada’s economic success and post-coronavirus recovery.
Both IRCC and provinces across Canada have continued to invite immigration applicants to apply for permanent residence since the start of travel restrictions.
IRCC has held 11 Express Entry draws since the restrictions took effect on March 18 with Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores continuing to decline.
IRCC is also expected to hold two more Express Entry draws this week.
These draws are also inviting immigration candidates who are outside of Canada. One example of this is Ontario’s PNP draw last week.
New signs indicate that Canada is preparing to increase its intake of foreign nationals in the near future.
Canada announced a significant easing to its travel restrictions yesterday for immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
IRCC is exempting overseas biometrics requirements for some foreign workers, and has indicated it will aim to process as many study permits as possible in time for the start of the fall 2020 academic semester.
As such, it appears likely that Canada will also seek to accommodate the arrival of more permanent residents in the coming months. Canada will provide more details before its travel restrictions expire on July 1.
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