Prior to the start of coronavirus lockdowns in Canada and around the world in mid-March, Canada was continuing to welcome high levels of immigration.
In fact, just days before lockdowns in Canada, the country’s immigration minister announced a new ambitious plan to welcome over 1 million new permanent residents between 2020-2022.
While Canada’s immigration system has since faced interruptions, the country is processing immigration applications to the best of its ability.
New data released by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provides an early look at where Canada’s new immigrants were coming from in the early months of 2020.
Up until the end of April, Canada welcomed 74,000 new permanent residents.
As has been the case over the last few years, India remained the leading source country of Canada’s new permanent resident (PR) visa holders.
They accounted for 24 per cent of new PRs in the first four months of 2020.
India is the leading source of Canada’s immigrants since many of its citizens speak English fluently and possess other key characteristics that help them become eligible for Canadian immigration such as having university and/or college credentials and professional work experience.
Many Indian immigrants also arrive to Canada from the U.S. since it can be difficult for H1-B visa holders to obtain permanent residence in the U.S.
The following comprise the top 10 source countries of the 74,000 people that gained PR in the first four months of 2020:
So far, immigration from China has been slightly higher in 2020 than in recent years. Chinese immigrants have accounted for nearly 10 per cent of newcomers compared with 9 per cent in 2019.
Filipino immigration to Canada has also remained fairly consistent (7 per cent in 2020 compared with 8 per cent in 2019).
As was the case in 2019, U.S. and Nigerian immigrants are rounding out the top 5. Immigrants from those countries have a major advantage in Canada’s immigration system due to their English-language proficiency, which accounts for a major component of the federal Express Entry system, Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), and other programs.
It remains to be seen how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the source countries of immigrants to Canada during the rest of 2020.
On the one hand, coronavirus-related disruptions are currently limiting the ability of new permanent residents to come to Canada from abroad. This may alter the distribution of immigrant source countries in the second half of the year.
On the other hand, there may prove to be little or no impact on Canada’s immigrant source countries. Reasons for this may include that individuals within Canada who receive PR later in 2020 are also from the same source countries, those abroad are eventually able to travel to Canada, and the new invitations to apply for permanent residence that have been issued since the start of the pandemic also go to nationals of these top source countries.
Despite the impacts of the travel restrictions, it is still in the interests of candidates to go ahead and submit their Express Entry profiles and immigration applications during the pandemic if they have the ability to do so.
Submitting a profile or application gives you a chance to receive an invitation to apply, or approval for permanent residence, and the chance to travel to Canada as soon as you are able to do so.
Even if you encounter some difficulties, IRCC is being more lenient during this time to help people achieve their Canadian immigration goals.
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