Canada’s immigration levels increased significantly in May 2020.
Canada welcomed 11,000 immigrants compared with just 4,000 in April.
The top 5 source countries of these immigrants were India, China, the Philippines, the US, and Nigeria.
This new data by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) strongly indicates that the country’s immigration system is beginning to normalize amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In early 2020, Canada was off to a fast start until the coronavirus led to travel restrictions and disruptions to the operations of IRCC and other arms of the government.
In a given month, some 25,000-35,000 individuals officially become permanent residents of Canada.
Unsurprisingly, Canada’s immigration levels fell in March and then plummeted further the following month.
However, immigration levels almost tripled in May compared with April.
The higher immigration levels in May tell us that IRCC is able to process more applications compared with the start of the pandemic.
It also tells us that more immigrants exempt from Canada’s travel restrictions completed their landing process in May. Under Canada’s current travel rules, those with a confirmation of permanent residence (COPR) prior to March 18 are eligible to enter Canada.
The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) was the leading source of new permanent residents with 3,000 arrivals in May.
Over 2,000 of the new permanent residents in May were spouses and partners of Canadian citizens and permanent residents. They are also exempt from Canada’s travel restrictions.
IRCC’s data also shows that 1,300 immigrants gained permanent residence as skilled workers, primarily through the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP).
Another 2,000 gained permanent residence through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program.
Express Entry and PNP draws have occurred frequently since March.
IRCC has issued 35,100 invitations to apply (ITA) for permanent residence, primarily to CEC and PNP candidates. The rationale for this is it would be easier for such candidates to complete their permanent residence process than Express Entry candidates overseas. The assumption of this policy was that most CEC and PNP candidates are currently living in Canada, so they are less likely to experience coronavirus disruptions than those abroad.
However, on Wednesday, IRCC resumed inviting FSWP candidates under Express Entry. In fact, some FSWP candidates also currently live in Canada so it should be just as easy for them to complete the PR process as CEC and PNP candidates currently in the country.
Moreover, the return to all-program Express Entry draws suggests that IRCC is preparing to welcome even more immigrants from overseas towards the end of 2020 and early 2021.
Given the recovery in Canada’s immigration levels in May, plus the fact that more immigrants tend to complete their landing process during the summer, we should expect Canada’s immigration levels to continue to rise in the coming months.
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