Canada may raise caps on temporary immigration programs, Minister Mendicino says

Alexandra Miekus
Published: May 16, 2021

About one week after launching an ambitious immigration program that aims to admit up to 90,000 permanent residents to Canada, the immigration minister is hinting at the possibility of raising that cap.

"I'm open to discussion on whether or not to review the current caps," Canada’s Immigration Minister,  Marco Mendicino, was quoted saying in the Globe and Mail.

The minister remained cautious in his remarks, however, saying his department must first carefully assess the early results of the program, including the quality of applications that have been received, and how quickly the target of 90,000 admissions will be reached.

"At that point, I will certainly have a much greater line of sight on whether or not there may be a need to revisit the caps," he said.

The new temporary program, which opened on May 6, has so far received an encouraging response from prospective permanent residents.

One of the six streams available under the program, the one for international graduates, reached its cap of 40,000 applicants in just over 24 hours. To date, two other streams targeting essential workers and health care workers have received nearly 10,000 applications out of a total cap of 50,000 applications. There have been far fewer applications submitted under three streams reserved for French-speaking or bilingual candidates, largely because these streams do not have a cap and are open until November 2021.

Find Out if You’re Eligible for Canadian Immigration

The launch of this new permanent residency pathway is part of a multi-layered approach by the Canadian government to achieve the highest levels of immigration in its history in order to help support the country's post-coronavirus economic recovery.

The pandemic, which has exacerbated capacity and processing times for permanent residence applications, has forced the Canadian government to adopt new strategies to address these issues.

In addition to creating new pathways to permanent residency and issuing record numbers of invitations to immigration candidates via the Express Entry system in recent months, Canada is also now moving to fully modernize its immigration processing system.

The recently tabled federal budget provides nearly $430 million to create a new digital platform that will replace the Global Case Management System (GCMS) used to process citizenship and immigration applications, with the goal of enabling more efficient and timely processing.

Canada aims to welcome at least 401,000 immigrants per year, and the latest statistics suggest that it may be on course to meet its targets.

Data released by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) this week show that the country admitted over 70,000 new immigrants in the first quarter of this year. This is significantly higher than the 30,000 to 40,000 newcomers per quarter since the pandemic began.

Find Out if You’re Eligible for Canadian Immigration

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