Year 2020 has been a year full of turmoil as it was the year of the
Coronavirus pandemic. In 2019 Canada welcomed 341,000 new
immigrants & continued to accept high levels of new immigrants at the
start of 2020. But the immigration system was completely toppled when
COVID-19 emerged as a global crisis in March 2020. M & G
Immigration and Education consultants try to throw some light on
what holds in future for Canada’s immigration system.
The pandemic still continues to have a major influence on Canada’s
immigration system. Since March 18 th , Canada’s COVID-19 travel
restrictions have been in force limiting the numbers of foreign nationals
entering the country. Nevertheless, the Express Entry system, Provincial
Nominee Programs (PNP) and other forms of immigration processing
continue to be in operation.
The unpredictable nature of the coronavirus crisis has led to uncertainty
in Canada’s immigration system in 2021. But there are certain silver
linings in the horizon which will benefit both Canada and future
newcomers in 2021 and beyond.
Till the pandemic ends Canada’s immigration system will not return to
normal. It is fortunate that several vaccines have been introduced and
approved and the end of the pandemic is in sight. Canada has launched
the largest vaccination campaign in its history in December and by
September 2021, aims to vaccinate all those who want COVID-19
inoculation. Canada residents’ vaccination is crucial to returning the
country and its immigration system to normal. Ensuring the global
population and foreign nationals travelling into Canada are free from the
virus is also highly important.
Canada implemented Travel restrictions all through 2020 will continue till
the pandemic subsides. Canada could continue with its 14-day
quarantine law and that a negative COVID-19 test is mandatory before
travelling into Canada to limit the spread of the virus within its borders.
But all these factors have not influenced Canada’s resounding
commitment to welcoming immigrants, temporary foreign workers, and
international students. In fact, Canada has doubled its efforts due to the
crisis. Canada aims to welcome over 400,000 new immigrants per year,
under its new 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan – the highest levels in
its immigration history.
The higher targets enable Canada’s federal and provincial governments
to continue to hold immigration draws and process applications. The
approvals are given so that even if Canada is unable to welcome
immigrants in 2021 in pandemic times, they can immigrate to Canada
at a later date.
The Canadian government may explore potential changes to its travel
restrictions with the emergence of vaccines. Newcomers who have
received a COVID-19 vaccine and who also provide a negative COVID-
19 test before entering the country may get a lifting of travel restrictions.
This may help recover newcomer flows and would give the country’s
economy a much-needed boost. A major increase in immigration to
Canada intake is required to support post-COVID economic recovery of
In January, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is due to provide his
new mandate letter to Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino which will
outline what priorities the department of Immigration, Refugees and
Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will pursue over the years to come.
Another good news is that IRCC has confirmed that the Parents and
Grandparents Program (PGP) lottery for the 2020 intake will occur in
early 2021 and almost 10,000 applicants will be invited to submit
sponsorship applications. Later this year, IRCC will open the 2021 PGP
intake window, and will hold another lottery to invite up to 30,000
applicants to sponsor their parents and grandparents.
Altogether we can expect that IRCC and Canada’s provinces and
territories will seek to normalize the immigration system as far as
possible in 2021.