Canadian Immigration News

184,370 New Immigrants Were Welcomed by Canada in 2020

2.5 minute read
"Canada welcomed 184,370 new immigrants in 2020, according to the new Canadian government data. The decline in immigrants was largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is being termed as the lowest immigration level to Canada, since the year 1998 when only 174,000 new immigrants were accepted."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  May 3, 2021
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Canada welcomed 184,370 new immigrants in 2020, according to the new Canadian government data. The decline in immigrants was largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is being termed as the lowest immigration level to Canada, since the year 1998 when only 174,000 new immigrants were accepted. 

Canada’s Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced in March 2020 that Canada aimed to welcome 341,000 new immigrants, same as last year. However, only days later, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had to impose new travel restrictions to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus. 

Why did Canada’s Immigration Level Drop in 2020?

According to the government body of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), immigration levels dropped around the same time travel restrictions were imposed and the immigration flow has yet to return to pre-pandemic level. Regardless, the government is taking steps to ensure that Canada maintains its intake of new immigrants. 

The Canadian immigration system at the provincial and federal level continued its operation all through the pandemic to process as many permanent and temporary resident applications as possible to help foreign nationals stuck due to travel restrictions. This was also done to help the immigration levels to recover quickly following the pandemic.

What is Canada’s Plan for the Future for Immigration?

The Canadian Immigration Levels Plan for 2021-2023 was announced in late October 2020. Canada aims to invite at least 401,000 new permanent residents every year till 2023. 

The Canadian government is confident that these targets can be achieved even during the pandemic. To achieve the target, IRCC will prioritize economic immigration through the federal Express Entry system which guarantees a processing time of 6 months. 

Canadian provinces are trying a similar approach through the various Express Entry aligned Provincial Nominee Program immigration streams. The government has also granted certain travel exemptions to close family members of Canadian citizens and family members to immigrate during the pandemic. 

Before the pandemic, Canada maintained an immigration level of around 300,000 new permanent residents every year. The annual immigration stood at 0.9%. In 2020, the immigration rate fell to only 0.5% and Canada welcomed only 200,000 new immigrants. 

This has been the second time that the immigration level was low since 1989. 

How has the Covid-19 Pandemic Affected Canadian Immigration?

The Canadian government is confident that the immigration levels will exceed 200,000 in 2021 as IRCC has adapted its operations after the pandemic. The major reason for immigration levels dropping last year was the lockdown and travel restrictions imposed by the federal government in the middle of March and May 2020. 

Since IRCC has worked its way around the restrictions by expanding its operations through remote working and more online processing, immigration levels should return to normal soon. However, the pandemic will continue to have an impact on the Canadian Immigration plan, it can be expected that the initial target will be achieved once the Covid-19 virus has been contained globally.

IRCC and the provincial programs will continue their operations in the meantime to maintain the immigration levels. In the recent Express Entry Draw held on March 8, 2021, IRCC invited 671 new permanent residents through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). 

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