According to recently released data by the government body of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Canada welcomed around 24,665 new immigrants in the first month of 2021. This shows that Canada’s intake of new immigrants is slowly recovering to its pre-pandemic level.
Based on this data, January has been the strongest month for Canadian immigration since immigration levels dropped after March 2020. Before the global pandemic, Canada had an intake of 25,000 to 35,000 new permanent residents every month.
It has been observed that Canadian immigration is quite seasonal with immigration levels rising during the spring and summer months and declining during the end of each year. This is because families plan to settle in Canada towards the end of the summer holidays as it marks the start of the school year and the resumption of normal work schedules.
What Happened in 2020 with Canada’s Immigration Levels?
The normal cycle of operations was disrupted abruptly last year due to the travel restrictions imposed by the Canadian government to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Immigration levels plummeted and Canada was unable to welcome more than 20,000 immigrants each month until January 2021.
Canada was only able to invite around 184,370 new immigrants in 2020 which fell short of its actual target of 341,000. Based on this data, this was the worst year for Canadian immigration since 1998. According to the new Canadian Immigration Levels Plan for 2021-23, Canada plans to welcome over 401,000 new immigrants every year. If this target is achieved, it will be the highest level of immigration since 1913.
Will Canada be Able to Achieve Its Immigration Target?
The strong start to 2021 suggests that Canada may be able to achieve its ambitious immigration targets. If the seasonal immigration pattern stays the same, Canada can expect to invite over 35,000 new immigrants monthly by the summer.
Recently, IRCC conducted the biggest Express Entry draw in its history on February 13, 2021. This indicates that the government is ready to invite the maximum number of permanent residents possible this year. Since Express Entry applications usually take 6-9 months to process, a spike can be expected by November or December.
To keep immigration levels high while travel restrictions are still in effect, the IRCC seems to be focusing on transitioning the maximum number of temporary residents to permanent residency to meet its immigration targets.