On April 19, 2021, the Canadian government announced the budget for 2021 as a part of their Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience After Shattering the Effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic. The government recognized in this budget that the Canadian immigration system will play an imperative role in helping the Canadian economy in post-Covid recovery.
The budget focused on key areas that require development and put in motion Canada’s plan to ensure resumption of international travel once the pandemic has been controlled. The importance of immigration in post-pandemic recovery was also highlighted in Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan for 2021-23. In October 2020, Canada announced that it aims to invite over 401,000 new immigrants every year for the next 3 years.
While the government body of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) was still operating throughout the pandemic, restrictions on international travel made it difficult to invite foreign nationals from overseas for permanent residence, leading to a drop in Canada’s immigration level in 2020. Even though the target for 2021-24 has been set, it is still very much in question on how Canada will achieve it, especially when many countries around the world have been overwhelmed by the second or third wave of the pandemic.
How Will Budget 2021 Help Canadian Immigration?
Budget 2021 identified key areas in the Canadian immigration system that require attention and development. By focusing on those areas, the budget will allocate the resources accordingly, ensuring that Canada achieves its immigration levels target. Here are the key priorities of the budget 2021:
Expedite the Express Entry system:
Express Entry is the fastest and most common way of gaining permanent residence in Canada. It was introduced in 2015 to encourage the economic immigration of highly skilled foreign workers. The Express Entry system nominates applicants for permanent residence based on their merits, education level, work experience and language proficiency. Applicants in the Express Entry pool receive a Comprehensive System Ranking (CRS) score based on their merits. The Express Entry system holds regular draws to nominate the highest scoring applicants for permanent residence.
A new proposal has suggested amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) to provide the minister of the IRCC with the authority to use Ministerial Instructions to nominate applicants from the Express Entry pool who are best suited to fill Canada’s labor market needs. This means that Express Entry may conduct draws based on the applicant’s work experience rather than their CRS score.