Immigration to Canada: a bright future, despite the COWID-19 challenges
5 minutes read
For most countries of the world, the year 2020 has been a crisis year, a difficult period that has not spared even highly developed nations like Canada. As recently as June 30 of last year, the Canadian government expanded the mandatory requirements of the Quarantine Act for anyone entering the country.
In the meantime, the government's actions had the immediate effect of reducing the performance of the Canadian economy by bringing a sudden halt to the flow of foreign skilled labour. The negative effects of the pandemic also affected those planning to move to Canada through the Express Entry immigration screening system.
How Canada's immigration policy was changing in 2020
Until the middle of last fall, Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) had to limit the categories and number of people eligible to enter the country through Express Entry because of the pandemic.
The exception was for participants in the federal Canadian Experience Class program and certain provincial programs. These categories of foreigners were entitled to a periodic draw, during which they were issued invitations to apply for permanent residence permits. As a result of the suspension of immigration flows, Canada faced an acute shortage of skilled workers.
Resumption of immigration programs
In November and December 2020, as quarantine restrictions were relaxed, the IRCC reopened access to those who qualified in the Foreign Skilled Worker and Foreign Skilled Trades categories.
In addition, in an effort to make up for the labor shortage caused by the restrictions, 5,000 foreigners received invitations to permanent residency in November 2020 alone.
In the latest draw, which took place on December 9, the minimum passing threshold for eligibility was lowered to 469 points. This significantly increased the number of immigrants eligible to apply.
In addition, in the last quarter of 2020, Canadian Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced plans to significantly increase foreigner admissions between 2021 and 2023 to help the Canadian economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and create jobs for middle-class Canadians.
In fact, they aim to increase immigration to about 1% of the country's population, which would amount to about 400,000 new residents in 2021. It is expected that 60% of foreigners will obtain permanent residency through provincial economic flows.
Recovering from the pandemic and the prognosis for immigrants
Although there has been a global rise in coronavirus cases and tighter travel restrictions since early 2021, with new measures such as the requirement to provide a negative COVID-19 test and a comprehensive quarantine plan before traveling to Canada, there is good reason for potential immigrants to be optimistic. The start of worldwide vaccination brings hope for a quick exit from the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to the drive to increase the number of new immigrants, the IRCC is undergoing a major process of automation:
- applicants can already submit most applications online;
- there are plans for further investments in reinforcing the capacity, development and digital transformation of Canada's immigration system.
One such example is a newly created online portal that allows new permanent residents to complete the permanent residency process much more quickly without an in-person interview.
Canada is deemed to be one of the top talent hubs in the world. It is predicted, that automating the registration and background check systems for immigration applicants will:
- reduce applicant wait times;
- provide a seamless immigration process for qualified individuals.
In conclusion, despite the temporary obstacles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the future is bright for those seeking permanent residency.
The Canadian authorities aim to further develop infrastructure in all provinces of the state, create new jobs, raise social standards, and improve the quality of life of its citizens and residents.
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