Essential workers, international graduate students, and Francophones in Canada will have six new pathways to permanent residence in May.
Canadian Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced the new programs on April 14. Three of the new programs will allow 90,000 new immigrants to obtain permanent status this year. The other three components for French-speaking immigrants will not have an admission limit.
The new programs will target temporary workers employed in hospitals and long-term care homes, those on the front lines in other essential industries, as well as international students graduating from Canadian educational institutions.
IRCC - Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will begin accepting application from May 6, under the below-mentioned immigration streams;
Streams will remain open until November 5, 2021, or until they have reached their limit. These new public policies apply to workers in 40 health professions, as well as 95 other essential jobs in a range of fields, such as caregiving and food production and distribution.
Graduates and workers must be proficient in one of Canada's official languages; meet general eligibility requirements; and be present, authorized to work and work in Canada at the time of their application for eligibility. They must also reside in a Canadian province other than Quebec.
The Minister of Immigration was alluding to the idea of ??facilitating the immigration of temporary residents since the fall, after announcing the highest immigration targets Canada has ever known. Mendicino said the move would be necessary to bounce back from a year of reduced immigration. Canada did not admit enough immigrants in 2020 and, as a result, population growth fell to World War I levels.
Over the next three years, Canada aims to welcome approximately 1.2 million new immigrants. Around 401,000 are expected to become permanent residents in 2021 alone, but travel restrictions linked to the coronavirus are still in place, preventing many from immigrating to Canada.
Canada's immigration system already aims to facilitate transitions to permanent residence for those already residing in the country. Many of Canada's more than 100 economy-class programs award extra points to those with Canadian experience or specifically existing to facilitate such transitions. This is largely a function of Statistics Canada research which shows that the Canadian experience before admission promotes integration into the country's labor market. Also, facilitating these transitions has been key for Canada to promote the wider distribution of immigration across Canada. This approach helps small towns and communities retain temporary foreign workers and international students who have established local roots.
Domestic candidates targeted in Express entry draws
One of the ways Canada is working to meet the 2021 target is to invite huge numbers of potential immigrants to apply for permanent residence, who are living in Canada during a pandemic. Approximately every two weeks since the start of the year, Canada has held Express Entry draws that only target applicants eligible for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or who have previously been nominated under a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Express Entry is Canada's primary way of welcoming economic class immigrants, accounting for more than a quarter of the annual admissions of newcomers to Canada.
On February 13, Canada invited every eligible candidate to the Express Entry Pool CEC, for a total of 27,332 candidates. This was by far the largest and most historic draw since the launch of Express Entry in January 2015. Before this draw, the largest number of Express Entry applicants IRCC had ever invited at any given time was 5,000. The Immigration Department said the reason for the draw was part of an effort to help more immigrant applicants who were working in Canada stay in Canada. About 90 percent of CEC applicants are already in Canada, which means they will not be affected by travel restrictions and may not have the same difficulties collecting all of their documents as foreign applicants.
More ways Canada seeks to meet its 401,000 newcomer goal
Canada is also counting on other economic categories to transition people from here to permanent residence this year to support its goal of 401,000 immigrants. In addition to the aforementioned Express Entry system and PNP, programs such as the Atlantic Immigration Pilot and other federal streams will allow more people to gain permanent residence this year.
IRCC and the Province of Quebec have already shown that they are not opposed to finding new ways to help Canadians stay here permanently long beyond the pandemic. The so-called guardian angels have won the hearts and minds of Canadians over the past year. These are asylum seekers who are working on the front lines of Canada's health care system to help fight the pandemic. As of December 2020, IRCC and Quebec began accepting applications for permanent residence from these individuals as a thank you for their contribution to Canada during the pandemic.
Family class immigration also contributes to the target of 401,000 Canadians. Family class immigrants are exempt from Canada's travel restrictions and may enter the country to complete their establishment of permanent residence. They represent more than a quarter of the newcomer admissions that Canada is seeking as part of its immigration levels plan.
Immigration: Key to Canada's economic recovery
Long before the pandemic, Canadians turned to immigration to help alleviate its demographic challenges, caused by an aging population and low fertility rate.
Since 1971, Canada's fertility rate has been below the replacement level of 2.1 babies per woman. This period of low fertility came after the baby boomer generation, where the birth rate was more than three children per woman between 1946 and 1965.
This decade will see Canada's population of 9 million baby boomers reach retirement age. Without enough new workers to fill the gaps in the labor market, Canada will not be able to maintain a competitive economy. Also, the younger generation will bear the pressure to care for an older generation that is overtaking them, and in turn, the older generation may not receive adequate care.
As such, Canada seeks higher immigration to support the population and labor force growth it needs to maintain its high standard of living.
Although it is still early days, Canada already appears poised to meet its goal of 401,000 newcomers this year, in large part thanks to its efforts to facilitate permanent residence transitions for those already here. IRCC data shows Canada welcomed nearly 50,000 new permanent residents in the first two months of 2021.
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