Immigration, Refugee, Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that they met their goal of welcoming 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021. By hitting this target, IRCC made history by welcoming the most newcomers ever in a single year.
“Last year, we set an ambitious goal. Today, we achieved it. This is a historic moment for our country, as we welcome the highest number of newcomers in one year in our history. I want to thank all the employees in my department, especially our Operations Sector, who made this possible. Canada is built on immigration, and we will continue to welcome the immigrants that Canada needs to succeed. I can’t wait to see the incredible contributions that our 401,000 new neighbours make in communities across the country.” – The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Canada has relied on immigration to support the country’s post-pandemic economic recovery. In October 2020, the Canadian government announced that they would increase immigration targets in response to the impacts of COVID-19.
IRCC faced significant challenges in meeting 2021’s ambitious immigration goal. From border closures to lockdowns, COVID-19 made it difficult for IRCC employees to process applications normally. To meet their target, IRCC modernized and streamlined immigration application processes. Throughout 2021, IRCC permanently improved the immigration process by digitalizing applications and adding resources and new technology.
In 2021, Canada also took extreme measures to meet immigration targets for the year despite the impact caused by the global pandemic. This included dropping the CRS cut-off to 75 for certain Express Entry candidates and announcing a temporary public policy that allowed certain temporary residents to apply for PR.
The Canadian government plans to welcome even more newcomers in 2022. This year, IRCC will target 411,000 new permanent residents, according to the 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan.
Immigration minister, Sean Fraser, mentioned potentially increasing these levels even further to meet labour market demand.
To meet these targets, Canada will likely need to return to all-program Express Entry draws. IRCC has been holding off on larger all-program draws until they have tackled the significant application backlog leftover from the pandemic. With pressure from opposition parties, and significant resources being allocated to this effort, IRCC has been processing applications at an unprecedented rate.
After falling short of immigration targets in 2020, IRCC’s recent announcement points to a return to pre-pandemic normalcy. Not only has IRCC met their immigration targets for 2021, but they have also paved the way for a better immigration system in 2022.
While Canada recovers from the impact of COVID-19, the government continues to look to immigration as the solution. As Canada continues to welcome new permanent residents at an unprecedented rate, the Canadian immigration landscape looks increasingly promising for prospective newcomers.
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