Canada sets a record in yearly landings
by Michael Scott
We have been tracking the number of landings in Canada for several months. The question has always been whether Canada can meet the ambitious targets set for the calendar year. After the disappointments of 2020, Canada had to do something to make up the shortfall in landings to help with the economic recovery. The COVID pandemic is far from over, but the recovery plan is continuing. It is time for the government and especially the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) to take their bows. The yearly target has been met and exceeded. The headlines should read Canada has landed over 400,000 new permanent residence for the only the second time since the 1867 Confederation.
The country has set a new record for permanent residence landings, but the numbers need some explanation. Prior to the onset of the pandemic, Canada had set and failed to meet the goal of 341,000 for 2020. It was disappointing but not surprising, given the width and breadth of the pandemic, that 2020 witnessed only 184,000. This can be readily understood in terms of travel restrictions, closed borders and quarantines. These conditions improved throughout 2021 and there was hope of an economic turnaround, not just for Canada but the world at large. Things have improved but now are worsening with the onset of yet another variant, Omicron, which is more contagious and afflicts both vaccinated and unvaccinated alike. The former, thankfully, appear to less at risk of serious illness, but the consequences of restrictions and deaths are always present.
IRCC was able to set new records with landings, but the measure is not exactly the same as previous years, such as 2020. It should be noted that landings do not necessarily equate to admissions. There are landings of those entering from abroad but also those who are already in the country, such as foreign students, international foreign workers and application from others inside the country, such as family class members, humanitarian and compassionate applicants and others.
Prior to the pandemic, most new immigrants came from overseas. One consequence of the travel restrictions and dangers of infection from abroad is that IRCC focused on finding creative ways to transition those in the country to permanent status as a way to increase our population and provide the manpower needed to fuel economic recovery. The rationale is that the country could overcome the disruption in the manpower supply from COVID by landing those who were already inside the country. Persons who chose Canada to visit, to study or to work are readily available and the country needs only to adjust processing and programs to achieve these goals. Yes, they do work, and the proof is in the landings.
IRCC does have the capacity to redesign programs, even on a temporary basis, to increase the number of landings. The Express Entry draws in 2021 reflect this change with major increases in the number of Canada Experience Class (CEC) candidates who were landed. The six major streams introduced in the year contributed to 90,000 international students and foreign workers landing inside the country.
The new immigration minister, Sean Fraser, spoke in positive terms about immigration goals heading into 2022. “Last year we set an ambitious goal. Today, we achieved it,” proclaimed the minister. “This is a historic moment for our country, as we welcome the highest number of newcomers in a century. 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 safely 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.”
Minister Fraser speaks for all who applaud creative ways to keep temporary residents in Canada and attract more from abroad. Canada can look positively to meet the Immigration Levels Plan 2021-2023, of 411,000 in 2022 and 421,000 in 2023. It is possible that the department will announce even higher numbers for the next two operational years in the new Immigration Levels Plan to be announced in February 2022. Now if only the variants, including Omicron, would be better controlled. We can always pray for a better future. Happy New Year.
Michael Scott is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC, R525678) who has 30 years of experience with Immigration Canada and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. He currently works as a licensed consultant with Immigration Connexion International Ltd. Contact him at 204-691-1166 or 204-227-0292. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.