Canada’s planned immigration levels for the future

posted on November 6, 2020

November 3, 2020

By Steven Meurrens, Canadian Immigrant

On October 30, 2020, Marco Mendicino, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), tabled Canada’s 2020 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration. In this annual publication, Canada’s immigration department summarizes Canadian immigration statistics of the previous year and provides immigration levels planned for the future. This year’s report was especially anticipated because of uncertainty over how Canada’s planned immigration levels would be impacted by COVID-19.

Where we are coming from

 In 2019, Canada welcomed 341,180 permanent residents, the third highest level of immigration in the country’s history, exceeded only by 1912 and 1913. Of this, 74,586 were individuals who transitioned from temporary resident status to permanent. The economic immigration class continued to be the largest source of permanent resident admissions, at approximately 58 per cent of all admissions in 2019. Overall numbers were also up for Canada’s family reunification, protected person and humanitarian classes.

In 2019, IRCC also approved 404,369 work permits and 402,427 study permits. When accompanying family members are factored in, this means that the number of people who entered Canada with temporary status greatly exceeded the number of permanent residents admitted.

To briefly digress, when it comes to the impacts of immigration on Canada’s economy, housing prices, social cohesion, etc., the media often focuses on the number of permanent residents admitted to Canada.  However, as can be seen in the above statistics, the admission of permanent residents only tells part of the story regarding who is coming to Canada and is not reflective of the total number of people actually admitted to the country.

In the 2019 Report to Parliament on Immigration, IRCC stated that its goal in 2020 was to welcome approximately 341,000 people as permanent residents. This will not happen because of COVID-19. Although the official numbers will not be out till the end of 2020, it is anticipated that the number of permanent residents admitted to Canada will be roughly half of what was planned. There have been similar decreases in both work permit and study permit approvals.

Where we are going

The 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan appears to take the 150,000 “missing immigrants” as a result of COVID-19 and distribute them evenly over the next three years. As a result, the previous goal of 351,000 immigrants for 2021 is now 401,000.  In the 2019 Report to Parliament on Immigration, IRCC stated that it planned on welcoming 361,000 immigrants in 2022. It is now 411,000. The plan for 2023 is now 421,000.

There are several things to note about these projections.

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