Last week, the Government of Canada released the 2020 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration.
This report is published to provide Parliament and the public with an overview of the latest developments in immigration to Canada. It is published alongside Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan.
With the 2021-2023 immigration levels plan, Canada aims to welcome more than 400,000 immigrants each year, the annual report sheds additional light on how the federal government is aiming to meet its ambitious new goals in immigration matters.
Here are four highlights from the report:
Canada welcomed more than one million new immigrants in 2019
Canada welcomed over 1 million immigrants and combined study and work permit holders in 2019. Over 341,000 newcomers arrived as permanent residents. Over 400,000 study permits have been obtained. Another 400,000 have obtained work permits.
This reminds us that most newcomers to Canada do not arrive as permanent residents, but rather temporarily.
However, admissions of permanent residents to Canada will now catch up thanks to the 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan.
200,000 immigrants admitted under economic immigration programs in 2019
Canada welcomes nearly 60% of its new permanent residents in economy class and it will remain the same under the 2021-2023 immigration levels plan.
In 2019, nearly 200,000 immigrants were welcomed by Canada in the economy class. Of the total of 200,000 immigrants, just over 90,000 arrived through the federal government’s Express Entry program.
The vast majority of Express Entry immigrants arrived in Ontario (71%), followed by British Columbia. (17%) and Alberta (8%).
The disproportionate number of immigrants moving to Canada’s largest provinces is the reason the country has the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). One of the PNP’s immigration goals is to encourage skilled immigrants to move to the smaller provinces and settle there as permanent residents.
PNP accounts for the majority of economy class immigration to most provinces and territories in Canada, such as Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories depend heavily on it.
Overall, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia had comparable levels of PNP admissions in 2019.
IRCC to tackle their family class backlogs
The annual report shows the progress Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) was making in tackling family reunification backlogs before the pandemic. Of the more than 90,000 immigrants who arrived in Canada in the family class in 2019, almost 90,000 were in the spouse, partner, and child class.
IRCC has a standard for processing Family Class applications within 12 months of receipt.
The report notes that at the end of 2015, Canada had a backlog of 77,000 applications in the spouses, partners, and children category with a processing time of 21 months. By the end of 2019, that number had dropped to 13 months.
Processing has slowed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but IRCC announced in late September that it would aim to speed up the processing of around 6,000 spousal sponsorship applications per month through the end of 2020.
More francophones immigrants to be invited by Canada
Strengthening its Francophone character through immigration is one of IRCC’s main priorities. In recent decades, it has struggled to attract Francophone immigrants to communities outside Quebec, but it has increased its efforts to do so in recent years.
Recently, IRCC made changes that will award more points to French-speaking Express Entry applicants.
IRCC has made extra efforts that include launching a Francophone immigration strategy and investing more money in settlement services for Francophone immigrants. In 2019, immigration levels for Francophone outside Quebec increased by one percentage point, which is still low but represents a larger increase than in recent years.
Based on this rate of progress, Canada would meet its Francophone immigration target of 4.4% of newcomers to Canada settling outside Quebec by 2023.