Canada welcomed 11,315 new permanent residents in August 2020 according to the latest Canadian government data.
This was lower than the 13,645 immigrants welcomed by Canada in July.
In addition to welcoming fewer immigrants in August than the prior month, Canada’s August 2020 total was well short of the nearly 31,600 immigrants it welcomed in August 2019.
The coronavirus pandemic is to blame, of course, with Canada imposing travel restrictions since March of this year to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
Between January and August of 2020, Canada has welcomed 128,400 immigrants. Based on current trends, it appears Canada’s permanent resident intake will fall short of 200,000 immigrants this year for the first time since 1999.
The fall in Canada’s immigration levels is temporary and is a function of travel restrictions and other pandemic-related disruptions. Canada remains committed to welcoming high levels of immigration.
The first sign of commitment to immigration is ongoing Express Entry and Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) draws throughout the pandemic. Bi-weekly Express Entry draws are continuing with Canada just having issued a record-breaking total of permanent residence invitations to successful skilled worker candidates during the third quarter of 2020.
The PNP is also very active with the likes of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia each hosting PNP draws during the pandemic. Quebec, which operates its own immigration system, held its largest draw in over one year last week.
In late September, the Canadian government outlined immigration as a key priority to supporting Canada’s economic recovery following the pandemic.
In the announcement, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) stated it would accept 30,000 PGP applications in 2021. Given the PGP usually accounts for around 6 per cent of all new immigrants to Canada each year, the 2021 PGP target is more indication Canada remains committed to welcoming over 300,000 immigrants next year and beyond.
Canada will announce its 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan later this month.
The announcement will shed more light on the country’s immigration plans beyond the pandemic.
While Canada’s August 2020 permanent residents intake was much lower than usual, and the pandemic will likely keep newcomer levels low in the short run, we can expect a significant rebound in Canada’s immigration levels as soon as next year.