Over 1 million international students, temporary foreign workers, and new permanent residents arrive in Canada each year confirms that Canada is a desirable immigration destination. But does it still catch the fancy of the foreign nationals who want to move to a safe country to live, work, and study?
The answer is a resounding yes!
Here are few reasons why Canada remains a country of choice for newcomers, including but not limited to:
- Strong commitment to immigration by IRCC with a target of bringing more than 400,000 new permanent residents to Canada from 2021 – 2023
- High vaccination rates to Canadians, approving shots for children aged 12+ years are expected to ease travel restrictions and open up the economy faster
- Strong support of the federal and provincial governments to revive the Canadian economy with Covid-19 grants and fiscal stimulus
The federal and provincial governments in Canada are fully committed to helping newcomers to Canada succeed even as the pandemic rages across the world. The fact that IRCC spends more than approximately $2 billion annually on multiple immigration settlement services is just one huge example of this.
Let’s take a detailed look at the measures taken by IRCC and the Canadian Government to support people in fighting the pandemic related challenges while increasing immigration numbers to Canada:
2021 Canadian Budget Announcements (for immigration)
Canadian Federal Government just announced that the 2021 budget has many significant immigration proposals poised to be positive for newcomers to Canada.
- Open more than 90,000 permanent residency spots by accelerating domestic immigration and encouraging foreign nationals to work in essential services, French speakers, and international students
- $430 million investment has been earmarked for upgrading the IT infrastructure for immigration applications that are expected to enhance data security and lead to faster case processing
- Changes are proposed to the economic class Express Entry program to help Canada welcome the foreign nationals who meet its labor needs on a priority
- Boost spending on the temporary foreign worker program
- Advance the employment outlook and career opportunities for newcomer women
Special measures for refugee claimants working in health care during the pandemic
On December 9, 2020, the IRCC announced that permanent residency applications would be accepted from refugee claimants engaged in direct patient care in the Canadian healthcare sector.
Experience criteria under this stream have also been relaxed. Any paid or unpaid internship experience can be considered for designated occupations if it is a part of the vocational training program or post-secondary education program.
Permanent residency applications under this immigration stream will be open from December 14, 2020, until August 31, 2021.
Relaxing rules for Post Graduate work permit for international students
Former international students in Canada have another great opportunity to renew their work permits and continue living and working in Canada.
The unpredictability of the pandemic and the business disruption has noticeably interrupted the work experience of several post-graduation work permit (PGWP) holders in Canada. These former international students are getting another opportunity to gain valuable Canadian work experience that boosts their chances of obtaining the coveted Canadian permanent residency.
More than 52,000 international students are expected to benefit from this public policy. PGWP holders in Canada and have a valid temporary resident status are eligible to apply from January 27 to July 27, 2021.
Expanding Sydney office to reunite families and improve processing
On March 5, 2021, IRCC announced an office expansion plan for its Case Processing Center (CPC) located in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the CPC is operating with a significantly reduced capacity of 30% staff, with the rest of the team working remotely.
More than 60 new employees will be recruited, and new office space will be leased to process family class overseas applications faster and reunite families in Canada.
Opening up of 90,000 permanent residency spots for essential temporary workers, international graduates, and French-speaking applicants
On April 14, 2021, new immigration pathways were announced by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Honorable Marco E. L. Mendicino, for more than 90,000 international students, temporary workers in essential services, and French-speaking foreign nationals.
Thousands of foreign nationals are not able to immigrate to Canada with the pandemic-induced travel restrictions in place. Opening up these pathways is a clear indication that Canada is placing a significant emphasis on domestic immigration.
International students, temporary foreign nationals working in essential services, and French-speaking foreign nationals should use this phenomenal opportunity and send in their applications for permanent residency in Canada. The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has intimated that permanent residency applications under these streams will be accepted from May 6, 2021, to November 5, 2021.
Priority is given to Caregiver applications processing
Are you a caregiver living and working in Canada? If you want to be reunited with your family members, this can be the right time to make your permanent residency application.
On April 15, 2021, IRCC streamlined caregiver application processing to help them reunite with their families and reduce application processing time. More than 6000 caregivers’ permanent residency applications will be processed in the new plan before December 31, 2021 (including their dependent applications). They will also be completing a minimum of 1500 first-level immigration decisions for the Home Support Worker and Home Child Care Provider pilots, which will be completed by June 30, 2021.
In addition to the above steps, caregiver applications will be digitized, and acknowledgment of receipt letters will be mailed by May 31, 2021. More than 12,000 caregivers are expected to benefit from these public policy changes that have come into effect from May 5, 2021.
Phenomenal 27,332 ITAs Issued in a Historic Express Entry Draw
More than 27,330 candidates were invited to apply for permanent residency in Canada in the Express Entry draw conducted on February 13, 2021. In this Canadian Experience Class (CEC) draw, the lowest Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score to get an invite was just 75.
Since the Express Entry Program launched in January 2015, the lowest CRS score was 199 points in 2017. In this draw, invitations were issued to only the Federal Skilled Trades Program applicants.
In the February 2021 draw, IRCC applied the tie-breaker rule to invite all applicants with a minimum of 75 CRS points in Express Entry profiles submitted before September 12, 2020.
It is significant to note that the number of Invitations to Apply (ITAs) issued in this Express Entry draw was more than six times larger than the earlier standing record of 5000 ITAs.
Immigration in Pandemic Times – New Upcoming Developments from IRCC
IRCC is innovating and adapting to new ways of doing business in a post-pandemic world.
Digitization of applications & Virtual Immigration Interviews
Digitalization of paper applications is one of the many new measures introduced.
With multiple projects being digitized, hundreds and thousands of paper files are getting uploaded to the Global Case Management System for digitization leading to faster remote processing from anywhere.
Another measure was to implement virtual interviews for many immigration streams, such as permanent residency applications. With candidates for Common-law partner stream and In-Canada spouse immigration streams being virtually interviewed, processing speeds have seen a significant boost.
How to renew PR Card if outside Canada
Many Canadian permanent residents had gone abroad to visit their family and friends and got stuck there and could not return to Canada.
Few of them may be unable to renew their PR cards due to the lack of travel arrangements or flight restrictions currently imposed on many countries.
To consider these situations, the Parliamentary Committee on Citizenship and Immigration has recommended that special allowances to made to allow permanent residents with expired PR cards to return to Canada. If the permanent residents have a valid passport and do not have any Covid-19 related symptoms, they may be allowed to enter Canada even in the pandemic period.
New Measures Proposed for Biometrics and Medical Examination
The impact of Covid-19 induced delays on immigration processing has necessitated proper handling of biometrics, medical examinations as it is holding up application processing.
For the duration of the pandemic, the Parliamentary Committee proposed extending the validity of medical examinations to more than one year. In addition, they have suggested conducting the biometrics concurrently with the medical, criminal, and security checks at the fag end of the immigration application process.
Making a permanent residency application from within Canada – How We Can Help
Are you a foreign national working and living in Canada?
If you are affected by the many pandemic-induced challenges, this is the best time to apply for permanent residency in Canada. With several Canadian government public policy initiatives open for application in 2021, this could be one of the best times to apply to become a permanent resident in Canada.
Since many travel restrictions and country-specific flight bans in place, in-Canada applicants do stand a greater chance of getting better application outcomes. Until now, in 2021, Canada has prioritized program-specific draws for CEC and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) as these applicants are more likely to be in Canada, leading to faster processing.
Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are one of the best options to apply for permanent residency in Canada. From 2021 to 2023, more than 250,000 foreign nationals are expected to apply for Canadian permanent residency through a Provincial Nominee Program of Canadian provinces.
Have questions about permanent residency in Canada? Go ahead and talk to one of our experienced immigration lawyers or immigration consultants, who will support you in making a Canadian permanent residency application.
Nanda & Associate Lawyers is a full-service law firm in Canada that helps temporary workers, international students, refugees, and foreign nationals to apply for their permanent residency. Our qualified immigration consultants and immigration lawyers collectively speak more than 15 languages and will assist you by clarifying your immigration questions. Call us today to book your no-obligation free consultation and find out how we can help you get closer to your dream of living and working in Canada with your family.