Canada reinforces immigration is priority for economic recovery from COVID-19
The minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Marco Mendicino received a new mandate letter related to Canada’s immigration plan from Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada. The letter reinforces that Canada will continue to invite more immigrants to recover the economic damages caused by the COVID crisis and to maintain a healthy workforce in the country. The Prime Minister believes that immigration plays a huge role in Canada’s economic growth and the letter is a vote of confidence on IRCC’s progress to follow Canada’s plan of increasing immigration levels, announced in 2020.
Canada is fully determined to invite more immigrants in order to boost its economy. It was announced in October 2020 that the Canadian government is planning to increase its immigration levels dramatically. It is suggested that around 1.2 million invitations to apply (ITA) for permanent residence will be issued to candidates by 2023. Around 401,000 immigrants will be welcomed in 2021, 411,000 more in 2022, and another 421,000 in 2023.
On November 30, 2020, the Canadian government released a Fall Economic Statement. It was noticed that travel restrictions and delays in applications during the COVID crisis resulted in disruption of the immigration process. During the early pandemic, the Canadian government decided to limit its Express Entry draws to the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and Provincial Nomination Program (PNP) only. Since the candidates of these groups were expected to be already-present in Canada during the COVID pandemic. Later in August 2020, Canada re-opened Express Entry draws for all other programs, resulting in the issuance of 5,000 invites in 4 consecutive draws in November and December 2020. Canada is also planning to take other measures such as shifting its entire application procedure online for the feasibility of candidates.
The main concerns of the mandate letter issued to the IRCC Minister are:
- IRCC should continue to bring skilled immigrants to Canada safely, to boost the economic growth and recovery, as per the 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan, by:
- Expanding pilot programs to welcome skilled refugees through economic immigration streams;
- Supporting expedited family reunification; and
- Continuing to upgrade the sectoral and regional pilot programs.
- IRCC should focus on implementations of measures that enhance pathways to permanent residency for health-care workers and other professionals who provided essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- IRCC Minister should continue collaborating with the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Minister of Health to ensure the good health and safety of Canadians through the secure management of the border with the United States and other ports, from where it’s possible to enter Canada.
- IRRC must explore more pathways to permanent residency and citizenship for temporary foreign workers.
- Mr Mendicino’s department should support the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion to provide full support to workers who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and to fill in the labour gaps in farming and food processing industries.
- IRCC may coordinate with provinces to support the required settlement services for immigrants, including French-language training while respecting provincial laws and complementing existing measures, supported by the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages.
- Also support the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to implement the report of the Special Advisor for Canada’s ongoing response to the Ukraine International Airlines tragedy, including remembering the lives of the victims, providing support to their families, and preventing future disasters by taking initiatives to ensure safety.
Canada’s plan to welcome more immigrants to overcome the economic damages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic might be a golden chance for many people who wish to settle in Canada. The candidates who are eligible for Canada’s immigration programs, especially foreign skilled workers and international students should avail themselves this chance to either study, work in Canada or settle there permanently.