From the beginning of 2020, every country in the world encountered disruptions in all sectors. Whether it is the government or private settings, countries faced major setbacks. They noticed major changes in consumer behavior and productivity growth, which led to an amendment in government policies.
Like other countries, the Canadian government also faced many challenges to deal with public issues. But, the government made its way through these issues by changing the immigration system in 2020. However, situations didn’t go well throughout the year, so they had to make major adjustments in 2021.
Let’s review the role of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and see how they managed to offer permanent residency to 401,000 applicants during 2021.
Challenges Encountered by IRCC
IRCC or Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada faced many challenges at the beginning of 2021. Major challenges include:
- Immigration application backlogs were rapidly increasing
- Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) holders were waiting for their approval
- COVID cases were drastically increasing
- Canada’s public health issues were rapidly growing
- The number of vaccinated people wasn’t increasing
- Travel restrictions became mandatory
But, regardless of these challenges, IRCC issued 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021.
How IRCC Managed Immigration Challenges?
In 2020, IRCC started offering Express Entry invitations to all the applicants. But, their priorities shifted towards offering Canadian Experience Class candidates. Handling CEC invitations was easier since almost 90% of those candidates lived in Canada.
They intend to transfer temporary residents to permanent, especially for applicants already settled in Canada. This was an effective solution to meet the newcomer target. They got some warning signs in the beginning, especially due to the absence of an official IRCC policy statement. But over time, the strategy turns out to be effective.
On February 13, 2021, IRCC selected more people for permanent residence than they ever selected before. They handed out 27,332 Express Entry invitations. This exceptional draw was only suitable for members of the Canadian experience class. IRCC also stated that they will welcome more people from different countries after the pandemic ends.
In May, IRCC made a major leap and accepted 401,000 new applicants in six different groups. The approval includes 90,000 essential workers and international graduates, who were already living in Canada. This was a huge advancement in the immigration sector.
After June 2021, IRCC improved its process and offered permanent residence to 35,000 applicants each month. Most applicants were already living in Canada. With time, they increased the landings to 45,000 applicants each month.
In December 2021, the department expressed their welcoming gesture with the good news.
They stated that current government broke previous record to offer highest number of permanent residence in a calendar year. IRCC looked proud while they released this statement. And why wouldn’t they would be proud as their strategy was a success?
Resulting of this new policy, IRCC managed to achieve its goals to boost in-Canada landings. Furthermore, hundreds and thousands of newcomers also achieved their dream to become permanent Canadian residents. It was a win-win situation for the government and new permanent residents of the country.
The Shift of Canadian Immigration Policies in 2021
IRCC backlog is drastically growing with 1.8 million applications. However, this was part of their strategy to increase in-Canada applicants. For a long time, many COPR holders waited in the hope for IRCC to accept their applications. The applicants include people on work, study, and visitor visas. Even Federal Skilled Worker Program applicants waited passionately for residence approval. Surprisingly, they were the majority to get permanent residency through Express Entry immigration.
This strategy is a success on many levels as Canada’s population and the workforce were slowly growing for many years. As a result, the country faced the highest job vacancy levels. But, since many applicants received permanent residency in 2021, they would be able to participate in the country’s progress. Therefore, we can say that this was a successful strategy adopted by IRCC.
That doesn’t mean that IRCC didn’t face challenges in 2021. They had to force this strategy through:
- Increasing COVID cases
- Canadian government’s strict travel policies
- Government lockdown measures throughout the world
For instance, the Canadian government imposed ban on flights, arriving from India. Unfortunately, the restriction is active. Under all these circumstances, IRCC offered record-breaking numbers of permanent residencies.
Another noticeable thing to consider is that the immigration system of Canada functioned, regardless of ongoing challenges and obstacles. And the credit for such a progressive strategy goes to IRCC. Besides permanent residency, they also announced policies in January 2021. The policy enabled Post-Graduation Work Permit holders to apply for extensions.
Although it was a one-time extension, it led to an open work permit for the applicants. The purpose of this policy was to give residents more time to get work experience and get eligibility for permanent residence. For instance, in autumn, they invited 30,000 sponsors and allow them to submit for the Parents and Grandparents Program.
These policies, designed by the current elected government, helped many people to achieve their dream. They waited for so long for approval and pandemic appeared to be good luck, at least for them.
In September, Canadian residents elected the Liberal Party for the third consecutive time. Their policies increased immigration to over 400,000, which is a significant number of new permanent residents. The new immigration minister, Sean Fraser introduced significant and successful policies.
Justine Trudeau appointed Fraser to this designation soon after the elections. And this is clear that he has done a great job so far. The marching orders of Fraser include:
- Improvement of application process time
- Increase immigration levels to new heights
- Quickly bring families together
- Resettle 40,000 Afghan refugees
2021 is over with massive improvement in Canadian immigration policies. And experts predict that IRCC will approve more applications this year as well. They will continue to improve immigration policy goals, regardless of COVID-19 challenges.
Keep in mind that improvement in immigration policies will eventually reflect on the economic and social condition of Canada. Furthermore, it will help the government to tackle the crisis.