The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on immigration to Canada over the past year. In 2020, the number of permanent residents admitted to Canada dropped almost 50% when compared with 2019.The travel bans and restrictions that have been instituted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have vastly decreased levels of international travel. However, despite this decline, immigration to Canada is still possible in 2021.

The Canadian government’s stated goal for 2021 is to admit 401,000 new residents this year. Regarding this goal, Canada was supposedly well ahead of schedule; by mid-February the government was 40% ahead of the pace needed to meet the 401,000 number. Despite this, some institutions doubt Canada’s ability to reach its new resident goal and instead anticipate the welcoming of around 275,000 new residents. Included in the government goal of accepting 401,000 new residents are the number of immigrants that are to be accepted under the various available admissibility categories. Overall, the plan provides for 232,500 total economic immigrants, 103,500 total family immigrants and 59,500 refugees and other protected persons.

Below, we will provide an overview of some of the various immigration options open to those seeking to relocate to Canada on a permanent or temporary basis.

Permanent Residency

Being a Canadian permanent resident means that you are allowed to live in Canada permanently, and with the permanent resident status, you are entitled to many benefits of living in Canada. These benefits include eligibility for most social benefits available to Canadians, including health care coverage, freedom to live and work anywhere within Canada, the ability to apply for citizenship after the stay requirements are met, and protection under Canadian law. In order to maintain permanent resident status, you must remain in Canada for 730 days during any given 5 year period. Failure to comply with this requirement could lead to the status being revoked.

Family Sponsorships

Over one quarter of the admitted residents that the Canadian government is accounting for fall within the family category. 80,000 of these immigrants are anticipated to be spouses, with the remainder being comprised primarily of parents and grandparents. In order to sponsor a Canadian spouse or a dependent child for residency, you have to be able to establish that you can support them financially upon arrival in Canada. It is extremely important that you show that no sponsored family member will require social assistance once in Canada. You can also sponsor a sibling, nephew, niece or grandchild if they meet certain criteria, including:

  • they are related to you by blood or adoption,
  • both of their biological parents are no longer alive,
  • they are under 18 years of age, and
  • they are single.

Economic Immigration

The majority of the allotted immigrant slots are for economic immigrants, with 108,500 of the immigrants slated to be considered as Federal High Skilled Immigrants. Federal High Skilled Economic immigration represents the majority anticipated immigration in 2021. The Federal High Skilled category includes the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, and Canadian Experience Class.

Federal Skilled Worker Program

The Federal Skilled Worker Program is a form of Express Entry for skilled workers with foreign work experience who want to immigrate to Canada permanently. In order to qualify under the program, the applicant must meet a minimum points threshold based on six selection factors including:

  • Age
  • Education
  • Language
  • Skilled work experience
  • Existing job offers
  • Adaptability

The Applicant must also be able to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to settle in Canada, or that they have a valid job offer in Canada.

Federal Skilled Trades Program

The Federal Skilled Trades Program is available to applicants that work in specific fields with at least 2 years of full-time work experience within the 5 years prior to submitting an application. Entering Canada under this program is available to people in the following trades:

  • Industrial, electrical and construction work;
  • Maintenance and equipment operation;
  • Supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production;
  • Processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors or central control operators;
  • Chefs and cooks; and
  • Butchers and bakers.

Canadian Experience Class

Applicants applying for Express Entry under the Canadian Experience Class must have worked for at least one year in Canada in the three years preceding their application.  There are language requirements involved and the applicant’s skills must qualify them for managerial or professional roles, or a skilled trade. There are ways to make an application more competitive, such as having more educational achievements. Note that this immigration program does not allow the applicant to settle in Quebec.

Provincial Nominee Program

There are a further 80,000 economic immigrant spots allotted to the Provincial Nominee Program. The Program is for workers who have the skills, education and work experience to contribute to the economy of a specific province or territory, want to live in that province, and want to become permanent residents of Canada.

However, what differentiates this program from the other programs is that it is run through the provinces and territories, rather than the federal government. This means that each province may have different criteria for admittance under the program, and varying allotments of available spots. In order to apply to live in a province or territory under the Provincial Nominee Program, you have to follow the specific instructions set out by the specific province. The criteria involved for the application can vary, but each will require a medical exam and a police check with the application. Quebec and Nunavut do not participate in the program.

Contact Garson Immigration Law in Toronto for Guidance on Canada’s Immigration Options

Even though travel has slowed, it is still possible to immigrate to Canada. If you are having trouble navigating the various options and requirements, Garson Immigration Law has the experience and knowledge necessary to help guide you through the process if you are planning to immigrate to Canada.

Garson Immigration Law is a firm exclusively dedicated to the practice of immigration law. We will work to find an effective solution for your individual immigration needs and ensure you are positioned for success with respect to your application. 

The immigration lawyers at Garson Immigration Law are continuing to monitor the immigration fallout in relation to COVID-19 on both sides of the border and will provide updates as the situation develops. If you have any questions about your potential classification as essential or about how you should comply with the changing regulations, do not hesitate to reach out to us online or by calling us at 416-321-2860.

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