Details about the future for immigrants in Canada are starting to emerge as we are now a few weeks removed from the 2021 Canadian Federal election. Following the election, it was unclear what changes the Government would be making in immigration going forward. Now, some of the details are clearer as Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada have released its 2021-2022 Departmental Plan which provides insights into how immigration to Canada is going to be evolving over the next few years.
The first core responsibility of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship as outlined in the Departmental Plan relates to visitors, international students, and temporary workers. The goal in this area is to facilitate the entry of migrants who wish to come to Canada temporarily while protecting the health, safety, and security of Canadians.
The Departmental Plan provides some details about how entry will be facilitated amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada plans to continue to evolve in response to the pandemic era restrictions on entry. Since the onset of the pandemic, measures such as exempting certain migrants from biometric testing and providing greater flexibility to foreign workers in Canada in changing employers while they are already in Canada have already been implemented. There are plans for an increase in processing capability for applications to come to Canada and there will be more ways for potential migrants to submit temporary residence applications online.
Going forward, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will continue to modernize its offerings. One example of this modernization develop a new version of MyAccount in order to streamline the process by which applications to come to Canada are considered. It is important to note that for the time being, applications from people who are exempt from travel restrictions will be prioritized.
The Departmental Plan details how the COVID-19 restrictions have had a large impact on attracting international students to Canada. Given the significant impact that international students have on the Canadian economy, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada made sure to implement measures to facilitate their entry. Some of the measures included the extension of deadlines for biometric enrollment, more flexibility in providing documents required to finalize study permit applications, more flexibility regarding on-campus and off-campus work, and permission to travel to Canada for students attending a designated learning institution with a COVID-19 readiness plan. In the future, International Students can look forward to an improvement in the digital services provided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada through the launch of a dynamic e-application for all student programs.
There are further details in the Departmental Plan for some changes to the Post Graduate Work Permit program. The program allows international students to work in Canada after graduation for a period of up to three years. Changes were made in response to COVID-19 restrictions to allow students more flexibility in remaining eligible for the program if they were studying online. Going forward, opportunities to improve the program will continue to be supported by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, although there was no commitment to extend the COVID-19 era changes to the 2021-2022 year.
The second core responsibility relates to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada facilitating the admission, economic and social integration of immigrants and refugees who intend to stay in Canada permanently.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, immigration to Canada fell drastically. Earlier this year, the 2021-2023 multi-year levels plan was released and it set out a plan to help remedy the lower number of immigrants who came to Canada since the pandemic started by allowing more permanent residents to come to Canada from 2021 through 2023. In the Departmental Plan, the number of permanent residents Canada plans to welcome ranges over the coming years but is set to increase incrementally each year until 2023, with a maximum of 430,000 permanent residents being welcomed at the highest level of projection.
Despite the drop in immigration to Canada, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has reported increased processing time for permanent resident applications because of the pandemic. In order to address this and meet the targets from the multi-year levels plan, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will process-critical applications for residency remotely, enhance its digital services by introducing virtual landings for in-Canada applications and provide extra flexibility for submitting required documents and biometric information.
Almost 60% of the planned new admissions of permanent residents under the multi-year levels plan will come from economic categories. This includes permanent residents who want to come to Canada under the federal high skilled category through Express Entry, Canada’s online application management system, and the Provincial Nominee Program. Going forward there will be improvements made in the electronic application system, monitoring of the Competitive Ranking System, and establishment of a more systematic approach to managing integrity based on an evaluation of Express Entry published in 2020.
For 2021, there will be a total of 76,000 to 105,000 Family Class admissions into Canada. More applications will be processed in 2021 as well, which will lead to more admissions in future years. Further, in response to the economic impacts of the pandemic, a temporary public policy was introduced to reduce the income requirement for Family Class admissions, which makes it easier for more people to meet the requirements to bring their family members to Canada. This policy will continue in 2021. There are also plans to intake spousal sponsorships digitally, which will allow for the more than 70,000 spousal sponsorship applications received to be processed.
Through the Departmental Plan, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada have indicated throughout that it will be making many application processes easier and more accessible for migrants who wish to come to Canada. In accordance with the immigration level plan, Canada is set to welcome many immigrants over the next few years. If you are thinking of Immigrating to Canada there are more options available now than there have been in the past, so make sure you choose the option that is right for you.
Garson Immigration Law is a firm exclusively dedicated to the practice of immigration law. We successfully guide clients through the immigration process, with an eye toward the ever-changing regulations in light of COVID-19. 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 work to best help clients with their immigration needs. If you have any questions 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.