Canada Immigration Changes Cause Shift In Citizenship Of New Permanent Resident Arrivals

Nigerians have jumped above Filipinos to represent the third highest number of new immigrants to Canada so far in 2021.

Federal government figures for the first eight months of the year show nearly 9,500 Nigerians became permanent residents, compared to 9,125 from the Philippines.

So far this year, Nigerians make up 4.3 percent of the total permanent resident arrivals, compared to 3.4 percent in 2020 and 3.7 percent in 2019.

By contrast, citizens of the Philippines make up 4.1 percent of 2021 arrivals, compared to just below 6 percent in 2020 and 8.2 percent in 2019.

Meanwhile, the figures for permanent resident arrivals continue to be dominated by Indian citizens.

The 64,750 Indians who have become permanent residents so far in 2021 represents more than 29 percent of the total, up from just over 23 percent in 2020 and 25 percent in 2019.

This shows the continued and strengthening importance of Indians to Canada’s immigration system. With the federal government planning to take annual levels over 400,000 in 2021 and further in 2022 and 2023, Indians will be crucial to ensuring Ottawa meets those ambitious targets.

Chinese citizens, however, have seen a slight drop off in terms of percentages in 2021, to 8.3 percent, compared to nearly 9 percent in the two previous years.

But it cannot be overstated how important Indian and Chinese citizens are to Canada immigration, between them representing significantly more than a third of arrivals in 2021.

The last two years of immigration to Canada has taken place against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had a crushing impact on permanent resident arrivals in 2020.

Immigration was essentially cut in half by the impact of the pandemic, as travel restrictions were put in place to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

As a result, the life plans of candidates, many of whom had already received a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR) and were preparing to travel to Canada, were put on hold.

Two-Step Immigration To Canada

Even with the return of permanent resident arrivals in record numbers so far in 2021, Canada’s federal government has overseen a significant shift in policy.

Twice as many new permanent residents to Canada were already in the country on a temporary basis this year compared to before the pandemic.

Figures show a significant boost in new permanent residents previously in Canada under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) or International Mobility Program (IMP), or studying at a Canadian university or college.

Prior to the pandemic, in 2019, those that had previously had study permits or work experience under the TFWP or IMP amounted to only 21.9 per cent of the 341,175 new permanent residents to Canada.

In 2020, that group became a more important source of new permanent residents to Canada, comprising 27.6 per cent of the 184,585 new permanent residents that year. 

Approaching Half Of New PRs Had Work Or Study Experience in 2021

In its bid to boost immigration to help Canada recover economically from the pandemic, Ottawa turned to this group of skilled – and often highly-educated – foreign nationals again this year.

In the first eight months of the year, the percentage of new permanent residents who had work experience through the TFWP or the IMP or had previously had a study permit allowing them to work in the country swelled to 45.7 per cent of the 222,275 new permanent residents to Canada.

Temporary foreign workers accounted for 5,765, or almost 2.6 per cent, of all new permanent residents to Canada this year. Foreign nationals working in the country under the IMP comprised another 37.4 per cent. And those 12,695 who had come to Canada as students amounted to about 5.7 per cent of all new permanent residents so far this year.

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