Canada’s COVID-19 Recovery: The 2021–23 Immigration Levels Plan

Introducing the Most Ambitious Immigration Levels Plan in Canadian History

Immigration Levels Plan 2021-23 | Canada's COVID-19 Recovery | Storey Collective | Toronto

COVID-19 has shaken Canada’s immigration levels, a key pillar of housing demand throughout the country. As a result, housing markets have seen unprecedented shifts since the pandemic struck, and the government is now under pressure to ready Canada for the reopening of its borders. 

Last March, the government announced plans to welcome over one million permanent residents to Canada between 2020 and 2022. Just days later, the coronavirus forced Canada to close its borders, stunting these plans for the foreseeable. To put the severity of the damage into perspective, Canada saw 64% fewer permanent residents move to the country in August 2020 than in August 2019. 

But, as discussed in our last blog post—7 Ways COVID-19 Is Affecting Canadian Real Estate Trends—it wasn’t just last year’s lack of newcomers that curbed Canada’s population. During the same period, more non-permanent residents left the country than moved in. This triggered a 94% caving of Canada’s total net migration.

To overcome this devastating collapse, the government has formulated a COVID-19 recovery strategy: the 2021–23 Immigration Levels Plan. In this blog post, we’ll explore how the plan should help to rebuild Canada’s immigration levels over the next three years, why Canada’s economy relies on immigration, which countries we can expect to welcome new residents from, and why Canada is such a popular hotspot for immigrants.

Canada’s 2021–23 Immigration Levels Plan 

The Immigration Levels Plan is a statutory requirement, in which the government outlines the number of new permanent residents that the country expects to welcome. The plan also details the categories that the government expects to admit these residents under. These categories include economic, family, refugee, and humanitarian or compassionate grounds. 

As 2020 drew to a close, the Canadian government announced its new Immigration Levels Plan, which aims to welcome more than 400,000 immigrants to the country every year between 2021 and 2023. Canada hopes to welcome 401,000 immigrants in 2021, 411,000 in 2022, and 421,000 in 2023. Achieving these targets would mark the highest level of immigration in Canadian history. The country has only welcomed 400,000+ immigrants in a year once before, in 1913, and hasn’t approached this figure since.

Why Canada Needs High Immigration Levels

Canada thrives on high immigration levels to offset the economic impact of its low birth rate and aging population. CIC News explains that while the country has one of the oldest populations—18% are 65 or over—it also has one of the lowest birth rates—the average is 1.47 births per woman. 

As a result, Canada’s previously flourishing economy relies on welcoming immigrants to its wealth of cosmopolitan towns and cities. Thanks to its vibrant way of life, job opportunities, and prestigious universities, many immigrants opt for Canada for permanent residence. The pandemic has only amplified Canada’s need for this diversity. In particular, a new Environics Institute study highlights the rising public support for Canada’s immigration levels throughout the pandemic. The study shows that most Canadians value the diverse, multicultural societies that the immigration levels plans bring to the country.

Immigrant Source Countries

Canada has high hopes for rebuilding its immigration levels, and the demand is there to support this. For example, by the time the pandemic struck, Canada had already welcomed 74,000 permanent residents to the country. But, as Canada looks to reopen its borders, where is this demand likely to come from? Which countries will fuel the growing population?

Based on the 74,000 international residents who moved to Canada in early 2020, the top 10 source countries are likely to include India, China, the Philippines, America, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, France, Iran, and Brazil. 

Taking the top likely spot, India accounted for 24% of Canada’s new permanent resident (PR) visa holders in January–April 2020. India is likely to maintain its position as Canada’s leading source of immigrants. Not only do many Indian citizens speak English fluently, but many also have academic credentials and professional work experience. Plus, H1-B-visa holders may struggle to secure permanent residence in America, while Canada makes this easier. 

Many immigrants will also likely relocate from China and the Philippines over coming years. In 2020, Chinese immigrants accounted for almost 10% of Canada’s newcomers. Meanwhile, Filipino immigrants accounted for 7%.

Why Immigrants Opt for Canada

Canada’s wealth of idyllic towns and cities attract millions of new residents from all over the world every year. In particular, Toronto has climbed the ladder of Resonance Consultancy’s World’s Best Cities Report, ranking as 2021’s 13th ‘best city’. The report concludes that Toronto’s high placing is ‘powered by diversity and education, the two components of [the] People category,’ for which Toronto ranked as the third best city in the world.

“The rankings are composed of experiential factors that people consider most important in choosing a city to live and visit, as well as empirical factors that business decision-makers consider important for business or investment,” said Chris Fair, Resonance Consultancy’s President and CEO.

The report is widely regarded as the world’s most thorough city-ranking system, weighing up the reputation and competitive identity of every city with a metropolitan population of at least one million. This year, the report pays special attention to the pros and cons of living in each city amid the pandemic. Other factors include employment rates, investment prospects, landmarks, attractions, the number of Global 500 corporations, and direct flight connections.

Relocating To Canada

In short, the Immigration Levels Plan should recover some damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Plus, with the new plan in place, the government expects to welcome approximately 60% of newcomers under economic class programs, such as the Provincial Nominee Program and Express Entry. 

While pandemic-related disruptions continue to limit immigration, there’s nothing to stop candidates from submitting immigration applications and Express Entry profiles. This way, you may receive approval for permanent residence or an invitation to apply, even if you can’t move to Canada immediately.

Need advice on your eligibility to move to Canada? Get in touch with Storey Collective for a free phone consultation.