The Government of Canada will be increasing immigration levels over the next three years
Posted on - Jan 28, 2021

By Victor Ing and Preet Gill

Victor Ing

2020 was a year of change and uncertainty in Canadian immigration law. The COVID-19 pandemic touched all aspects of immigration processing and there were times when it felt like the rules were changing weekly. Despite all the challenges that COVID-19 brought, the Canadian government showed a strong commitment to increasing immigration levels in Canada and a willingness to make necessary policy changes to achieve its objectives. As we bid farewell to 2020, this new year ahead is shaping up to be a promising year for Express Entry applicants for permanent residency who are hoping to receive an invitation to apply (ITA).

In recognition of the adverse effects of COVID-19 on immigration processing, on October 30, 2020, the Honorable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced that Canada will be increasing immigration levels over the next three years. Under the Minister’s plan, Canada will approve over 1.2 million new permanent residents between 2021 and 2023, including 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021, 411,000 in 2022, and 421,000 in 2023. This announcement was significant because it represents an unprecedented increase in annual immigration levels, which were previously targeted at 341,000, 351,000 and 361,000 new permanent residents between the years 2020-2022.

Given that a significant number of new immigrants are approved each year for permanent residency based on the immigration pathways that fall under Canada’s Express Entry system, we predict a gradual, but significant decrease in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score threshold needed to receive an ITA in 2021.

To fully appreciate just how many new immigrants are approved annually under the Express Entry system we must look at the available statistics. According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), in 2019 there were 85,300 ITAs issued to prospective immigrants, and the number of ITAs increased to 107,350 in 2020. That number is sure to increase in 2021 to reach the new immigration targets set by the Minister, and we have already seen evidence of that with 10,000 ITAs issued in the month of January 2021 alone.

Although not every candidate who is issued an ITA will become permanent residents, it is important to note that many successful applicants will also be including their spouses and children in their applications, which dramatically increases the total number of new immigrants accepted each year.

As you can see, Canada’s demand for new immigrants is stronger than ever but, as explained below, the number of new candidates for Canadian permanent residency has not significantly increased.

Consider that one year ago in January 2020 there were approximately 141,000 candidates who had active Express Entry profiles registered with IRCC. These are individuals who want to immigrate to Canada and had registered Express Entry profiles but were waiting for a drop in CRS scores to receive their ITA. Fast forward to a year later when we learned that, as of January 18, 2021, there are over 147,000 candidates who have active Express Entry profiles, representing a relatively small increase in the number of candidates.

Given the increased immigration levels announced by the Minister, it is clear that the Express Entry CRS point scores will need to drop in order to meet these immigration targets. This is good news for aspiring immigrants. With the start of the new year, now is the time to review your own cases to determine if you’re ready to apply for permanent residency in 2021 to make the most of the increase in immigration levels expected for this year.

For those who have not yet registered Express Entry profiles, you should ensure that you begin gathering the necessary information and documents to register yourselves, including the completion of English and/or French language testing and obtaining Educational Credential Assessments to verify the equivalency of your educational credential against Canadian standards.

For those who already have Express Entry profiles, you should consider whether there are opportunities to increase your CRS scoring, such as by re-taking language tests, and you should ensure that you will have the necessary documents, including police clearances and employment reference letters, to apply for permanent residency once you receive an ITA.

The Government of Canada has expressed unequivocal support for increased immigration levels for the foreseeable future. Now is the time to take advantage of this incredible opportunity!

For further information about preparing to submit Express Entry applications, please refer to our previous blogs:

Victor Ing is a Vancouver immigration lawyer at Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre in Vancouver, BC Canada, and provides a full range of immigration services.

To learn more about immigrating to Canada, becoming a permanent Canadian resident or bringing your family to Canada, email Victor Ing or call him at 1-604-689-5444.

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