With its effort in attracting more international students and migrant skilled workers, Canada has seen the fastest rate of growth in its population since the start of the pandemic, in the first quarter of 2021.
An RBC report highlighted that the recovery of the pre-pandemic immigration levels and the arrival of international students in Canada resulted in its population growth in the first quarter itself.
As per sources, Canadas population increased by 82,000 in the first quarter of the year as a result of the increased immigration. With the federal government encouraging temporary residents in Canada to apply for permanent residency, Canada saw a high number of new immigrants living in the country already.
Sources have further revealed that the Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) and international students were the key factors affecting the population growth in Canada. In a complete turnaround, new study permits had increased 44% year over year, when compared to 2020, when the country saw a dip in student population by 60,000.
Reports reveal that the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) had issued around 21,000 permits while the PGWPs had increased by 160%, with around 24,000 permits issued.
While Canada saw a strong start to 2021, the pandemic has still amounted to a lost year, with regards to the Canadian population growth. The population has grown a measly 0.4 per cent year over year when the sustainable rate should have been 2.1 per cent.
As a result of deaths due to COVID-19, the natural rise, i.e. number of births subtracted by the number of deaths, had been at 6,400, the lowest in recorded history.
Economist Andrew Agopsowicz commented in the RBC report that while the COVID-19 starts to subside, the natural increase is expected to decline in the future. This means immigration will be responsible for covering up the shortfall. He added that this decline will put the execution of the immigration plan by the federal government at a crucial point.
As per IRCC data, Canada is falling short of its 401,000 new immigrants target for 2021. The country had welcomed 70,500 new permanent residents in the first three months, with an additional 21,105 permanent residents in April. As per calculations, Canada needs to admit over 38,675 new permanent residents per month for the remaining months to meet its target for 2021.
While the number seems difficult to achieve, IRCC has been working towards achieving the target. Over the pandemic, IRCC focused on inviting in-Canada Express Entry candidates to apply for permanent residency. As per data, 88,000 Express Entry candidates were issued invitations to apply in the first 6 months of 2021, a record high.
Also Read: Canada Eases Some Travel Restrictions
Additionally, the IRCC has been implemented many more special measures to ensure the number keeps on increasing. IRCC had recently shelved the medical exam requirement for a few in-Canada immigration applicants. Moreover, Canadian travel restrictions had been eased for approved permanent residents. Further, Marco Mendicino, also announced new immigration programmes for refugees, essential workers and Hongkongers.
With an ageing population and a low birth rate, Canada is expected to loose some 9 million baby boomers who are reaching their retirement age, this decade. Therefore, the Canadian government has been strategising the long-term demographic challenges of Canada. Therefore, to keep Canadas labour force competitive in todays market and avoiding putting all the pressures on the smaller pool of workers, Canada has been maintaining its support for immigration, even through the pandemic.
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