The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way immigration works. Several countries have closed down their borders to stop the spread of the pandemic. International tourism has almost come to a complete standstill. The whole situation has left everyone wondering about the future of immigration.
Immigration numbers in Canada are on the rise
Canada seems to have become the favorite destination among aspiring immigrants in the world. Between 2015 and 2019, immigration in Canada grew by 26%. On the other hand, immigration numbers in the US fell by 7% between 2016 and 2018. The immigration policies introduced by the Trump Govt. does not seem to be helping the immigration numbers.
Canada plans to bring in over 1 million new immigrants between 2019 and 2021. The immigration target for 2020 is 341,000 and for 2021 it is 350,000.
Canada needs foreign workers now more than ever
Canada has an ageing population which is causing significant labour shortages in the country. The current pandemic situation has only worsened the labour market shortage in the country. Hence, even when Canada had shut its borders for the world to stem the pandemic, IRCC continued to issue invitations for the Canada PR Visa. Canada has now removed all immigration-related restrictions. This is evident from the latest all-program Express Entry draw held by the IRCC on 8th July 2020 which issued 3,900 invitations for the Canada PR Visa. The cut-off CRS score in the latest draw was 478.
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Canada has also been attracting global talent through the Global Talent Stream. The Global Talent Stream (GTS) was first introduced in 2017. The program aimed to help Canadian employers recruit foreign workers to meet their business needs. The program had a provision of fast-tracking the applications of sponsored employees with employees receiving a Canadian Work Permit in as little as 2 weeks.
Canada vs the USA: Long-term prospects
Canada is the preferred destination for international students due to the availability of the Post-Graduate Work Permit. The Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) allows foreign students to live and work in Canada after completion of their studies for up to 3 years. The PGWP also paves the way for these international students to become future Permanent Residents of Canada. The ease of getting a Permanent Resident Visa in Canada as compared to the US Green Card makes many foreign nationals choose Canada over the US.
Just like the PGWP in Canada, the US also has a similar provision for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) graduates called the OPT. The Optional Practical Training program of the US allows STEM graduates to live and work in the US for up to 2 years after completing their studies. However, the Trump Govt. plans to put several restrictions on the program in a bid to lessen the competition for America-born graduates.
The OPT gives international students a chance to work in the US, which is the main driving force behind international student admissions in the US. Restrictions on this program have caused several international students to choose Canada over the US.
The Trump-led Govt. has also imposed several restrictions on the H1B Visa of the US. The new restrictions on the H1B Visa have made it even more difficult for foreign workers and international students to obtain the US Green Card.
Canada welcomes foreign students
While the US is imposing restrictions on international students, Canada is making it easier for international students to submit their Study Permit and PGWP applications. Canada has even started accepting incomplete applications from people who are not able to gather all documents due to the COVID19 restrictions.
The Trump Govt in the US is busy implementing measures to safeguard the American citizen denting the immigration numbers. On the other hand, Canada acknowledges the fact that immigration plays a vital role in strengthening the Canadian economy. The Canadian Govt. is implementing policies that acknowledge the role of the foreign worker in the Canadian economy due to an aging population. Immigration is all set to play an important role in the post-COVID economy recovery period in Canada.
The future of Canadian immigration looks bright
The federal govt. of Canada is monitoring the COVID19 situation and is coming up with ways to simplify the Canada PR Visa process. The Govt. is encouraging foreign applicants to continue with the application process. They should not be disappointed by the current situation; instead, they should view it as an opportunity and prepare for a new life in Canada.