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Posted on April 21, 2021 at 5:00 a.m. EDT
Updated May 7, 2021, 5:12 p.m. EDT

Canada was an extremely attractive destination for global talent before the coronavirus pandemic.

Over a million new permanent residents, temporary foreign workers, and international students arrived in Canada every year.

The pandemic has of course changed a lot of things. Therefore, it is worth re-evaluating whether these changes will affect Canada’s attractiveness to newcomers after the pandemic.

Generally speaking, newcomers are drawn to Canada’s high standard of living, including its economic opportunities, open immigration system, and welcoming attitude to people around the world. International students have made up an even larger share of newcomers to Canada over the past decade. In surveys conducted by the Canadian Bureau for International Education, international students cite Canada’s reputation as a tolerant and non-discriminatory society, and its reputation as a safe country among the main reasons they choose to study here.

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Nonetheless, the pandemic creates major challenges that will persist once over, which could affect Canada’s attractiveness. Delays in processing applications are frustrating for newcomers. Large groups of newcomers, such as Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) holders who are still restricted to move here, are entitled to have less confidence in Canada’s immigration system and Canada’s desire to welcome them. Weaker economic conditions in Canada could also hurt our attractiveness. At the best of times, it can be difficult for newcomers to find gainful employment in Canada and it may become even more difficult in the years to come as Canada and the rest of the world seek to get their economies back on track. .

There are several reasons, however, why the pool of people seeking to move to Canada is likely to remain large beyond the pandemic.

Why Canada appears poised to remain attractive to global talent

In 2020, World Education Services (WES) interviewed nearly 28,000 potential immigrants to assess their interest in moving to Canada during the pandemic. WES is one of the organizations designated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) To assess foreign diplomas those who apply for Canadian immigration.

WES conducted three surveys in total and identified three key findings:

  • Interest in immigration to Canada increased during the pandemic in 2020.
  • The number of respondents who sought to delay immigration to Canada had declined.
  • Respondents believed that economic conditions in their country would be worse than in Canada.

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These results are important because they highlight that interest in immigration to Canada has not been negatively affected by the pandemic, and that potential newcomers could end up moving to Canada, despite the economic challenges here, because they believe that the economic conditions in their own country will be even worse.

We understand why future immigrants can have this point of view. Canada has borrowed unprecedented amounts of money to subsidize its economy during the pandemic. Fiscal stimulus measures have been injected to support individuals and employers, and to cover costs related to COVID-19. The Canadian government and the Bank of Canada have justified this approach on several fronts. For example, the federal government argued that the lower interest rates introduced by the Bank of Canada at the start of the crisis make borrowing cheap and will allow it to pay off COVID-related debt once the economy recovers. will straighten out. Former Governor of the Bank of Canada argues that “A firefighter has never been criticized for using too much water.”

In addition, it now seems more likely that Canada will emerge from the pandemic sooner than most countries. Canada’s vaccination campaign was slow from the start, but vaccine shipments and immunizations have increased in recent weeks. The United States aims to complete its vaccination campaign in the coming months. The sooner this happens, the sooner the Canadian economy will be able to recover. The United States will be able to facilitate vaccine exports to countries like Canada.

Higher vaccination rates in Canada would then allow both countries to seriously consider lifting border restrictions that have stalled the growth of the Canadian economy over the past year. This would be good news for Canadians and potential immigrants, as they should then be able to enjoy the fruits of a stronger Canadian economy. In addition, once their vaccination campaigns are over, the United States and Canada could work together to help the global community to immunize their populations and to pull themselves out of the pandemic, which would give a boost to the disease. ‘Mondial economy.

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It is also important to remember that the main reasons for Canada’s attractiveness to newcomers remain in place. Canada is keen to welcome newcomers from all corners of the world and currently has exemptions in place for groups such as temporary foreign workers, international students, family members of Canadian citizens, and permanent residents, among others. Federal and provincial governments have invited new would-be immigrants throughout the pandemic, and they will eventually be allowed into the country when conditions improve.

Canada doubled its commitment to immigration by aiming to welcome more than 400,000 new permanent residents per year between 2021 and 2023. Canada is the only country in the world that offers more than 100 different pathways for economic immigrants. Given the diversity of these pathways, Canada should have little difficulty finding enough candidates after the pandemic.

In addition, Canada should continue to attract Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) and international students due to the variety of educational, economic and immigration opportunities available to them here. Some TFWs, such as those under the Global talent stream, are eligible for accelerated work permits. Young people from other industrialized countries are eligible to obtain open work permits (and work in any job or for any employer of their choice) under the International experience class program.

Canada offers one of the most attractive packages in the world for international students. Students can get a quality education at a globally competitive cost, work during and after their studies, and then have an advantage when applying to an immigration program. TFWs also benefit from the same advantage. The upside is that various federal and provincial programs will award more points or offer dedicated pathways to applicants with Canadian experience.

The future looks bright for Canadian immigration

The challenges associated with the pandemic in Canada and abroad are daunting, but all things considered, these are relatively short-term challenges that Canada should be able to meet to support its efforts to attract newcomers.

In addition to the aforementioned reasons, Canada is also expected to remain attractive to newcomers due to two of its most unique characteristics. Before the pandemic, Canada welcomed newcomers from some 175 different countries each year. The country’s strong and diverse diasporic communities will continue to attract future waves of newcomers.

IRCC spends approximately $ 2 billion annually on immigrant settlement services, such as language training and employment supports. Such spending will underscore the following message to newcomers: Canada is committed to helping you succeed even despite the ongoing challenges that may arise in the aftermath of the pandemic.

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