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The effect of COVID-19 restrictions on Canada immigration was fully felt in April, as new permanent resident admissions plummeted to 4,140.
The figure represents a 78 percent drop on the 19,125 March arrivals, which were already down 26 percent on February.
Between February and April, permanent resident arrivals dropped from 25,930 to 4,140, a decline of 84 percent. In April 2019, Canada welcomed 26,900 new permanent residents.
The figures were released by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on Tuesday.
It means Canada’s pre-coronavirus plan to welcome 341,000 new permanent residents in 2020 is unlikely to be fulfilled, although some of the numbers could be made up as restrictions are eased later in the year.
As of June 9, 2020, restrictions remain in place, meaning May figures for new permanent residents are likely to be similar to April.
Since March 26, only permanent residents who were approved before March 18 have been allowed to travel to Canada.
Canada restricted arrivals to all but essential travel during March, including closing the border with the U.S.
Exemptions were introduced on March 26 for:
- Seasonal agricultural workers, fish/seafood workers, caregivers and all other temporary foreign workers.
- International students who held a valid study permit, or had been approved for a study permit, when the travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020.
- Permanent resident applicants who had been approved for permanent residence before the travel restrictions were announced on March 18, 2020, but who had not yet travelled to Canada.
14-Day Self-Quarantine Plan
Anyone entering Canada from the US or any other country is required to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days upon entry.
Travellers are also required to present a quarantine plan, with details of where they will stay, how they will get groceries and medication and whether they will be staying with vulnerable people.
Immigration Draws Continue
Federal and provincial authorities have continued to conduct immigration draws since the pandemic took hold, but the dramatic impact on permanent resident arrivals was inevitable.
Canada’s federal Express Entry system has switched to program-specific draws for provincial nominees and the Canadian Experience Class, with candidates in both categories more likely to be already in Canada.
Entry restrictions are certain to limit immigration numbers in the short term. But Canada’s policy of managed immigration increases to assist economic growth will likely remain in place, with periods of adjustment to global developments.