Kareem El-Assal - 17 October, 2020
Two major events in October 2020 will shape Canada's immigration system for years to come.
The first major event will be the delivery of a new immigration mandate letter to immigration minister Marco Mendicino by Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The second major event will be Mendicino announcing Canada's Immigration Levels Plan.
The coronavirus pandemic has created significant disruptions in Canada and around the world. Canada has continued to operate its immigration system but its special coronavirus travel measures and other interruptions such as lack of international flights has seen immigration to Canada fall significantly in 2020.
Canada welcomed 341,000 immigrants in 2019 which was its highest total in over one hundred years. Prior to Canada closing its borders, Mendicino announced that Canada would welcome over one million immigrants under its 2020-2022 Immigration Levels Plan.
A few days later, Canada announced it was shutting its borders to most international travelers although some new immigrants, temporary foreign workers, international students, and family members can still enter the country.
Despite the travel restrictions, Canada's immigration system continues to operate with major Express Entry and Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) draws regularly occurirng.
Earlier this week, Canada held its largest Express Entry draw ever with 4,500 people receiving invitations to apply for permanent residence. In addition, Canada's largest provinces such as Ontario have been hosting frequent PNP draws.
Beyond 2020, there remains uncertainty with respect to the future of Canada's immigration system due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, much greater certainty will be provided by the end of October 2020.
First, Canada's Prime Minister will provide a new mandate letter to the immigration minister. This is important because the mandate letter is what guides Canada's immigration system. The mandate letter will contain the priorities that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will pursue during the remainder of the federal government's time in power. The mandate letter should be made available to the public sometime in October and will likely also indicate whether Canada intends to welcome over one million immigrants over the next three years.
Second, Mendicino will likely announce the 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan on Friday October 30. This is due to Canada's main immigration law stating that the plan needs to be announced by November 1 on most years. The announcement will likely happen on the Friday since the following two days happen during the weekend.
The 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan will outline Canada's immigrant intake goals over the next three years, including the level of immigration Canada seeks to welcome, and the composition of the immigrants.
Given the recent major Express Entry and PNP draws, the signs are pointing to Canada maintaining immigration targets of over 340,000 per year, with these immigrants eventually being able to enter Canada once the pandemic is better under control.