The Liberal government is seeking to bring in a record number of immigrants in 2021 despite coronavirus-related travel restrictions, Bloomberg News is reporting.
According to two sources familiar with the matter, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino is looking to accept 351,000 new immigrants to Canada in 2021, the highest number in Canadian history. This is to increase to 361,000 in 2022.
However, these numbers can be viewed with skepticism given the government's interest in bringing in 341,000 immigrants in 2020, a number which the government has not come close to achieving with only two and a half months left in the year.
Immigration to Canada has slowed in the past year due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic as restrictions on travel make it more difficult to enter the country. In the first eight months of 2020, less than 130,000 immigrants came to Canada, and even if the rate of immigration were to return to pre-pandemic levels, the government would still fall short of their target by over 100,000 immigrants.
The drop in immigration has had major effects on the Canadian economy, with condominium and apartment prices declining in Toronto due in part to the lack of new arrivals to fill them.
The restrictions have also negatively impacted immigrants seeking to start a new life in Canada. Even as flights to and from the outside world have resumed, many prospective immigrants have found that their travel documents have not been renewed, leaving them stranded.
Other prospective immigrants have found the immigration website to full of glitches and misleading information. The website told one prospective immigrant from India, Prashant Gupta, that priority was given to those who already had a flight to Canada, leading him to purchase one to boost his chances. However, his application still never made it through and he was forced to cancel his flight.
Others have suggested that prospective immigrants to Canada may be delaying their own departure until the coronavirus pandemic is over.
Mendicino is expected to formally announce new immigration targets by November 1.