Canadian immigration will likely remain low, Royal Back economist

By: Thomas I. Likness
EBC News Service

(Eagle News) — It’s unlikely Canada will meet its immigration target to admit 401,000 newcomers this year, according to an economic report from the Royal Bank of Canada.

The bank concludes border restrictions and the pandemic will keep the number of immigrants coming to the country low until the end of this year.

“In the long-run, Canada does have the capacity to hit the ambitious targets set out last fall and population growth from new immigration will again return as the main driver,” wrote Andrew Agopsowicz, a senior economist with the Royal Bank.

“However, with the effects of the pandemic looking more likely to remain into the spring and summer, the headwinds listed above will keep immigration into Canada low throughout most of 2021,” he said in his report.

Last year only 184-thousand new permanent residents entered Canada — just over half of the 341-thousand the government targeted.

Also down was the number of international students and temporary foreign workers.

In response, the federal government announced new targets for 2021 through 2023 that could see over 1.2 million new permanent residents settled over this period. That would fully make up for the 2020 shortfall.

But it’s unlikely there will be much of an increase in new permanent residents until 2022.

The number of new applicants for permanent residency is down as well as other categories such as family sponsorship.

“Coupled with processing delays, this implies that even if borders open up soon, it will still take time to increase the flow of new immigrants back to pre-pandemic levels,” said Agopsowicz.

Declining immigration numbers are troubling because economic growth in Canada is dependent on immigration. The lower numbers could stall the country’s economic recovery.
(Eagle News Service)