Canada welcomes record number of newcomers

Canada welcomed more than 320,000 new permanent residents to the country in the 2015-16 migration year, new figures show.

The latest Statistics Canada data shows that between July 2015 and July 2016, a total of 320,932 new immigrants landed in the country as permanent residents.

Not only is this an increase of more than one third over the previous year, when 240,844 immigrants came to Canada, it’s the largest annual intake since records began in 1971.

Not only did all provinces welcome more immigrants, six provinces actually took in record numbers of immigrants in 2015-16. In Eastern Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador (1,406), Nova Scotia (5,390), and New Brunswick (4,435) all took in record numbers, as did Manitoba (17,238), Saskatchewan (15,006), and Alberta (57,384).

Ontario continues to be the most popular destination province, with 199,647 newcomers landing in the province in the past year. This represents 37.3 per cent of the total. Meanwhile, Quebec welcomed 55,164 new immigrants.

Elsewhere, British Columbia received 42,832 newcomers, while Prince Edward Island (2,008) and the Territories (Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, 512 in total) also continued to welcome new immigrants.

The Canadian government’s desire to shorten visa processing times also appears to be working. processing times for all permanent residence programs together decreased by 42 per cent. The shortest average processing times are for applications submitted under one of the federal economic programs managed through the Express Entry selection system – the Federal Skilled Worker Class, the Federal Skilled Trades Class, and the Canadian Experience Class. Complete applications submitted under one of these programs are typically processed to in three to five months.

In spite of the record intake numbers, it is believed that Canada will continue to welcome high numbers of immigrants for the foreseeable future. Speaking in the summer, Immigration Minister John McCallum signalled his intention to attract more newcomers to the country.

“Why not substantially increase the number of immigrants coming to Canada?” he said in August. “The direction in which I would like to go is to increase substantially the number of immigrants.

“We’re going to reduce some of the barriers in our immigration system. We think it can be simplified. We think there are some rules which are no longer necessary.”

Article published 30th September 2016