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Canada's immigration targets

Canada landed 24,665 immigrants in January 2021— most since February 2020

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reported that Canada welcomed 24,665 new permanent residents in January 2021. This is the strongest month for Canadian immigration since February 2020. Prior to the pandemic, Canada was landing between 25,000 and 35,000 new immigrants per month. The pandemic wreaked havoc on Canada’s immigration programs as the country was compelled to implement travel restrictions effective March 18, 2020.

See also Top 5 programs to immigrate to Canada and guideline.

Strict COVID-19 restrictions on non-essential international travel led to dramatic decline in the number of newcomers by almost half: only 184,370 newcomers landed in 2020 compared to 341,175 in 2019. Immigration levels have remained extremely weak and Canada has not been able to surpass 20,000 new arrivals in a month until January of this year.

Related: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Landed permanent residents

The January number more than doubles the 10,795 newcomers landed in December 2020, and effectively equals the 24,695 new permanent residents recorded in January 2020, before travel restrictions had been put in place.

Canada’s Immigration Targets – 2021-2023

With this January number, there is optimism that Canada is on track to achieve its ambitious 401,000 immigration target for 2021.

In the Fall Economic Statement released on November 30, 2020, the government noted that Canada’s immigration intake, the most important source of Canada’s population and labour force growth, has been severely disrupted by travel restrictions and application delays due to COVID-19. See Canada to spend Millions on immigration to spark economic recovery.

The government of Canada has outlined how it will make immigration the cornerstone of Canada’s plan to get the economy moving again and accelerate recovery from the devastating economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. In October 2020, the government of Canada announced dramatic increases to Canada’s immigration targets for 2021 to 2023, to boost its economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Canada aims to welcome more than 1.2 million newcomers between 2021 and 2023: 401,000 newcomers in 2021, another 411,000 in 2022, and 421,000 in 2023.


It appears that IRCC will continue to do what is needed in order to meet Canada’s immigration targets. In a bold and history making move, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) held a rare Express Entry draw on February 13, 2021, in which it invited a stunning 27,332 Express Entry candidates to apply for permanent residence.

The Express Entry immigration selection system

In order to enter the federal Express Entry pool, candidates must first create an Express Entry profile. You must meet the eligibility requirements for one of the three programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Class; the Federal Skilled Trades Class; and the Canadian Experience Class. A job offer is not required to enter or be selected from the Express Entry pool although additional CRS points are awarded to those who already have a job.

Canada’s Express Entry immigration system is competitive. Only a limited number of candidates with the highest CRS points in the pool are issued Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for Canadian permanent residence through regular draws which typically take place every two weeks. A candidate’s CRS score is based on factors such as age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French..

Canada immigration targets

Based on your personal information you will be given a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. Your CRS is a numerical value, out of a possible 1,200, determined by your core human capital. This is essentially your age, work experience, educational background, ability to adapt and language skills.