What should I know about permanent residency in Canada?
The Government of Canada set what, at the time, it considered an ambitious goal: welcome 401,000 permanent residents in 2021. The reality surpassed the goal. In 2021, in a world still reeling from the pandemic, Canada welcomed over 405,000 permanent residents. The impressiveness of this number is put into perspective when compared to the previous year. In 2019, pre-pandemic, Canada welcomed 341,000 permanent residents.
The results from 2021 were due, in large part, to the record setting efforts of those with the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) who were able to process half a million applications and welcome more immigrants in one year than ever before.
Those who are looking to join these numbers and receive permanent residency status in Canada likely have a lot of questions. Some of the more common are discussed below.
#1: How many people does Canada accept as permanent residents every year?
Like many countries, the number varies. It is set based on the annual Immigration Levels Plan. Although tabled by the Parliament in 2020, the government was still able to provide supplementary information for goals for the coming years. As noted above, Canada surpassed the goal of 401,000 for 2021. The current goal for 2022 is 411,000 and 421,000 for 2023.
#2: What do I need to do to get permanent resident status in Canada?
There are different paths. One is use of the Express Entry program. The first step for entry through this program is generally to create a profile with the Canadian government and enter the pool of candidates. The government will review for eligibility and give a score based on the Comprehensive Ranking system. Points are given based on various factors including the candidate’s age, education, skills, and familial ties to Canada. Based on this information, the government will send an invitation to qualifying candidates to apply through the Express Entry system. It is important to note this invitation expires after 60 days.
Refugees interested in permanent resident status can do so through the Government-Assisted Refugee Program or Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program. These programs allow sponsors to support a refugee for a set time, generally one year. The government expects the private sponsor to support the refugee through the provision of furniture, clothing, and other necessities as well as social and emotional support. During this time, Canadian officials will review the claim and decide whether to approve their refugee claim before they can move forward with an application for permanent residency (PR) status.
#3: What are the benefits of PR status?
Those who receive PR status qualify for social benefits like health care coverage and can move forward with an application toward Canadian citizenship.
#4: How long does it take to receive PR status?
The efforts of the IRCC to process applications was notable. Unfortunately, Canada’s immigration system faces a significant backlog currently estimated by the Canadian government at 1.2 million. This can result in processing delays. Part of the reason for the surge in processing was the passage of two temporary measures, the Temporary Resident to Permanent Resident pathway and changes to the Express Entry program. This highlights the fact that the rules and regulations that guide this process are evolving.
Those wishing to immigrate to Canada can help better ensure the process goes smoothly by making sure they file the correct paperwork and are up to date in changes to applicable rules and regulations. The above are just a few of the questions to discuss when moving forward with PR. Each situation is unique. A lawyer experienced in this niche area of immigration law can review your case and help you determine the best path for entry for your situation.