#COVID-19 Immigration Effects: December Update with 2018 baseline comparison

Key trends from December IRCC operational data, which reflect in part a normal seasonal decline:

Overall, comparing 2021 with 2018 data, most immigration programs have largely recovered from the steep impact of COVID travel and other restrictions, with the exceptions of the Provincial Nominee Program, asylum claimants, citizenship and visitor visas.

As trumpeted by the Minister, the number of permanent resident admissions slightly exceeded the 2021 target: 403,540, compared to 401,000. Compared to 2018, admissions have increased by 26 percent.

As seen throughout the year, this is largely due to two-step immigration by temporary residents, largely from the International Mobility Program and the Post-Graduate Work Program. The percentage of the economic class increased to 63 percent, up from 58 percent. 

While on a monthly basis, permanent residency applications increased, compared to 2018, applications declined by 43 percent. This likely reflects recognition by potential applicants of large backlogs and two-step immigration.

Temporary Residents – IMP: While on a monthly basis, IMP declined in December, compared to 2018, numbers increased by 35 percent. 

Temporary Residents – TFWP: While December numbers remained stable, compared to 2018, numbers increased by 24 percent, with the greatest increase in LMIA.

Students: Study permit applications increased slightly in December while study permits issued almost tripled. Compared to 2018, applications increased by 64 percent, and permits issued by 27 percent. 

Asylum Claimants: The number of asylum claimants continued to increase in December, mainly due to the reopening of Roxham Road. Compared to 2018, the number of claimants decreased by 55 percent. 

Citizenship: The citizenship program continues to recover with traditional numbers of new citizens on a monthly basis. Compared to 2018, the number of new citizens declined by 38 percent..

Visitor Visas: While on a monthly basis, the number of visitor visas issued continues to approach traditional levels. However, compared 2018, the number of visas has decreased by 82 percent.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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