Counting on Immigration: Measuring the Pandemic’s Effect and Building Back Stronger
The Conference Board of Canada, 2 pages,
May 12, 2021
Summary for Executives
How has COVID-19 impacted Canada’s immigration admissions? What makes immigrants who arrived or settled in Canada during the pandemic distinct? We analyzed admissions data to find the answers. We also modelled economic impacts to understand how immigration could fuel Canada’s recovery and long-term growth.
- Immigration levels are recovering. Although permanent resident admissions dropped substantially during the first six months, processing capacity has improved.
- The composition of immigrant flows has changed. The COVID-19 cohort is more likely to already have Canadian work experience or education.
- COVID-19’s impacts are geographically uneven. Decisions such as prioritizing Canadian Experience Class admissions are hindering efforts to grow populations outside large cities.
- Agricultural worker entries dropped by only 8 per cent during the pandemic—even though total temporary admissions dropped by 33 per cent.
- We can offset the pandemic’s potentially long-lasting impacts by increasing support for newcomers, encouraging immigrant retention in smaller communities, making deliberate policy choices to improve immigrants’ economic outcomes, and consider more family class and refugee admissions.