Canada is one among the few countries out of the 196 countries of the world, which let the temporary foreign workers enter its periphery during the grilling months of lockdown in 2020.
To quote the exact, the number of immigrants who were permitted to work was 322,815 workers. Amid the strictly prohibited travel regulations and restrictions in immigrants’ entry, the people kept working under temporary foreign worker programs agencies.
It is clear from this that the other field of immigrants of this country was far more bothered than that of Canada’s temporary foreign workers. However, a decrease of 10 per cent was noticed in the streams compared to that of 2019. The pandemic is to be blamed, and this number drop is relatively better than in other countries.
Professor Daniel Hiebert from the University of British Columbia and a co-founder of the COVID research project opined that “Canada has been pretty dedicated to bringing in the people that it needs on a temporary work side, there’s a Canadian interest story to be told.”
The percentage and the “Canadian interests”
The immigration data under “Canadian interests” records the admission of 215,080 work permits. The professions included those in cultural fields, entertainment backgrounds, athletes, and scholars.
International exchange programs youth and overseas graduated students from registered colleges and universities of Canada were also admitted under the “Canadian interests.” This category plunged only by eight percent to 233,430.
A drop of 45.7 percent was noticed of 185,130 that of 2019 in terms of permanent citizens admission. 277,720, i.e., 33 percent dive was recorded in terms of study permit holders. The admission to the primary and secondary schools has seen a drop of approximately 32.3 percent.
Whereas post-secondary education dropped by only 32 percent approximately. The language programs admission fell by 54 percent. Moreover, the record of admissions in Canadian asylums was 23,845, which is comparatively much less than the 2019 record of 64,045.
The second-largest category was of the migrant farmworkers of 54,145, which is 6.1 percent less than that in 2019 work permit holders. The temporary immigrant workers’ admission dropped from 35,365 in 2019 to 30,890, which stands 13 percent less.
The immigration data
The other co-founder of the COVID and Immigration research project, Andrew Griffith, opined that prioritizing the migrant workers and international students under the temporary residents’ category to proceed to Canada was Ottawa’s intelligent strategy.
He continued, the workers and students, though they are a part of small revenue but are a significant category in the country’s permanent citizens.
In February, Ottawa permitted a whooping 27,332 people to enrol for permanent residence. Among which, 90 per cent of requests are accepted and enrolled despite the borders being closed. All of the 90 per cents sanctioned permanent residents have a work experience of a minimum of one year.
Ottawa is up to a plan to invite 1.2 million or more permanent residents in its periphery by 2023 with the immigration shortfall in 2020. But, by this decision, Griffith seems a bit disappointed as he said, “I’m worried about the impact of COVID on those already in Canada, is it fair and ethical to encourage a large number of immigrants at a time when their economic prospects are not that great?”
The immigration data showed that the permanent residence percentage nosedived 54.6 percent in 2020 to 186,000 from 409,500 in 2019. The American applications plunged by 64 percent and Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania by 57%, 56%, 46%, respectively.
Facts and opinions
Hiebert, about this, questioned, “Everywhere around the world, people are hunkering down a little bit more, just thinking, ‘Why do I want to move thousands of kilometers away during a crisis?’ What’s on people’s minds is, ‘Who’s going to let me in as an immigrant now anyway?'”
He continued, “There’s a sense that this isn’t the right time to try to get into another country. People are just realistic.”The future of global migration after the end of pandemic is unpredictable.
Howard Ramos, a Western University professor and co-worker of Hiebert and Griffith, had strong opinions about the matter. He said the world is different before and after the pandemic.
He continued, “In any of those countries, they are now wrestling for the first time an aging population and potentially shrinking populations as a result of lower childbirths. The development level is higher, and people are more urban and have more education and affluence at home.
“The appeal to going abroad is not as it once was, North America and Europe look very different than what they once did before the pandemic, as you see some of the chaos experienced with the rollout of the vaccines or when you look at public attitudes.”
He concluded by saying, “We’ve seen an ugly turn in Canada with anti-Asian hate crime that certainly gives a different lens of Canada as a welcoming country.”
Only several 108,159 residents have sanctioned Canadian citizenship in 2020, which is 56.8 percent less than what the number was in 2019 (250,083). The virtual procedures are the reason behind it.
The people who suffered due to the smaller number of granted citizenship are permanent citizens. They wished wholeheartedly and waited patiently to get the same Canadian citizenship during the hard months of lockdown.
Griffith had a question to ask, “In the end, the interesting question is not just what happened, but why it happened. Did the policy responses have an impact? Was it a good impact, bad impact? Was there something that needs to be done differently with hindsight?”
He also said, “Those are the deeper questions, but it’s too early to answer them. This has been the year that the world has gone to hell. Hopefully, starting sometime in late summer, we’re getting out of that hole.”