Canada Granted Permanent Residency to a Record Number of People in 2021

Canadian officials recognize that immigrants are key to the post-COVID economic recovery. The U.S. should take note.


Immigration ground to a halt in the United States this past year, nominally due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Migrants who are already in the U.S. haven't fared much better in 2021, with processing times for naturalization and status adjustment applications still at "crisis levels." But our northern neighbor is proving that it doesn't have to be this way.

Canada welcomed over 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021. "Surpassing the previous record from 1913, this is the most newcomers in a year in Canadian history," reads a statement from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the federal department that oversees immigration.

Those new permanent residents have "landed" in Canada. A landing can either refer to someone whose temporary residence status has become permanent, or someone who has arrived in Canada from abroad and received permanent status. Canadian officials focused mainly on people already in Canada, since their processing is more straightforward in the face of COVID-19 restrictions and barriers to travel. In 2021, roughly 70 percent of economic-class immigrants—high-skilled people who can perform jobs that are needed in the Canadian labor market—landed from within Canada, while 30 percent came from abroad.

But Canada still stepped up when there were crises beyond its borders. After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August, Canada committed to accepting 20,000 Afghan refugees and then doubled that number to 40,000 in September. The U.S. expects to bring at least 50,000 Afghans to its territory, but would need to welcome roughly 350,000 to match Canada's commitment proportional to its population.

Canada's high number of new permanent residents in 2021 comes as part of its Immigration Levels Plan, which is released every year by the IRCC. The plan sought the arrival of 401,000 immigrants in 2021, which Canada achieved through its landing technicality. In 2022, its goal is 411,000 new permanent residents, and in 2023, that will rise to 421,000. Around one-fifth of Canadians were born abroad, which is among the largest foreign-born populations in the world by percentage.

Canada, much like the United States, currently does not have enough workers who are willing to fill vacant jobs. According to Deloitte Canada, 30.3 percent of Canadian businesses are experiencing labor shortages. Canada, which has a population of 38 million, reported over 1 million unfilled jobs as of September 2021. Pandemic-related labor issues exacerbated the country's already-concerning demographic problem, according to Business Development Bank of Canada Chief Economist Pierre Cléroux: "Today, 16 per cent of Canadians are over 65. In the next five years, many Canadians are going to retire."

Sensing the gravity of these shortages, Canadian officials are looking to immigrants as a way to alleviate the country's labor woes. Ontario Labour Minister Monte McNaughton called on the federal government to double his province's allowed immigrant intake under a skilled workforce program. Heather Stefanson, the premier of Manitoba, said her province needs "to grow immigration" and improve credential recognition. Economic migrants are by far the largest immigrant group targeted by the Immigration Levels Plan, well ahead of family, refugee, and humanitarian admissions.

Key immigration metrics dipped in the U.S. over the course of the pandemic and not all have rebounded. Refugee admissions fell to a record low of 11,445 in the 2021 fiscal year, not including Afghan evacuees, many of whom came to the U.S. under a different immigration pathway. The Biden administration let tens of thousands of employment-based green cards expire in fiscal year 2021. Net international migration added just 247,000 to the U.S. population between 2020 and 2021, the lowest number in decades.

Immigrants are an essential part of the post-COVID economic recovery. Canada recognizes this and is actively trying to make it easier for them to live, work, and prosper in the country. The U.S. should follow suit.

NEXT: What Rapidly Rising COVID-19 Infections Among NFL Players May Mean for the Rest of Us

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  1. Well, when people stop having kids, you need to import some. Or lose the monocle polishing business to some other country with more enlightened policies.

  2. Suck it mother's lament

    1. I am.

      Canada has always taken in a large number of immigrants, but until Prime Minister Zoolander came along we were also incredibly picky. This ensured we weren't just importing other nations problems, like what is happening on your southern border. I can honestly say immigrant quality over the last 70 years to Canada was top-notch.

      Unfortunately Zoolander decided that whoever wanted to be a refugee could be one, no questions asked. And is giving free healthcare, education and the dole for all claimants. Facts that Harrigan mysteriously seems to have left out of her article.

      We've had a huge influx of rapists, gangs and drug addicts coming here for free shit.

      This pisses off people like my mom and two of my sisters-in-law. Immigrants from France, the Dominican Republic and Germany respectively, who spent an awful lot of money, effort and time getting their citizenships.

      1. I forgot to mention free housing too.

      2. So the new batch of immigrants are no longer grade eh?

      3. FYIGM for the win!

        1. That's right, Shrike. Fix your own mess and don't be a parasite.

          1. Insular and arrogant, perfect!

            1. Patronizing white saviour syndrome. Perfect.

      4. So instead of feeling happy that other people didn't have it as hard as you did, you're feeling annoyed that they're having an easier experience?

        My own immigration process is a nightmare, but I'm sincerely happy for those who don't have to suffer like I'm suffering. Let other people have it easy - it makes me happy that at least SOMEONE isn't miserable.

        1. Suffering yields better people and prevents complacency.

          1. I'm not a guardian of people's moral character. I wish suffering on no-one. If it comes, it comes. If it doesn't come, great.

  3. Fiona, Canada has a huge amount of undeveloped land and a small population. It also has a healthy natural resource extraction economy. Some of that requires lightly skilled labor. Canada can absorb some immigration and have it be a net gain for them.

    1. True. But not a single one of them wants to live in the hinterlands. They all want to live on pogey in Vancouver, Toronto or Montréal.

    2. The average Mexican immigrant has had six years of education. That pretty well determines the sort of jobs they are going to get.
      If you want a cheap nanny or gardener, immigration from Central America is the way to go.

      1. "the vast majority of Mexican immigrants (81.2%) and Central American immigrants (74.6%) had a high school degree or less,"

        1. "had a high school degree or less"

          So you're agreeing with Dinkle then?

  4. Oh no! All these leftist immigrants are going to vote left and turn Canada into a socialist..... Never mind.

    1. Canada's still less socialist than Maine, sarcasmic.

      1. Maybe Maine south of Disgusta.

        1. Is that because of an infection of the Masshole?

          1. Southern Maine is sometimes referred to as Northern Mass. And not affectionately.

  5. Canadian officials recognize that immigrants are a permanent underclass is key to the post-COVID economic recovery Great Reset.


  6. Immigrants are an essential part of the post-COVID economic recovery. Canada recognizes this and is actively trying to make it easier for them to live, work, and prosper in the country. The U.S. should follow suit.

    You want Biden to build more bridges across the Rio Grande so the immigrants don't have to get their feet wet? How much easier could immigration be than merely walking across the border?

    1. When's the last time you walked a hundred or so miles?

      1. Is that the criteria for immigration?

        1. Did you read this conversation?

          1. And? When I was in Mexico a few years ago, there was a band of future dreamers working their way north. But I think they came from another country. The future dreamers I saw were waiting at railroad crossings to hop trains headed north.

            So is the criteria for US citizenship walking 100 miles?

      2. Walking places is a shitty reason to permit illegal immigration.

        1. Freedom must be earned or something for ML.

          1. Yeah, don't put up with leftist governments and fix where you live. Don't move into someone elses home and fuck that up too.

            The problem with people like you is that you're incredibly racist. You think that these people are to niave and simple to be masters of their own destinies. You don't believe that they're capable of their own agency. You have to be the great white savior.
            It's patronizing.

  7. If there's one thing we've learned in the past couple years, it's that benefactor Charles Koch's open borders agenda has absolutely no downside. OTOH the benefits are obvious — unlimited, unrestricted immigration allows billionaire employers like Mr. Koch to import cost-effective foreign-born labor. (He finds Mexicans especially valuable in this respect.)


  8. "Canadian officials recognize that immigrants are key to the post-COVID economic recovery."

    Who cares what Canadian officials think? It's what the people of Canada think that should be important. The goal isn't to persuade officials in the U.S. government either. It's to persuade the American people to want more immigration.

    And suggesting to the American people that the U.S. government should listen to what Canadian officials think is an excellent way to alienate people reeks of elitism. You're just throwing kerosene on the populist anti-immigrant fire.

    1. "Who cares what Canadian officials think?

      The stupid thing is that Canadian "officials" don't actually even think that. The Reason headline writer invented that.

      Also, Canada doesn't have "1 million unfilled jobs as of September 2021". That's the estimate of the number of people who will be kicked out of their jobs because of vaccine mandates.
      If Reason was a libertarian magazine they'd be outraged, not jubilant.

      1. Well, whoever is writing the headlines doesn't seem to understand some really basic libertarian stuff--like how persuading officials to ignore what the people want on an issue that is both constitutionally (enumerated power) and rationally within the proper purview of democracy--isn't the libertarian path to anything. Real libertarians do not inflict their will on the people using government officials! Why does this need to be said?

        There's like a libertarian progressivism mentality behind that headline--it seems to think that the legitimate purpose of libertarianism is for officials to inflict libertarian policies on the unwilling. The idea that persuading the American people (or Canadian people) to want libertarian policies seems to have eluded them completely--and as a libertarian journalist outlet, persuading people to want libertarianism is their whole fucking job description.

        That they're getting the facts wrong, too, is just icing on the cake.

        When we threw Ayn Rand out of the mix, there were some babies in that bathwater--some real basic stuff. Things like how you're supposed to pick your premises first and draw your conclusions second--rather than pick your conclusions first and find premises to rationalize them later. That latter method is what they teach kids to do in college these days, I guess. First you decide you're pro-immigration, and then you rationalize that with whatever shitty logic happens to fall on you from the commanding heights of the news media. That leaves the real pro-immigration people to clean up after their irrational, unlibertarian, elitist, mess.

        They're like libertarian Tonys. Tony comes here to counter libertarianism and just ends up making progressives look like the most ignorant and irrational people on the planet.

        1. "Well, whoever is writing the headlines doesn't seem to understand some really basic libertarian stuff"

          The story of this whole fucking magazine since 2008.

        2. Imposing your presence on a nation that has passed laws that prohibit your presence is a clear violation of the NAP.

  9. Is camping on the sidewalk considered permanent residency?

    1. I think the rule, like in San Fran, is shitting on the sidewalk where you eat and sleep for at least 27 days is considered permanent residency. Proper camping is just considered a vacation as it is anywhere.

  10. Canadian "Universal" healthcare... Pick waiting ticket #200234023 expected service time... The year 2040.

    1. Depends on the province as each one has their own unique healthcare system. Some allow private clinics and healthcare, others don't.
      In some ways Canada was more federal than the US, although the Trudiots are rapidly changing that.

  11. I didn't think anyone could be worse than Shikha Dalmia.

    I was wrong.

    1. Even Shitka wasn't stupid enough to open an article with the laughable claim that "Immigration ground to a halt in the United States this past year..."
      Has this idiot not been watching what has been happening since Zhou Bai-din threw open the gates?

  12. >The U.S. should take note.

    The US also took in a record number of migrants last year, far more than Canada did. Over two million by most estimates, and those are only the ones we know about.

  13. only 40 comments so far...
    note to Reason -
    if you want clicks keep Canada out of the title - its a big
    yawn signal

  14. Excellent, sounds like Canada is on its way to superpowerdom.

  15. What's this got to do with the price of tea in China?

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