Canada, the second-largest country in this world, is home to a large population of immigrants who come here from all over the globe. The Canadian population has increased due to immigration starting from the 1990s. Canada has witnessed a lot of development owing to the immigrants. It is an immigrant-friendly country with a plethora of opportunities for people of all ethnic groups. The country has been paying close attention to its immigration policies, ensuring language proficiency and enhanced working experience for the immigrant youth. Immigrants are a strong point of the economic development of Canada, and the nation is making all efforts to bring in more and more immigrants every year.
The trend of immigrating to Canada was set in the 16th century with Europeans moving into the country for a better lifestyle and job opportunities. Since 1990, the country has seen a constant increase in the rate of immigration. In recent years, the number of economic visas has significantly increased. In 2010, it accounted for 66.6% of total immigrants. The same trend has been noticed under the admission category where students from all over the world come to pursue courses in Canada’s elite institutions. The immigration levels did not drop even in periods of economic downfall and unemployment at the beginning of the 2000s. But the family class immigration has gone down.
Currently, the population of Canada is just under 38 million. Initial months of 2020, around 76000 immigrants traveled to Canada, much more than the first quarter of 2019. 80% of the population growth is attributed to immigrants. However, the pandemic imposed travel restrictions lowering the immigration level by 80% after March 2020. It was mostly due to the inability of international students to come to Canada.
All matters related to immigration are handled jointly by the federal government of Canada and the provinces and territories. This law was brought in the Constitution Act of 1867. In the 1800s the original provinces of Canada had immigrants pouring in from the European countries, which meant they had the experience of handling the immigration policies. Keeping this fact in mind, the constitution allows both the government and individual provinces to make decisions regarding the immigrants.
Immigration laws before 1868 were not handled separately. However, seeing the increasing number of European immigrants and the benefits of the country, Quebec started the first immigration ministry. It was the only province in those days to have an entire ministry dedicated to the immigrants.
Canada comprises 13 provinces, out of which 12 have their programs for the selection of immigrants. The territories also follow the same pattern. Each province has made the immigration policies in a way that boosts their economy. Apart from the individual province laws, the federal government has multiple immigrant programs that apply to all provinces and territories. Together there are around 80 programs for immigrants.
Canada has a population of about 38 million people. According to the census reports of 2016, 21.5% of the Canadian population is comprised of immigrants. The immigrants in Canada come from 200 different countries. Every year around 300,000 new immigrants enter the country, mostly for studies and work. It is one of the highest rates of immigration compared to other nations around the globe.
The welcoming nature of Canada is evident from the fact that there are around 500 organizations to serve the immigrants coming from different parts of the world. These organizations are completely dedicated to supporting the new immigrants to understand the country’s economy and society. They do not charge a single dollar for the services. The organizations impart language classes to the ones who do not speak English or French, offer job training and mentorship. Immigrants who associate with such organizations can easily learn how to go about in the new nation. Immigrants can also find good jobs through the training provided.
Yet another interesting fact related to Canadian immigration. Canada is one of the few countries that has an entire museum dedicated to immigration. The Canadian Museum of Immigration stands at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 1,000,000 immigrants were welcomed at this very location from 1928 to 1971. The museum was open to visitors in the year 1999. The museum displays the elaborate 400 years old history of immigration and its contributions to Canada. The museum is the last standing ocean immigration terminal of Canada.
The immigration rates have been on a constant rise since the 1800s. In the year 1913, Canada recorded the highest rate of immigration compared to the population at that time. Around 400,000 immigrants came to Canada in 1913, which constituted more than 5 percent of the whole immigrant population. In today’s date, a 5% would imply 2 million immigrants. The Canadian government has now set a target to welcome more than four hundred thousand immigrants each year.
In the last decade, Canada offered citizenship to a large number of immigrants. The record was the highest in 2014 when 262,643 immigrants were accepted as Canadian citizens. In the next few years, the number decreased, but in 2019 again 249,000 immigrants got permanent citizenship. Statistics revealed that more than 85% of immigrants receive Canadian citizenship. It is the highest rate among all other countries.
Immigration to Canada became a trend after the Europeans moved into the country in huge numbers. However, with time things have changed and now the greatest number of immigrants in Canada come from Asian countries. In 2019, 1/3rd of the immigrants were from India. Next in line is China, the Philippines, and Pakistan. Immigrants from the USA and African nations are also having a good number. The Asians are mostly workers and students, while immigrants from the African and Middle East countries are mostly refugees. These immigrants are the major contributors to the labor force of Canada.