Sobirovs Law Firm 2021 Immigration Predictions
In 2020, we had an unforgettable year in many ways. I now invite you to imagine, from the Canadian immigration perspective, what 2021 could be, taking into account all the lessons we had to learn during the last year. Here are some of my outrageous Canadian immigration predictions that I came up with using my fully sanitized crystal ball.
1. Canada won’t be able to welcome 401,000 new immigrants in 2021
No matter how hard we try (as we should), it’s unlikely that Canada will actually bring in that many new immigrants in one year. Knowing what we know about the world travel restrictions due to COVID-19, various levels of readiness or financial capacity to fight the pandemic in different countries and how slow the Canadian bureaucratic machine moves, if Canada manages to process half of that number, I would consider Canada as a winner.
2. Canada will benefit from ‘remote’ immigrants/workers before they arrive in Canada
We learned to do things differently and remotely in 2020.
In 2021, Canada will allow its soon-to-be residents to start contributing to the Canadian economy well before arriving in Canada. Digital work permits for highly-skilled, in-demand remote workers and digital permanent resident cards for the immigrants would allow those incoming immigrants to start working for Canadian companies, getting on the payroll and start paying income taxes before actually landing in Canada. A quick provocative question: “Does Canada need to bring them physically to Canada as long as they faithfully contribute to the Canadian economy while being outside of Canada with income taxes and otherwise?”
Stay tuned for my upcoming thought-provoking piece about “remote citizenship.”
Necessary procedures will be implemented at Canadian embassies/consulates abroad for this purpose. In turn, Canada Revenue Agency will be waiting for your tax returns covering the period starting from the day you got your digital work permits or permanent residence cards.
3. Canada brings more tourists by expanding the eTA countries list and offering flexibilities for foreigners with previous Canadian travel history
To build back better, we need to bring more tourists faster.
Canada includes more countries in its eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) list. Also, Canada allows those foreigners who have visited Canada on a temporary visa in the last five years to apply for the eTA regardless of their country of citizenship. More tourists come to Canada to spend their money. Affixing multiple visa stickers on a foreign passport is a thing of the past.
4. Canada launches point-based ‘Passive Investment’ immigration programs
Canada tries to attract more foreign money into Canada for its infrastructure projects by combining the efforts of Public-Private-Partnership. Therefore, Canada tries to attract those people who have legally obtained capital and are ready to invest in exchange for getting a Canadian permanent residence.
Such immigration programs do not require “active involvement in managing a business” in Canada but rather require a non-refundable investment amount to get a two-year open work permit. These new programs also allow the investors to benefit from a new point-based pathway to permanent residence.
Within the first two years, additional incentive points could be earned by the investors, which helps them to get permanent residence faster:
- points in the proportion of the amount of investment beyond the minimum eligibility amount;
- points for English or French language skills;
- more points if the family of the investor spends more time living in Canada or obtaining a diploma from a Canadian university or college;
- points for opening up a new business in Canada on top of his/her investment;
- points for opening up a new business in small Canadian cities and towns;
- points for creating more new jobs for Canadian residents and citizens;
- points for paying taxes based on the higher income levels;
- other points that encourage further contribution to the Canadian economy awarded by the relevant government office in Canada.
5. Canada starts its first-ever headhunting immigration program to get top talent from around the world
In addition to its existing “you-apply-Canada-will-consider-type immigration programs, Canada launches an aggressive headhunting immigration program.
This new program will work in tandem with the Express Entry program and adds additional points to candidates:
- because of their university of graduation (e.g., top 500 universities) combined with the academic excellence (e.g., top five percent of the graduating class);
- because of a formal invitation to apply for the new headhunting program; active outreach officers on the Canadian side will be needed to pre-select who should be formally invited;
- because they have an invention that has been patented elsewhere;
- because they have great achievements in science, technology or sports olympiads/competitions recognized by Canada as the most competitive competitions;
- because they have other extraordinary achievements and qualifications that are determined to be valuable by the relevant Canadian authorities.
Canada does not wait for the top talent to apply for its immigration programs. Canada goes around the world and actively finds and encourages those talented people to consider Canada as their next home.
6. Canada allows the new online-only option for international students and fully recognizes their diplomas for immigration purposes
Offering discounted tuition fees, Canada and Canadian universities and colleges attract more international students who are not so keen to travel to Canada. They can obtain digital study permits, study online for the full length of their academic programs, and may travel to Canada for their summer jobs. Those who want to immerse themselves in Canadian society will still have options to study in class, but by paying higher tuition.
Online international students will be treated the same as their in-class peers in all relevant immigration programs. Virtual and real are equal.
If some of these predictions happen in 2021, it will be yet another unforgettable year for Canadian immigration. What would be your predictions for 2021?
Originally published on January 4, 2021, 10:58 AM EST by The Lawyer’s Daily (www.thelawyersdaily.ca), part of LexisNexis Canada Inc.