Dec. 18 marks International Migrants Day, a day to celebrate the contributions of newcomers to their new communities.
We realize that 2020 has been a hard year everyone. The global COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching consequences for global mobility, public health, and immigration. But in spite of it all, there are glimmers of hope that we feel are important to highlight.
To honour International Migrants Day, the ITC News desk wants to share the top five immigration stories that meant the most to us in 2020.
1. IRCC to reduce spousal sponsorship processing times
During the early months of the pandemic, immigration was nearly at a standstill. This meant that couples who were expecting to be reunited with their loved ones were left in limbo, with no clear timeline for when their application would be approved.
Protests broke out across Canada in September and as a response, IRCC made a commitment to increase the number of decision-makers on spousal applications by 66%.
The additional resources from IRCC had a notable impact on reducing spousal sponsorship delays but the situation is far from perfect.
The decision to increase resources for family sponsorship, when resources are limited, highlights Canada’s continued commitment to family reunification.
2. Canada will welcome 1.2 million newcomers in three years
Canada has always been an immigrant seeking country. Year after year, Canada increases the annual immigration targets, but 1.2 million newcomers in three years is unprecedented.
To further help support this ambitious goal, Canada is also spending $750 million to modernize the immigration system and help support foreign credential recognition.
This major investment and historically high immigration targets reflect the values of Canada. The Canadian population understands that newcomers to Canada are critically important to Canada’s long-term growth and prosperity.
3. Easing travel restrictions for international students
Canada is a top destination for international students. When international travel restrictions were put in place, students wishing to return to Canada were facing a great deal of uncertainty.
There was a patchwork of rules that led to confusion so Canada created a system where schools must submit a COVID-19 readiness plan. If the school’s plan receives approval, students attending that school were free to return.
This move ensures that the safety risks to students, staff, and surrounding communities are minimal while also allowing students to resume their international education in Canada.
4. The next one million newcomers could be the most important ever
It is widely known around the world that Canada is a country that is accepting of newcomers. That reputation could be what saves Canada from population decline as global populations dwindle in the next century.
The story highlights the value and foresight of Canada’s open immigration policies have for both the short and longterm prosperity of the country.
5. America’s misses are Canada’s gains
As the Trump presidency ends, it’s important not to forget the collateral damage his administration created while pursuing cruel anti-immigrant policies. Child separation, freezing new work permits and attempting to deport students during a global pandemic if their schools were not open to in-person classes.
Canada reaped the benefits of our consistent reputation as a country that accepts newcomers. Canadian companies ran ad campaigns targeting highly-skilled workers in the U.S. who worried about their immigration status under the Trump administration. Interest in studying in Canada increased.
Like the story above, this article also speaks to the benefits of Canada’s generous immigration policies have on our country, especially as other countries slide into xenophobia and isolationism.
International Migrants Day is celebrated on Dec. 18 because it marks the day the UN adopted The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families in 1990. Today marks the 30th anniversary of this historic agreement.