Immigration worldwide was already climbing before the pandemic. Now, as the world begins its recovery, there is an even further rise in numbers.
“On a global scale, Covid-19 has altered the market, leading to an increase in the overall unemployment rate. Based on our results in the past year, more than 50 per cent of our clients were looking to relocate to Canada in order to find a better job opportunity,” says Vrinda Gupta, Brand Custodian, Vazir Group.
While job security is an issue that concerns many, others are recognising the advantages that selected countries can give them for their overall lifestyle.
SCHENGEN COUNTRIES SEE TRACTION
“Demand for the Schengen visa increased substantially during the pandemic. Our search activity spiked 500-fold on SchengenVisas.com from 2020 to 2021,” says Alexandra Blankenstein, Business Development and Communications Manager, SchengenVisas. com.
“People are interested in short and long term visas, as the Schengen area is idyllic to work remotely for its peaceful diversity, free touristic travel, excellent medical infrastructure, lucrative business opportunities, and world-class education. Differing government restrictions have motivated searches for nations offering more options than their own places of residence.”
As enquiries and applications from those looking to relocate increase, this year looks set to be an even more remarkable year for immigration.
“2021 will be a significant year for global migration,” says Waquar Karim, Vice President – Residency/ Citizenship by Investment at WWICS Group. “Demand for foreign skilled talent and entrepreneurs persisted despite Covid-19-related restrictions and challenging conditions. Immigration will be imperative to countries like the US, Canada, the UK, Portugal and Malta, to rebuild their economy post-pandemic,” adds Karim.
In addition, investment migration has emerged as a powerful tool amidst the global pandemic. “It has led many high-net-worth individuals to look for a ‘plan B’ to reduce their exposure to personal and financial risk. Countries offering citizenship by investment (CBI) programmes are easing investment requirements to allow foreign investors and entrepreneurs acquire citizenship or residency in these uncertain times,” he explains.
Whatever citizenship applicants are looking for, the one common theme will be that vaccine passports could be crucial in certain areas this year.
Karim says, “A significant trend that is being adopted by many countries is the introduction of digital vaccine passports that grant vaccinated citizens the privilege to travel beyond country borders.”
Certainly, relocating has undoubtedly proven challenging at times due to the many closed borders. However, with the plans for digital vaccine passports, this could finally mean less restrictions. This would be much needed good news as, given the closed borders, some countries have found it challenging to meet their immigration targets.
Meanwhile, in Canada, immigration targets are being reached through various means.
PATHWAYS FOR MIGRATION
“Since the beginning of 2021, Canada has held immigration draws that target candidates who are already in Canada,” says Clint Khan, Director, Y-Axis.
“In fact, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has conducted Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP)-specific Express Entry draws on an average of every two weeks since the beginning of 2021.
The biggest Express Entry draw held so far was on February 13, which invited 27,332 Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates to apply for permanent residence. The IRCC has adopted this strategy partly to meet the immigration targets it has set for 2021 and in part to avoid the impact of Covid-19-related travel restrictions and service closures that will impact the arrival of international immigration candidates to the country. In fact, Canada has issued a greater number of invitations this year compared to the same period in 2020.”
However, for those wanting to migrate to Canada from outside the country, there are still opportunities to get that residency. Khan says, “Apart from Express Entry and the Provincial Nominee Programme, UAE residents can explore immigration pathways such as the Global Talent Stream and the Start-up Visa programme to immigrate to Canada.
Its International Mobility Program is also very successful for UAE residents, and this outlines provisions to enable high-skilled foreign national to work temporarily in Canada.”
The one trend that remains the same this year is that of using an immigration advisor who can help with the latest information. This is probably the best way to start — wherever anyone is looking to emigrate.
Gupta says, “With Vazir Group’s excellent team of consultants, customer dedicated managers and lawyers, and with 20 years of experience in this field, our immigration boutique aims to provide personalised solutions to improve the current global mobility practices.”