The number of international immigrants coming to Alberta dropped nearly 50 per cent last year.
In 2020, 20,736 people from other countries chose Alberta as their new home, down 47 per cent from 2019.
“The inflow of international migrants to Alberta began to falter during the onset of the pandemic before contracting by 65 per cent in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019,” says ATB in its The Owl economic outlook.
“The numbers started to improve at the tail end of 2020, but were still down by 21 per cent compared to their pre-pandemic level as of the first quarter of 2021.”
The number of international emigrants leaving Alberta ground to a halt during the early months of the pandemic with only 19 Albertans moving to other countries during the second quarter of 2020 – a drop of 99 per cent compared with the same quarter the year before.
Emigration levels have increased, but were still down by 21 per cent during the first quarter of 2021 compared with the same period in 2019.
After accounting for returning emigrants, temporary emigrants and non-permanent residents, Alberta gained 24,911 people on a net basis from international movements in 2020 compared with 48,805 in 2019.
“As travel restrictions are eased, vaccination rates increase and the backlog of immigration paperwork is addressed, we should see the flow of international migrants in and out of Alberta return to pre-pandemic levels, but this could take until 2022.”