In order to address a major labor shortage, Canada has outlined plans for a significant increase in the number of immigrants entering the nation, with a target of seeing 500,000 people arrive each year by 2025.
On Tuesday, the new strategy was unveiled by Immigration Minister Sean Fraser. Along with more moderate goals for family members and refugees, it places a strong emphasis on admitting more permanent residents with the necessary work skills and experience. The initiative was well received by the opposition Conservative Party.
“Don’t be misled. Economic migration to Canada has significantly increased, according to Mr. Fraser. “This immigration levels plan has a focus on economic migration that we have not seen before.”
According to the new plan, a wave of immigrant arrivals will begin in 2023 with 465,000 people arriving from abroad before reaching 500,000 in 2025. In contrast, according to the immigration agency, last year saw the admission of 405,000 permanent residents.
The majority of those new entrants will be classified as “economic immigrants,” who are expected to fill some of the approximately 1 million vacant positions now spread across various economic sectors.
At a time when immigration already accounted for almost all of our labour force growth, Mr. Fraser stated that there were one million open positions in the Canadian economy. If we don’t welcome immigration, we won’t be able to reach our full economic potential.
Fraser noted that the additional employees would actually facilitate the construction of more homes by solving a shortage of tradespeople, despite the fact that the inflow might put even greater strain on the country’s already scarce supply of affordable housing in many areas.
The revised plan also calls for a minor increase in the number of family members who will be admitted into Canada, even though the majority of the expected expansion in immigration over the next three years will be focused on boosting the economy. Additionally, it predicts a general decline in the number of refugees, from a peak of 76,000 in 2023 to less than 73,000 in 2025. Mr. Fraser linked this trend to the government’s intention to finish resettling 40,000 Afghan refugees next year.
“In each of the last two years, we have resettled more than one-third of the total number of refugees who were settled globally,” the official continued. We have relocated more refugees than any other country in the world over the course of the last three years, too.
Despite the decline, the government’s sustained support for welcoming asylum seekers who are escaping war and other risks was welcomed by a representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
In a statement, UNHCR Representative in Canada Rema Famous Emesis said, “The United Nations Refugee Agency welcomes Canada’s continued commitment to refugee resettlement as part of its overall immigration growth plan.”
The Business Council of Canada claimed the government’s proposal didn’t go far enough in tackling the nation’s enormous labor deficit. The response from Canadian industry was more conflicted.
Tom Kmiec, a critic of the opposition Conservative immigration policy, agreed that the government should greatly expand the number of immigrants coming to Canada, but he questioned whether it would be able to achieve its own goals.