Last month the Canadian government recently announced plans for new and increased levels of immigration.
Prime Minister Trudeau has said that immigration is needed to boost the economic recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plan is to accept over 400,000 immigrants to a target of 1.2 million over the next three years
Typically Canada admits mostly two categories of newcomers; temporary residents, such as international students, temporary workers and others, and immigrants as permanent residents.
Because of COVID and travel restrictions, both levels were down dramatically in the first half of the year. with over 18,000 fewer temporary resident permits granted than during the same period last year. There were a total of 191,000 temporary residents last year, along with 402,000 study permits, and 404,000 temporary work permits
In the other category, there have been over 128,000 fewer permanent residencies granted in the first six months of 2020 compared to last year. With COVID levels increasing in much of Canada and internationally, Canada will likely fall about 150,000 short of last year’s level of 341,000 permanent residents which included 30,000 resettled refugees.
Permanent resident status is a step towards full Canadian citizenship. Last year over 74,000 temporary residents transitioned to permanent resident status.
While the plan is to try to boost newcomer levels in the next three years, Immigration Minister Marco Mendocino says a new aspect of the government’s plan is to try to get those already here, to stay.
There are currently about 1 million temporary residents, students, workers, and asylum seekers, in Canada.
In a press release on October 30, Mendicino said, “Immigration is essential to getting us through the pandemic, but also to our short-term economic recovery and our long-term economic growth. Canadians have seen how newcomers are playing an outsized role in our hospitals and care homes, and helping us to keep food on the table. As we look to recovery, newcomers create jobs not just by giving our businesses the skills they need to thrive, but also by starting businesses themselves. Our plan will help to address some of our most acute labour shortages and to grow our population to keep Canada competitive on the world stage.”
Many of the temporary ‘migrant’ workers are being employed in essential areas such as health care, or agriculture. Allowing them to become permanent residents would address some of the country’s short term needs in these areas and longer term economic recovery.
International students are particularly sought said Mendicino. Speaking to BNNBloomberg News, he said, “International students who tend to be a younger population, who tend to be right at the outset of their careers having a longer period within their lifespan to contribute and they are a very attractive pool that we’re going to look very closely at”
He also said the idea of allowing young international students to become permanent residents would also help offset Canada’s aging population.