On March 12, the Canadian government announced it would welcome over a million new immigrants to the country between 2020 and 2022.
However, just a few days later Canada had to close its borders and impose travel restrictions, as the entire world went into lockdown due to COVID-19.
Canada’s immigration intake suffered as a result, and it is set to fall well short of the 341,000 new admissions which was originally planned for earlier this year.
Every other country in the world is facing similar difficulties in keeping immigration plans in check and meeting target numbers, but it is Canada who has made the most significant stride forwards in terms of correcting the setbacks in its immigration picture.
On October 30, Canadian Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced that Canada will welcome over 1.2 million new immigrants as permanent residents to the country over the next three years, up to 2023.
One chief reason behind making such an outstanding stamp on the global immigration picture is that Canada is a leading country – and migration destination – in the world.
On paper, Canada has everything going for it. According to estimates by both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, Canada is one of the top ten countries in the world in terms of nominal GDP.
It is the fourth-largest exporter of petroleum and natural gas in the world, and an abundance of natural resources has made Canada an “energy superpower.”
A highly globalised economy, diverse population, state-of-the-art facilities, excellent security for its residents, and the fact that it is one of the least corrupt nations in the world has not only made Canada a top-ten trading nation across the globe, but also one of the best countries to live in.
However, because of the pandemic, Canada’s plans for growth and development to sustain its leading status has been severely affected, especially with immigration levels taking a consequential hit.
As mentioned earlier, Canada was originally set to welcome 341,000 new immigrants in 2020, but the pandemic has thwarted such projections.
In addition to a decreased intake of new immigrants this year, Canada has a twin labour market problem – an aging population and a low birth rate.
Canada has one of the oldest populations in the world. Nearly 18 per cent of Canada’s population is aged 65 years or more, with more than 9 million Canadians set to retire within the next decade.
Moreover, the country also has one of the lowest birth rates in the world with 1.47 births per woman.
This has created an urgent need of introducing fresh faces to the Canadian workforce, in order to enable the country to maintain a healthy economy and continue its drive to break in to the top five economies in the world.
To compensate for all these shortcomings, the federal government of Canada has announced a new three-year Immigration Levels Plan for 2021-2023, which will accept more than 1.2 million new immigrants as Canadian permanent residents over the next three years.
The number of new immigrants set to be welcomed by the Canadian government in the new Immigration Levels Plan represents about one per cent of the population of Canada.
It is also designed to fill the crucial labour market gaps in the country, especially in provinces and regions suffering from a shortage of labour availability.
Furthermore, admitting more than 400,000 immigrants every year for the next three years will also drive up the population, and address Canada’s problem of having a low number of inhabitants.
At the end of the day, the new Immigration Levels Plan promises to be a win-win situation for both Canada and immigration applicants, and what remains to be seen is how efficiently Canada can convert its ambitious immigration plan into a silver lining during the disparaging depths of the pandemic.