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Why Canada will welcome over 400,000 immigrants per year

Kareem El-Assal - 04 November, 2020

Why Canada will welcome over 400000 new immigrants P Rs each year
Why Canada will welcome over 400000 new immigrants P Rs each year

On Friday, Canada announced it will be targeting the highest level of immigration in its history.

Canada announced in its 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan that it will seek to admit at least 401,000 immigrants per year over the next three years. 

Next year, Canada will target 401,000 new permanent residents. It will aim for 411,000 in 2022, and 421,000 in 2023.

The only time Canada ever came close to this level was between 1911-1913, however immigration fell significantly after that due to the First World War.

Under the 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan, Canada is targeting about 60 per cent of admissions under economic class programs such as the ones run through Express EntryQuebec, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), and other skilled worker pathways. 

Another 25 per cent or so will be admitted under the family class and the remaining 15 per cent under refugee and humanitarian categories.

Express Entry is set to account for roughly 110,000 annual admissions between 2021 and 2023.

Prior to Friday's announcement, Canada's target was 341,000 immigrants for 2020, and slightly higher for 2021 and 2022.

However the Canadian government feels compelled to increase immigration more rapidly due to COVID-19.

The coronavirus pandemic has seen immigration to Canada fall significantly this year. Canada is on pace to welcome about 200,000 new permanent residents which is 141,000 immigrants short of its 2020 target.

To compensate, Canada has increased its targets over the coming three years. Moreover, the higher targets are a function of Canada seeking to stimulate its economic and fiscal recovery post-COVID. As is the case around the world, COVID-19 has hurt Canada's economy and so rapid increases to immigration should help fuel stronger economic growth.

Prior to the coronavirus, Canada welcomed high levels of immigration to alleviate its demographic challenges. Canada has an aging population and low birth rate. The birth rate may fall even further due to COVID-19 since couples may choose to delay their family plans due to economic uncertainty.

An aging population and low birth rate means weaker economic growth for Canada and a challenging fiscal situation. In the absence of immigration, Canada would struggle to have enough workers and taxpayers to fund social services such as health care, which will become more expensive due to population aging.

Higher immigration under the 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan will give Canada a shot in the arm in the short- and long-run. In the coming years, more immigrants will give Canada's economy a boost as it recovers from COVID. Over the long run, immigrants will be the main source of population and labour force growth, and an even larger contributor of economic growth.

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