The Canadian government has unveiled its plan to welcome in more than 1.2 million immigrants over the next three years.
The 2021‒2023 Immigration Levels Plan was announced today, which sets out a path for “responsible increases to immigration targets,” aimed to help the Canadian economy recover from COVID-19.
Over the next three years, Canada will aim to welcome 401,000 immigrants in 2021, 411,000 in 2022, and 421,000 in 2023.
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“Immigration is essential to getting us through the pandemic, but also to our short-term economic recovery and our long-term economic growth,” says Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino. “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.”
The only time Canada welcomed more than 400,000 immigrants in one year was in 1913, when the country welcomed 401,000.
Canada welcomes immigrants under four categories; economic, family, refugee, and humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
A continued focus on innovative approaches where communities and businesses are encouraged to work together to welcome immigrants in communities across the country to help meet worker shortages. pic.twitter.com/En6FnPUBwx
— IRCC (@CitImmCanada) October 30, 2020
In March, Canada closed its borders to most immigrants to try to reduce the spread of coronavirus. The government had hoped to welcome 341,000 immigrants in 2020 but had only done 128,425 as of August, 2020.
Due to the uncertainty of when the borders will reopen, Mendicino said the government will look at “broadening and accelerating” the path for immigrants already living in Canada to obtain permanent residency.
“The health, safety, and security of Canadians remains our top priority,” said the government’s press release. “Canada has strengthened health screening at the border as well as monitoring and enforcement and will continue to closely follow the advice of public health officials as we welcome newcomers.”
Immigrants account for 33% of all business owners in Canada and 25% of the country’s health care workers are immigrants.