Canada’s Evolving Immigration Strategy
In today’s blog, we will briefly examine how Canada has changed its immigration strategy throughout the years.
The current immigration system of Canada started to take its current form in the 1980s. At that moment, the Canadian government did not have any plans for the future and would often design its immigration strategy depending on the economic conditions.
In 1984, Canada welcomed less than 90,000 migrants. Going into the 1990s, the Conservative Canadian government realized the issue of labour shortages that would affect Canada in the future and expanded immigration allocation to 250,000 for new permanent residents within eight years.
The following government of the Liberal party increased these allocations but also started to emphasize the importance of inviting more immigrants based on their skills and decreasing Canada’s family and humanitarian visa shares.
Canada received around 260,000 migrants each year until 2015 when the current Liberal government came into power. The liberal government of Justin Trudeau increased immigration targets to 300,000 and then to 340,000 just before the start of the 2020 pandemic.
The shutdown of international borders and other restrictions on travel in 2020 made it challenging for the IRCC to process applications. However, still, Canada surpassed its immigration target for 2021 and broke the record for the highest number of permanent residents invited in a year, with 405,000 new immigrants. This target was met through massive spot allocations through the Provincial Nomination Programs (PNPs) and Canadian Experience Class.
Currently, Canada is experiencing a very unique situation with lack of labour and nearly one million job vacancies. Both of these factors are critical in Canada’s increasing immigration targets.
Furthermore, Labour shortages are being affected by Canada’s low birth rate, which is at 1.4 children per woman. This is one of the lowest birth rates in the world. However, this rate of births is still more than the number of deaths annually. Because of the slow natural increase in the population, soon, immigration will be the only means to increase the population and labour force of Canada. Immigrants are also required to sustain a solid tax base, which is a crucial component in Canada’s efforts to deliver basic and essential services such as healthcare and education.
It is estimated that by 2030, around nine million people, or nearly a quarter of the Canadian population, will reach retirement age. Making Canada one of the countries with the oldest populations. This will have adverse effects on the workforce and will create a labour shortage in all industries.
The Canadian government announces the Immigration Levels Plan every year by November 1, according to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), which is Canada’s leading immigration law. But, the immigration levels plan for 2022-2024 is the second plan to be announced this year. The plan for 2021-2023 was announced in February of this year due to getting delayed by the federal elections on September 20, 2021.
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