Canada to increase immigration targets after COVID disruption

Canada to increase immigration targets after COVID disruption

Canada is aiming to add 410,000 new permanent residents in 2021, citing a need for more immigration after COVID-19 interrupted the usual process.

The goal is over 50,000 more than the country was planning on adding in 2020, prior to the start of the COVID-10 pandemic. 

“The plan today helps us to make up for the disruption that has been caused by COVID-19,” Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino told Reuters. “It paints a vision for the future where we see immigration as one of the keys to our economic recovery and our long-term prosperity,” he said, adding the government is focused on filling labor gaps in the healthcare and technology sectors. 

The lofty goal would set a record for the amount of foreigners settling in Canada, the highest figure since the 1900s. 

According to the plan, Canada will welcome more than 1.2 million new immigrants over the next three years, with an annual intake that would reach 401,000 in 2021; 411,000 in 2022; and 421,000 in 2023 — equivalent to one per cent of the population.

While the government touted the need for migrants to strengthen the economy, the unemployment rate in Canada, the unemployment rate currently stands at 9%, from an all-time high of 14% in May. Over 8 million Canadians applied for emergency COVID relief benefits in the form of the CERB. Canada's unemployment rate was around 5% prior the pandemic.