Canada received the highest number of immigrants for at least 45 years in the first three months of 2016, according to the latest figures.
A Statistics Canada report shows 86,216 new immigrants entered the country between January 1 and April 1, as the Liberal government made good on its election pledge to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees.
The figures are the highest since the current way of counting immigrants was introduced, back in 1971.
“Canada has never received this number of immigrants in a single quarter,” the StatsCan report points out. The previous record was set in the third quarter of 2010, when 84,292 new immigrants came into the country.
As a result, Canada’s population growth also spiked during the first quarter of 2016, rising by 106,966 people to 36,155,487.
This was the largest rise for a first quarter since 1989, when a population increase of 115,420 was recorded.
These high levels of immigration should come as no surprise, as Immigration Minister John McCallum told parliament in March that he expected record numbers of newcomers in 2016.
McCallum’s report predicted up to 305,000 immigrants would be admitted, spearheaded by Syrian refugees.
If the first quarter numbers were repeated throughout the year, approaching 330,000 new immigrants will have been accepted come January 2017.
McCallum’s report predicted a slight drop in the number of economic class migrants in a shift towards a humanitarian and family reunification immigration policy.
Canada’s Immigration Plan in Numbers
|Economic||Federal Economic- High Skilled||54,000||59,000||58,400|
|Federal Economic- Caregivers||20,000||22,000||22,000|
|Federal Economic- Business||500||900||800|
|Provincial Nominee Program||46,000||48,000||47,800|
|Quebec Skilled Worker||25,500||27,000||26,200|
|Quebec Business||5,2000||5, 500||5,400|
|Family||Spouses, Partners & Children||57,000||62,000||60,000|
|Parents & GrandParents||18,000||20,000||20,000|
|Refugees & Protected Persons||Protected Persons in Canada & dependants in abroad||10,000||11,000||10,000|
|Blended Visa Office-Referred||2,000||3,000||2,400|
|Privately Sponsored Refugees||15,000||18,000||17,800|
|Refugees & Protected Persons Total||51,000||57,000||55,800|
|Humanitarian and Other||Humanitarian and Other||2,800||3,600||3,600|
Since coming to power in October 2015, the Liberal government has admitted 27,580 Syrian refugees into the country through both private and public sponsorship. The previous Conservative government’s plan was to admit 11,000 over three years.
The influx has not happened without teething problems, including some criticism of the process by one of the leading groups trying to facilitate private sponsorship.
But overall the program has boosted Canada’s reputation among the nations of the world, where negative attitudes towards immigrants makes the process of accepting more refugees difficult.
A recent report concluded Canada’s positive attitude towards immigration was born out of the country’s long history of welcoming new people, and its way of involving the whole society in immigration policy.
Several reviews are underway as part of a wide-ranging look at Canada’s immigration policy.
Some of the expected changes include a look at how skilled IT professionals can be brought in more quickly, how international students are scored under the Express Entry system, and how the Temporary Foreign Worker Program can be altered to avoid exploitation.
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