As it heads into an election year, Canada’s Conservative government has announced plans to bring in a record number of immigrants to the country in 2015.
Speaking on Friday, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said that Canada will aim to welcome up to 285,000 permanent residents in 2015, which represents a considerable increase over the immigration figures of the past few years. Nearly 65 per cent of the new arrivals will be economic immigrants and their dependents, up from a target of 62 per cent in the planned 2013 levels.
The last time Canada admitted as many as 280,000 permanent residents was in 2010. Mr. Alexander said the planned increase for 2015 reflects the government’s view that immigration is vital to Canada’s economic development and prosperity.
“We are recruiting a higher calibre of economic immigrant than we have ever seen before,” Mr. Alexander said. “This is a goal we’ve had for some time. Many provinces already have 70 per cent economic immigration; that’s the aspiration Canada has as well.”
The rise in immigration levels comes at the same time as the introduction of the Express Entry system for skilled workers, who will make up the majority of immigrants coming to Canada.
Mr. Alexander also announced changes to the live-in caregiver program, dropping the requirement for caregivers to live-in with their employers for the first year. The processing of permanent residency applications by caregivers is to be speeded up as well, as the current backlog meant some applicants would have had to wait as long as 10 years to reunite with their families, a situation that understandably put a lot of strain on many families.
Activists and advocacy groups for caregivers in Canada welcomed the changes to the caregiver program, but expressed their disappointment that the announcements didn’t go far enough, with many pushing for permanent residency rights for caregivers upon arrival in Canada.
Source: Globe and Mail