Canada has announced plans to target 300,000 new immigrants in 2017, as it looks to spur a stagnant economy with a continued record number of newcomers.
The levels for 2017 are consistent with 2016 overall targets with an increase of 12,100 in the economic category, an increase of 4,000 for family class and a decrease of 15,800 for refugees.
Federal Immigration Minister John McCallum has recently sought a substantial increase from 2016 levels having heard from businesses and provincial politicians on the need for more workers.
The 2017 Immigration Levels Plan means McCallum has not yet won the support he needed for a boost in immigration levels.
The last period of time Canada welcomed so many new immigrants in a calendar year was in the early 1910s, putting into perspective the Liberal government’s continued drive to bring in foreign workers under a policy of managed immigration levels.
The planned 2017 levels:
Economic Class: 172,500
This includes immigrants selected under a number of programs including federal skilled workers, skilled trades and the Canadian experience class (applying under the express entry system), federal business programs, provincial nominees and Quebec.
Family Class: 84,000
This includes spouses, partners, children, parents and grandparents.
This includes government and privately sponsored refugees.
|Immigration Category||Category||2016 target||2017 target|
|Economic||Federal Economic- High Skilled||58,400||73,700|
|Federal Economic- Caregivers||22,000||18,000|
|Federal Economic- Business||800||500|
|Provincial Nominee Program||47,800||51,000|
|Quebec Skilled Worker||26,200||29,300|
|Family||Spouses, Partners & Children||60,000||64,000|
|Parents & Grandparents||20,000||20,000|
|Refugees & Protected Persons||Protected Persons in Canada & dependants in abroad||10,000||15,000|
|Blended Visa Office-Referred||2,400||1,500|
|Privately Sponsored Refugees||17,800||16,000|
|Refugees & Protected Persons Total||55,800||40,000|
|Humanitarian and Other||Humanitarian and Other||3,600||3,500|
Despite regularly showing his support for increased immigration levels, McCallum was always careful to say he needed backing from within the Liberal party to move forward with his plan.
He did have the support of Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, who is keen to see the creation of a new Global Talent Visa to help bringing in highly skilled talent more quickly.
Bains wants to see the government shape the argument for increased immigration in economic terms, viewing more newcomers as central to Canada’s future prosperity.
A recent report by the Advisory Panel on Economic Growth stated that in order to spur growth in Canada’s economy, a 50 per cent increase in skilled worker and entrepreneur immigration was required, which would bring levels to 450,000 by 2021.
The 2017 levels are a confirmation that McCallum views 450,000 as a hugely ambitious figure.
Businesses have called for immigration levels to increase significantly, having long made the argument that growth has been stunted by the lack of access to skilled labour.
By keeping the number of new immigrants at 300,000 for 2017, the federal government is establishing a benchmark level for the coming years.
It could not jump in and significantly increase the number of newcomers without upsetting a large proportion of the electorate. Instead, it will add numbers, but in a strategic and measured way.
It is important to note that while the upper target for 2016 immigration is 305,000, the government is expected to exceed that figure after welcoming 320,000 newcomers in the year to July.
The upper target for 2017 is 320,000 but if 2016 is anything to go by, the government views these figures as guidance rather than imposing any strict limit.
Numbers will rise significantly in the come years, but the government knows the increase has to be carefully managed to appease all stakeholders.
In pure number terms, more skilled labour will be welcomed to Canada in 2017 – now businesses will be looking out for how the government intends to adapt policy to streamline how talent is brought in.
The LMIA is the process of proving there are no qualified Canadians to fill the available position.
McCallum also intends to allow many more international students to remain in Canada after they graduate, possibly also filling some of the increased skilled labour quota.
“Immigration plays an important role in keeping Canada competitive in a global economy,” a government statement said.
“It helps offset the impacts of an aging population and the fact that the number of people in Canada’s labour force will soon be in decline. In fact, immigration will soon account for all net labour force growth as the number of retirements outpaces the number of Canadian youth joining the labour market.
“For these reasons, the Government has established 300,000 as a new baseline for permanent resident admissions with the majority of these selected as economic immigrants.”
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