Why is Canada inviting 1.5 million immigrants in next three years?

Canada has dramatically increased the immigrants’ entry to boost its economy amid the labour shortage crisis. Last year, the country took in 405,000 permanent residents, the highest-ever count. And, this is to increase further in the next couple of years. 

According to the Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025 released last month, Canada aims to welcome 465,000 new immigrants in 2023. Then in 2024, the target is to invite 485,000 new immigrants and 500,000 new immigrants in 2025. That is, almost 1.5 million new immigrants coming to the country over the next three years.

As per a BBC report, Canada’s immigration inflow is about eight times the number of permanent residents each year — per population — than the UK, and four times more than its southern neighbour, the United States.

Why Canada is betting high on immigration?

Two significant factors are leading to country’s growing immigration targets — an acute labour shortage and at the same time, there are one million job vacancies in the country. 

Labour shortages are majorly impacted by Canada’s low birth rate of 1.4 children per woman, one of the lowest globally. The country has one of the world’s oldest populations. Approximately nine million people, or nearly a quarter of Canada’s population, will reach retirement age by 2030.

To ease the immigration process further, the country has announced to relax the rules for Express Entry draw, the pathway to invite international skilled workers to the country by offering permanent residency.

Accordingly, from 2023, the Express Entry system will transition away from a focus on CRS scores and conduct draws that allow Canada to welcome immigrants that help the country better focus on addressing specific areas of labour market need and weakness.

However, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada expressed that it will “consult a wide range of stakeholders to inform new categories in Express Entry» to ultimately decide on the details of the new format.

How Canada immigration policy is different from the US and the UK?

Canada’s policy is unique as it emphasises on economic immigration — about half of Canada’s permanent residents are welcomed because of their skills, not under family reunification.

In the UK, a bit over one in four permanent residents are welcomed through the economic stream. In the US, only about 20% of green cards are issued for economic reasons. Both countries have signalled they hope to increase the proportion of economic immigrants entering their respective countries, but a big difference for both countries is that most economic immigrants must be sponsored by their employers, the BBC report cited. 

However, the immigration policy in Australia and New Zealand is quite similar systems to Canada.

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