Canada’s post-COVID Economic Recovery Focuses on Record Levels of Immigration
Canada is increasing the number of immigrants it will welcome into the country to record levels as part of a plan to mitigate the negative economic impacts of COVID-19. This plan was revealed as the country faces a second wave of the virus that is expected to get worse as the country settles into the winter months. According to Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino, “Before the pandemic, our government’s goal to drive the economy forward through immigration was ambitious. Now, it is simply vital.”
The plan sets out to accept 1.2 million new immigrants over the course of the next three years. As laid out, Canada will welcome 401,000 in 2021; 411,000 in 2022; and 421,000 in 2023. This is an increase of 50,000 immigrants per year, up from the numbers in the original plan that was released prior to the implementation of pandemic lockdowns. The early plan had targets of 351,000 in 2021 and 361,000 in 2022.
Mendicino has indicated that the expected makeup of the immigration number will be 60% from the economic immigrant class, 30% from family reunification, and 10% from refugees. Current immigrants have played a vital role in keeping the economy going during the pandemic. The new proposal is in line with the governmental stance of the past three decades, which relies on high immigration to keep the economy going and help it rebound during times of recession.
Limitations & Criticism
However, due to travel restrictions and a limited workforce that has reduced application processing capacity, it is estimated that only 200,000, or 60%, of the targeted 340,000 new immigrants for 2020 will actually make it to Canada by the end of the year.
Although the government does expect to make up for the 2020 shortfalls through this new plan, critics say that processing times were already long pre-pandemic. In order to meet these new target levels, there is skepticism that it will be achievable without serious investment into the processing system. It is likely that processing times will get longer as the years go on, impeding reaching the targets, unless this is addressed.
Further criticism suggests that record high immigration targets may compound joblessness. The pandemic has created record unemployment and there has been criticism that these record high immigration targets may exacerbate the issue.
Priorities & Support
However, despite concerns, the plan is overwhelmingly well-received and some from the business sector actually feel that the plan may not be aggressive enough. The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters say that manufacturers routinely rely on immigrants to supplement their workforce. Currently, there are not enough immigrants to meet this demand.
However, the new plan does partly address this by setting out to rely heavily on economic immigrants that meet regional demands. It will focus on key sectors and areas like the Atlantic Provinces and rural zones that have been impacted to a greater extent by the current decline in immigration.
This plan is also welcomed by the Business Council of Canada. President and CEO of the council, Goldy Hyder, said, “Newcomers bring energy, skills, new ideas and entrepreneurial spirit. They start companies, fill skill shortages, buy houses and pay taxes … The minister’s plan will allow Canada to make up lost ground as the pandemic eases. It will inject new dynamism into our economy.”
Overall, the notion of relying on immigration to bolster the long-term economic success of the country has support across political parties and economic segments. This plan will open up immigration opportunities, although applicants may need to be flexible with the region, type of employment, or the business they intend to pursue.
As Canada moves to bring in record numbers of economic immigrants over the next three years, business immigration applicants will become even more important. Joorney works closely with applicants and their immigration professionals to draft bullet proof business plans that help increase the chance of case success. We also revise existing business plans, or can help with specific elements like market research or financial modeling.