Canada is increasing immigration levels in the next three years to help grow the economy and combat critical labour market shortages, the federal government has said.
Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced new targets on Tuesday which includes welcoming around 100,000 more permanent residents in 2025 than the historic 405,000 newcomers who came in last year.
“Last year, we welcomed the most newcomers in a single year in our history,” said Fraser. “This year’s immigration levels plan will help businesses find the workers they need, set Canada on a path that will contribute to our long-term success, and allow us to make good on key commitments to vulnerable people fleeing violence, war and persecution.”
Canada’s 2023–2025 Immigration Levels Plan sets targets of 465,000 permanent residents in 2023, 485,000 in 2024 and 500,000 in 2025. The plan also brings an increased focus on attracting newcomers to different regions of the country, including small towns and rural communities.
Highlights of plan include a long-term focus on economic growth, with just over 60% of admissions in the economic class by 2025 and using new features in the Express Entry system to welcome newcomers with skills in sectors facing acute labour shortages such as, health care, manufacturing, building trades and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
There will also be increases in regional programs to address targeted local labour market needs, through the Provincial Nominee Program, the Atlantic Immigration Program, and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot.
Ottawa is planning a more moderate increase in the number of family members who will be admitted into the country, and a decrease in the number of refugees.
According to a study by the Environics Institute support for immigration is also at an all-time high. Focus Canada research showed that, even as the country is now taking in more than 400,000 newcomers each year, seven in ten Canadians express support for current immigration levels – the largest majority recorded on Environics surveys in 45 years. This view is driven in large part by what is now an established public consensus that immigration is important to the country’s economy, along with increasing acknowledgement that Canada needs people from other countries in order to keep its population growing.