• Last Update 2022-12-03 08:01:00

Canada needs 1.45 million more immigrants to fill labor gap

World

Canada is setting record immigration goals to bring in 1.45 million immigrants by 2025 to help plug labor shortages.

“Look, folks, it’s simple to me. Canada needs more people,” Sean Fraser, Canada’s minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, told a news conference Tuesday.

The government is looking to boost a labor market that left nearly a million job vacancies in the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, he said.

The new immigration plan aims to take in 465,000 people in 2023, rising to 500,000 in 2025. The Canadian immigration department says it admitted 405,000 newcomers last year, which was “the most we’ve ever welcomed in a single year.”

“We’re building on that and setting higher targets in the years ahead, because immigration is critical to growing our economy and helping businesses find the workers they need,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted.

The rhetoric from Canada stands in contrast with many at the top of government in other Western countries, where officials have talked up curbing immigration and cast migrants as an economic burden.

British Home Secretary Suella Braverman, for example, faced criticism this week for describing migrants crossing the English Channel as “an invasion on our southern coast.” In an effort to stem an influx of asylum seekers traveling across the dangerous route into Britain, Braverman has supported a bid to deport people to Rwanda to press asylum claims there — a previous government plan that sparked outrage and hit a legal wall.

Rising border crossings are also at the forefront of polarizing issues in the United States, where some politically ambitious Republican governors have shuttled migrants to cities led by Democrats in protest over Biden administration policies.
In Canada, often a destination for economic immigration, the country’s growth policy appeared to be less divisive. Immigrants made up 23 percent of the population this year, the largest proportion in more than 150 years, the census agency announced last week.

Canada has long adopted an approach of attracting immigrants to offset the impact of low birthrates and an aging population, and it has reshaped some policies to overcome pandemic-related disruptions to movement and migration.

 “Canadians understand the need to continue to grow our population if we’re going to meet the needs of the labor force, if we’re going to rebalance a worrying demographic trend, and if we’re going to continue to reunite families,” Fraser said.

The country has about three workers for every retired citizen, Fraser said, describing the targets as unprecedented for economic migration. 

“We need more workers in every sector in every region of the country, regardless of whether it’s front-line health-care workers, truck drivers, home builders or software engineers,” he said.

 

(The Washington Post)

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