“Look, this is simple: we need more people.”
With these words, Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser unveiled plans to welcome nearly 1.4 million migrants over the next three years.
According to Fraser’s announcement, Canada expects to welcome 465,000 new permanent residents in 2023, 485,000 in 2024 and up to 500,000 by 2025.
This means an increase of about 13% from the initial goals that the Canadian government had.
For them, the measure’s main objective is to reduce the labor gap that now exists in the country, where tens of thousands of available jobs have not been filled.
And it goes against what other governments such as the British promote, which has been strongly criticized for its immigration policy, or the United States, where the latest actions have tended to tighten immigration control measures.
“Immigration plan will help businesses find the workers they needFraser said.
One of the main reasons behind the new opening is that the job vacancies that were created during the covid-19 pandemic were not filled again.
The numbers in this sense are paradoxical in Canada: while they register a total of 950,000 vacancies in different sectors, there are also a million unemployed people.
The gap is created because most of them do not have the tools or the skills to be able to fill those vacancies or, as is the case in some regions, do not live in areas where workers are needed in the moment.
In addition to this phenomenon, according to what the government has indicated, there is also the fact that more and more Canadian citizens are retiring from their jobs, which has created a void that has not been possible to fill.
In addition, this program also seeks to increase the resettlement of refugees who are currently dependent on government assistance.
But who are the people the Canadian government is looking for?
Health sector, software and restaurants
It is not the first time that Canada has opened its borders to attract more immigrants, but it is the first time that it has been done on this scale.
“Canadians understand the need to increase our population if we are going to meet the needs of the workforce, if we are going to balance a worrying demographic trend and continue to reunite families,” Fraser said during the presentation of the new plan.
Although the government noted that the lack of skilled labor impacts all sectors of the Canadian economy, heas figures from government analyzes point out that one of the most affected is the provision of medical services.
And this sector is followed construction, manufacturing, hotels and tourism, which includes restaurants.
According to Fraser, Canada has about three workers for every retired citizen, so the goals of so-called “economic migration” are a priority.
“We need more workers in all sectors in all regions of the country, regardless of whether they are frontline health care workers, truck drivers, home builders or software engineers,” he said.
Such is the need, that although the Canadian Conservative Party, which is in opposition to the government of Justin Trudeau, has criticized the decision announced this week, had accepted the need for an opening of immigration.
However, some experts point out that it will not be an easy process due to the financial crisis that not only Canada but the main economies in the world are experiencing, marked by rising interest rates and high inflation.
Thus, the University of Waterloo economist Mikal Skuterud points out that, although there are many reasons to increase the number of immigrants in Canada, the current situation is not very favorable for the opening that the North American country wants to achieve.
“The increase in interest rates may make it more difficult for these people to integrate into the country once they arrive,” Skuterud told the Reuters news agency.
“We are at a real kind of tipping point. There is an enormous amount of uncertainty,” she added.