Canada Must Increase Immigration Levels, Says Immigration Minister Sean Fraser

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Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has stated in an interview that Canada needs to increase its immigration ambition amid concerns for the same, raised by policy experts. Canada is planning on ramping up its immigration levels in the coming years. Experts have also stated that immigration may not be the best answer to Canada’s labour shortages.

In 2022, Canada gave permanent residency to 431,645 people which was a record high. The government has plans for increasing this number in the coming year with the goal to reach 500,000 immigrants per year by 2025 to address the country’s labour shortages and demographic changes. Some policy experts, however, have stated that immigration may not be the right solution to Canada’s labour shortages as it could have a negative impact on health care, housing, and the labour market.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser reportedly spoke with The Canadian Press and shared that Canada needs to increase its immigration numbers, backing the Liberal government’s November 2022 plan. “If we don’t continue to increase our immigration ambition and bring more working-age population and young families into this country, our questions will not be about labour shortages, generations from now. They’re going to be about whether we can afford schools and hospitals,” he said.

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On the other hand, a political science professor at the University of New Brunswick, Ted McDonald, believes this is not the ideal solution to labour shortages. “I think the policy would make more sense if it’s aligned with what are seen as underlying structural labour market shortages that are going to persist,” he said. But, he did add that the birth rate in Canada has been on the decline and immigration will help with that.

Fraser also added that in 2021, 157,000 international students became permanent residents which means many of the new permanent residents have already been living in Canada. The Immigration Minister shared that there are some changes coming to the Express Entry system as well that will allow immigrants to be chosen based on the region and sector in Canada they are going to.

There has been a debate over the plan to increase immigration over the coming years ever since the federal Liberal government announced its plan to increase immigration to 500,000 immigrants per year by 2025, and even high in the following years.

Vineet Washington

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