Canada has just released its Immigration Levels Plan for 2023-2025. The Immigration Levels Plan acts as an immigration guide and outlines immigration targets over the next three years. The newest plans released aim at welcoming half a million new immigrants to Canada in 2025.
Critical labour market shortages have led many to turn to immigration as a path forward in addressing these critical shortages. The new plan embraces immigration as a strategy to help businesses find workers. It also aims to attract the skills required to fill key sectors, such as in health care, skilled trades, manufacturing and technology. This will help to manage the social and economic challenges facing Canada in the decades ahead.
Over the next three years, Canada will increase the number of new immigrants to the country each year. Canada will aim to welcome 465,000 new immigrants in 2023. The target will rise to 485,000 new immigrants in 2024. And it will again rise in 2025 to 500,000 new immigrants. The plan also brings an increased focus on attracting newcomers to different regions of the country, including small towns and rural communities.
The new plan also aims to increase 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.
Last year Canada welcomed over 405,000 newcomers, the most ever welcomed in a single year. Canada is looking to break that record for 2022 by welcoming nearly 432,000 by the end of the year – a target which is expected to be met.
Express Entry remains Canada’s most popular pathway for new permanent residents to immigrate to Canada through. The system manages three main federal economic programs, the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW), the Federal Skilled Trades (FST), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
The targets for Express Entry landings (principal applicants, spouses, and dependents) will rise to 82,880 in 2023, 109,020 in 2024, and 114,000 in 2025.
The PNP will remain Canada’s leading admissions program for economic class immigrants and targets will also increase to 105,500 in 2023, 110,000 in 2024, and 117,500 in 2025.
Refugee and humanitarian immigrants are also allocated under the immigration plan. Canada has long had a reputation of welcoming asylum seekers and displaced persons fleeing unsafe situations in their home countries.
Canada currently has high humanitarian class targets. This is due to its ongoing efforts to complete several campaigns such as welcoming some 40,000 refugees from Afghanistan and helping those fleeing the war in Ukraine.
The overall refugee class target will be just over 76,000 new landings in each of 2023 and 2024, before declining to 72,750 in 2025. Similarly for the humanitarian class target which is decreasing from nearly 16,000 in 2023 to 8,000 in 2025.
Canada has historically welcomed high numbers of newcomers to help keep its economy strong. Currently, Canada is facing a unique period of historic labour shortages alongside nearly one million job vacancies. Both are driving factors in the country’s growing immigration targets.
According to Statistics Canada, the number of job openings across the country reached an all-time high at nearly one million. This was an increase of 2.7% from the previous peak in the last quarter and over 80% above pre-pandemic levels. This has been the highest on record in recent years.
Vacancies have continued to rise in specific key sectors. Some of the hardest hit have been the health care and social assistance sector. The health care and social assistance sector has been growing rapidly due to the aging population. The shortage has been further exasperated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Canada faces an acute shortage of skilled workers, many businesses struggle to find the right people to fill positions. To help address this problem, Canada has turned to immigration to fill record numbers of job openings, a trend that is expected to continue in the future to meet labour demands and fill important jobs.
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