Federal Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino stated COVID-19 is showing us the need for continued immigration to Canada and the important contribution of immigrant workers to the Canadian economy. He further added, “It is vitally important that we continue to immigrate today in a manner that is safe and orderly and also to drive that future that we all believe will be underpinned by immigration as it has been in the past.” Immigration will remain, Mendicino believes, an “enduring value” for Canadians.
There are many sectors in the Canadian economy that rely heavily on immigrant workers and hence immigration is one of the most important factors that should go on to sustain the economy in the pandemic period. In Canada, many front-line workers, food supply chains, hospitals, and long-term care facilities, among others, all depend on the support of foreign workers, which can be considered as a crucial support to run the economy.
Canada’s 2020-2022 Immigration Levels Plan had set targets of 341,000 permanent residents in 2020, 351,000 in 2021, and total immigration could increase to as many as 390,000 new permanent residents by the year 2022. This represents an immigration level of nearly one percent of Canada’s population, which the Conference Board of Canada has said must be reached by 2030 to ensure modest population and economic growth.
There is still the possibility of the mentioned numbers getting revised in a short time when the government is expected to announce new immigration targets. There is another concern that the international students would not be able to enroll or attend the higher education institution this fall if the borders remained closed. The reason for the concern is because the international students were expected to contribute about $21.6 billion to the Canadian economy.
The government has sought a solution to the issue and recently taken new measures along with the policies that allow the international students to count online classes in Canada toward education programs and for immigration purposes. One major program reform announced will allow international students to enroll in online courses for the fall term while they are in a foreign country and still be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit after moving to Canada.