Canada to increase immigrant numbers: Minister

Canada’s Immigration Minister, John McCallum, has publicly stated that he would like to see immigrant intake numbers to Canada raised significantly.

During a speech to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines last week, the Minister said that Canada would be willing to significantly increase immigration beyond its current record level as a way to fill the country’s labour needs.

“So why not substantially increase the number of immigrants coming to Canada? And that is, I think, I hope, what we are about to do,” McCallum said.

This year, Canada is seeking to admit between 280,000 and 305,000 new permanent residents in 2016 — a record increase from the 260,000 to 285,000 newcomers targeted in 2015.

McCallum has previously announced that he will ease some of the existing visa rules to make it easier for international students to come to Canada and become permanent residents. This is likely to see the need for a labour market impact assessment (LMIA) — a document all employers need to hire temporary foreign nationals over Canadian workers — waived for international students and in some other instances.

“We’re going to make it easier for international students,” McCallum explained. “We’re going to reduce some of the barriers in our immigration system… we don’t think that every immigrant needs to go through what we call a labour market impact assessment process. We think it can be simplified. We think there are some rules which are no longer necessary.”

The Minister, however, acknowledged that his plan to boost immigration numbers won’t be popular throughout the country.

“Not every Canadian will agree,” he admitted. “But I think with our mindset of welcoming newcomers in the beginning, with the facts of the labour shortages, aging population, we have a good case to make, and I think we will be able to convince a higher proportion of Canadians that this is the right way for Canada to go.”

Philippines is currently the top source country for permanent residents in Canada, according to the latest data published by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Article published 16th August 2016