Canada is betting on a sharp increase in immigration beginning this year as a way to boost the country’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government plans to significantly increase the number of new permanent residents it accepts over the next three years, and officials have taken steps in recent months to increase the pace of permanent resident approvals, largely by drawing on residents already in Canada on a temporary basis.
“History teaches us that when we grow our immigration levels, we grow our economy,” Canadian immigration minister Marco Mendicino said earlier this year.
Yet immigration experts say people who arrive in a country during an economic downturn typically face more barriers to finding a job and getting settled, and some have raised concerns that workers who are already in Canada could be displaced. Meanwhile, analysts point out that ongoing border restrictions and current processing backlogs could make it difficult for Canada to increase the numbers quickly.
The country’s current strategy to boost immigration for economic gain is the most aggressive among its peers.