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“Look, this is simple: we need more people.”
With these words, Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser unveiled plans to welcome some 1.4 million migrants over the next three years.
According to Fraser’s announcement, Canada expects to welcome 465,000 new permanent residents in 2023, 485,000 in 2024 and up to 500,000 in 2025.
This means an increase of about 13% from the initial targets that the Canadian government had.
For them, the main aim of the measure is to narrow the labor gap that now exists in the country, where tens of thousands of available jobs remain unfilled.
And it goes against what other governments are promoting, such as the British, who have been strongly criticized for their immigration policies, or the United States, whose latest actions have tightened immigration control measures.
“The immigration plan will help companies find the workers they needFraser said.
One of the main reasons for the new opening is that the vacancies that arose during the covid-19 pandemic were not filled again.
The figures in this sense are paradoxical in Canada: while recording a total of 950,000 vacancies in various sectors, there are also one million unemployed.
The gap arises because most of them do not have the resources or skills to fill those vacancies or, as happens in some regions, do not live in areas where workers are needed in the moment.
Added to this phenomenon, according to what the government has indicated, is the fact that more and more Canadian citizens are retiring, leaving a void that could not be filled.
In addition, this program also aims to increase the resettlement of refugees who are currently dependent on government support.
But who are the people the Canadian government is looking for?
Health sector, software and restaurants
It’s not the first time Canada has opened its borders to attract more immigrants, but it’s the first time it’s happened on this scale.
“Canadians understand the need to increase our population if we are to meet the needs of the workforce, if we are to balance a worrying demographic trend and continue to reunite families,” Fraser said while presenting the new plan.
While the government noted that the lack of skilled labor affects all sectors of the Canadian economy, figures from government analyses point out that one of the hardest hit is the provision of medical services.
And this sector is followed by construction, manufacturing, hotels and tourism, including restaurants.
According to Fraser, Canada has about three employees for every retired citizen, so the goals of so-called “economic migration” are a priority.
“We need more workers in all sectors in all regions of the country, whether they are frontline health workers, truck drivers, home builders or software engineers,” he said.
The need is so great that while Canada’s Conservative Party, which opposes Justin Trudeau’s government, has criticized the decision announced this week, he had accepted the need for an opening of immigration.
However, some experts point out that it will not be an easy process because of the financial crisis not only Canada is experiencing, but also the world’s major economies, characterized by rising interest rates and high inflation.
For example, University of Waterloo economist Mikal Skuterud points out that while there are many reasons to increase the number of immigrants in Canada, the current situation is not very favorable for the opening that the North American country wants to achieve.
“The rise in interest rates could make it more difficult for these people to integrate into the country once they arrive,” Skuterud told Reuters news agency.
“We are at a kind of tipping point. There is a huge amount of uncertainty,” he added.
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