Canada intends to significantly increase its migration thresholds over the next three years to offset the drop in the number of foreigners received in 2020 due to the Pandemic, the area minister announced on Friday.
The North American country plans to host more than 1.2 million immigrants between 2021 and 2023, almost 200,000 more than the ceiling established before the Pandemic, said the head of the immigration portfolio, Marco Mendicino.
In 2020, Canada will have welcomed only a fraction of the 341,000 people initially planned, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, which has caused the closure of borders and the suspension of international flights, the Minister said in a press conference.
The situation should return to normal in 2021, according to this plan focused mainly on economic growth but also family reunification and the reception of refugees.
To offset the drop in the number of migrants in 2020, the government plans, in particular, to grant permanent residence to temporary workers, asylum seekers, and foreign students already in Canada.
“Newcomers have played an inordinate role in our response to COVID-19,” Mendicino said, paying tribute to asylum seekers who worked on the front lines in nursing homes affected by the Pandemic in the spring.
“Immigrants are vital to our healthcare system and represent one in four workers in our hospitals and nursing homes,” he said. A third of business owners in Canada are migrants, he noted.
In 2019, immigration accounted for 80% of the population growth of Canada, a country of 38 million people.