Canada

Last Updated on March 7, 2021

Canada’s move to slash immigration scores to allow more people to become permanent residents is getting the two thumbs up from the Conference Board of Canada’s associate director of immigration research.

“The long- and short-term benefits of maintaining high immigration levels are clear. In the long term, immigration fuels economic growth, improves our ratio of working-age Canadians to retirees, creates more tax revenue, and supplies skilled labour to key sectors,” wrote the Conference Board’s Iain Reeve in an op-ed on iPolitics. 

“Economic and population modelling by the Conference Board of Canada demonstrates that more immigration benefits the economy.”


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According to Reeve, spending by immigrants can help fuel economic recovery and the availability of immigrant labour will likely be essential in restoring the several sectors, including the hospitality sector.

“The government has good reasons to want to get as close to its immigration targets as possible, despite the challenges of COVID,” wrote Reeve on the Canadian political news website.

Last month, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) shocked immigration experts throughout the country by issuing more than five times as many Invitations to Apply (ITAs) and accepting candidates with scores as low as 75, roughly five times lower than usual, through the Express Entry system.

Immigration Vital to Canada’s Economic Recovery

“As we confront the pandemic’s second wave and chart a course for our recovery, attracting skilled immigrants – who bring the talents and skills our economy needs to thrive – is a central part of our plan,” noted the IRCC on its website.

“With travel restrictions limiting who can come to Canada, IRCC is pioneering new ways to engage those who are already here and hard at work. Their status may be temporary, but their contributions are lasting – and we’re hoping to help more of them stay permanently.”

Those invited in that latest draw were in the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) of the Express Entry pool, a category that requires they have at least one year of Canadian work experience, have proven that they can contribute to our economy and have paid taxes. 

The drastic move may have initially shocked many in the immigration field but those low CRS scores are likely to stay for the remainder of the duration of the global pandemic, wrote Reeve. 

“The pattern of relying on immigrants who have Canadian experience, but lower social capital, might continue as long as significant travel restrictions remain,” he wrote.

Despite the drop in CRS scores, the Conference Board’s immigration research expert says the latest group of foreign nationals to receive ITAs will likely do very well in Canada.

Expect Lower CRS Scores For Duration of Pandemic

“Our economic modelling indicates that even immigrants with comparatively lower social-capital attributes — for instance, refugee and family-class immigrants — still make significant contributions to the economy, especially over time,” he wrote.

“Also, most newcomers with experience living in Canada will already have Canadian work experience. This helps with future job searches, as employers tend to assess Canadian experience more favourably than foreign work experience. They will also arrive at jobs with a better understanding of Canadian culture and workplace norms, and greater facility with our official languages, neither of which may be their first.”

Late last year, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced Canada was going to greatly increase immigration levels to make up for the shortfall in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the new plan, Canada is planning to welcome more than 1.2 million newcomers between 2021 and 2023 with 401,000 new permanent residents to Canada in 2021, 411,000 in 2022 and 421,000 in 2023. 

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the previous plan set targets of 351,000 in 2021 and 361,000 in 2022.

“Immigration is essential to getting us through the pandemic, but also to our short-term economic recovery and our long-term economic growth,” said Mendicino. “Canadians have seen how newcomers are playing an outsized role in our hospitals and care homes, and helping us to keep food on the table.

“As we look to recovery, newcomers create jobs not just by giving our businesses the skills they need to thrive, but also by starting businesses themselves,” he said. “Our plan will help to address some of our most acute labour shortages and to grow our population to keep Canada competitive on the world stage.”

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