Canada’s immigration minister has declared that the country will rapidly increase immigration rates with targets close to half a million people per year.
Canadian Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Minister John McCallum has revealed new targets for immigration rates that are much higher than current numbers. The Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is looking to substantially increase the number of migrants into the country to cope with what it labels “demographic challenges”, reports the CBC.
The current number of migrants per year to Canada has hovered around 250,000 for almost a decade. According to the Liberal government, this number is not enough to stem the problems of a Canadian population that, like many others in the Western world, is becoming older.
The government claims that the new migrants, who if trends continue will likely come from India and China, will make up the shortfall in medical workers and others that will be needed to care for the elderly population. The economic growth advisory council of the government has advised an increase of up to 450,000 migrants within the next five years, an almost doubling of last year’s 239,800 immigrants.
While the Trudeau government has set an increased target of 305,000 migrants in 2016, the proposed 450,000 would be a record-breaking wave of migration into Canada. One of the ways Canada will increase migration is by easing the current immigration rules such as making it easier for international students to claim permanent residency.
Another rule that could be dispensed with is one which requires Canadian companies to hire Canadians before foreigners. Called a labour market impact assessment (LMIA), it is a form all employers must use to prove they require a foreign worker over a Canadian.
“So we’re going to make it easier for international students, 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,” said McCallum.
Many have been previously outraged at the temporary foreign worker programme, which was meant to fill shortages of labour in key areas but was more often used to hire cheap labour in low skilled areas like the fast food industry.
Trudeau himself wrote that he would like to scale back the programme, which is under review by the Canadian government who have said they would rather see a programme with a path to citizenship for the workers, many who come from the Philippines. McCallum also noted that the government was expediting and easing family unification for workers so that they can bring their families to Canada as well.
Prime Minister Trudeau has been criticised for his increase in accepting migrants as refugees from Syria and the Middle East – especially as his government has previously refused to prioritise marginalised groups like the Yazidis.
Since becoming prime minister, Trudeau has become the darling of the left, though many have expressed concern at his attendance of radical-linked mosques and new draconian legislation that would amend the Canadian human rights laws to potentially jail people for up to two years who “misgender” others.