The Canadian Bar Association
Immigration

Million-immigrant plan great for Canada

Canada’s plan to admit one million immigrants over the next three years strikes the right balance, Toronto immigration lawyer Robin Seligman tells AdvocateDaily.com.

The CBC reports that the federal government’s newly released plan is to admit 310,000 new permanent residents across all immigration classes in 2018, with a further 330,000 arriving in 2019, and a record-breaking 340,000 landing in 2020.    

Although the numbers sound large, some business groups have called for an even bigger influx to match economic demand, and Seligman, principal of immigration law boutique Seligman Professional Corporation, says she appreciates the government’s “step-by-step” approach.

“These numbers are great, and it’s better to be able to plan ahead,” she says, noting that it’s the first time the federal government has provided a forecast looking forward more than 12 months.

By the end of the plan’s cycle in 2020, Canada’s annual immigration level will total around 0.9 per cent of its overall population, up from 0.8 per cent currently, and Seligman says she would like it to keep edging up towards 1 per cent, a target endorsed by the Conference Board of Canada.

With an aging population and relatively low birth rate, she says immigration is a good way to boost the country’s tax base and enhance its prosperity.  

Federal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen echoed that sentiment at a news conference to unveil the plan.  

"Our government believes that newcomers play a vital role in our society," Hussen said. "Five million Canadians are set to retire by 2035 and we have fewer people working to support seniors and retirees.

“Immigration supports GDP growth by creating jobs, attracting investment, and driving innovation. Immigration is vital to all of us,” he added.

The vast majority of the new admissions to Canada over the next three years will be economic migrants, according to the plan, with 178,000 of the newcomers falling into that bracket in 2018, rising to almost 200,000 by 2020.

With immigration targets higher than ever, Seligman says Express Entry candidates should expect to see increased chances of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence over the coming years.  

She says employers too will be pleased with the plan because it promises to give them access to more of the skills they need to grow.

“It sends the message that Canada is open for business,” Seligman says.

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