Today, Canada announces its Immigration Levels Plan for 2021-2023 in which affirmed it will target the highest level of immigration in its history.
Over the next coming three years, Canada will aim to welcome the following number of new immigrants:
- 2021: 401,000 immigrants
- 2022: 411,000 immigrants
- 2023: 421,000 immigrants
The only time Canada welcomed over 400,000 immigrants in a year was in 1913 before the first world war when it received 401,000 newcomers. It has never come close to this number again.
The 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan aims to bring in about sixty (60) percent of all newcomers under economic class programs, including via Express Entry and the Provincial Nominee Program.
The Immigration Levels Plan is the major immigration announcement made by the Canadian government each year.
It highlights the number of new permanent residents Canada plans to welcome over the coming years, and what immigration categories Canada aims to admit them under.
Canada welcomes new immigrants under the following categories: family; economic; refugee; and humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
Earlier this year, on March 12, the Canadian government announced it would aim to attract over one million new permanent residents between 2020 and 2022.
A few days later, Canada had to shut down its borders due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As a result, Canada will likely fail to attain the 341,000 immigration target level it set for this year, but, it has been holding Express Entry draws throughout the COVID-19 pandemic that will result in Canada breaking its Express Entry record this year. In addition, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) draws are still ongoing.
Why Canada has to maintain high immigration levels?
Canada has maintained high immigration levels to offset the negative fiscal and economic impacts of its aging population and low birth rates.
Canada has one of the world’s oldest populations, with nearly eighteen (18) percent of its population being age sixty-five (65) and over.
It also has one of the world’s lowest birth rates at 1.47 births per woman. As such, Canada will face problems growing its economy and supporting government spendings in the future. These challenges can be offset by welcoming more immigrants to support the labor force and economic development.
Also, Canada is welcoming a high level of immigration by its standards.
Since Canada was founded in 1867, it has only welcomed at least 300,000 immigrants in a year just five times. It is presently welcoming 0.9 percent of its population in immigrants, which is three times bigger than the per capita new immigrant intake in the United States.
At the same time, Canada has had a higher per capita intake in time past, welcoming one (1) percent or more of its immigrants’ population, something it regularly achieved in the decades before the First World War.
Canada’s immigration record was achieved in 1913 when it welcomed about 401,000 immigrants which were over five (5) percent of its population in newcomers. Today, a five (5) percent new immigrant intake would result in two million newcomers arriving in Canada.
Canada should eventually exceed the 400,000 annual newcomer threshold.
It is on track to welcome around 3.5 million new immigrants this decade, which is higher than the 2.8 million immigrants it admitted between 2010-2019.