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Canada To Increase Immigration Levels Despite Coronavirus Pandemic

Canada is expected to continue increasing immigration levels beyond 2020, despite COVID-19 travel restrictions and reduced numbers of newcomers.

Canada’s immigration minister, Marco Mendicino, is not cutting down government immigration targets for the next three-year levels plan, according to Bloomberg reports.

Just a week before Canada went into lockdown, Minister Mendicino announced that Canada would welcome over one million newcomers by 2022. Since the Canadian border was closed on March 18 to non-essential travels, the number of new permanent residents dropped by roughly Sixty-four (64) percent of 2019 levels this past August.

“Mendicino’s office has laised with various businesses, labor and settlement organizations to assess the current demand for immigration,” according to Bloomberg.

Canada has historically used immigration to fill gaps in the labor market, and help grow the population.

Minister Mendicino previously stated that immigration will remain an “enduring value” post-COVID-19. The ministers’ meeting on immigration is another signal pointing to high immigration targets in the years to come.

High immigration levels, few newcomers

Despite high immigration targets, travel restrictions are inhibiting the flow of potential newcomers. Though Canada was set to welcome 341,000 newcomers this year, so far only 128,186 newcomers arrived between January and August.

“A high unemployment rate that looks likely to continue, and the fact Trudeau’s minority government must look for supports from opposition political parties to pass legislations, pose serious challenges,” the Bloomberg report says.

Even if Canada resumes 2019 levels of new permanent resident admission, the number of permanent residents will only rise to 240,000, or about Seventy (70) per cent of the target, Agoposowicz Andrew , an economist at the Royal Bank of Canada, told Bloomberg.

The declines in immigration is also having serious impacts in the housing market.

The vacancy rate for rental apartment in the Toronto area is now more than two (2) per cent for the first time in ten (10) years, according to third-quarter data from research firm Urbanation Inc.

The number of condominium rental listings increased in the third quarter of 2020, and average monthly rents plummetted more than nine per cent.

Marco Mendicino must announce the new immigration levels targets before the end of the month.

This is the second immigration levels announcements this year, since the 2019 general election allowed the new government to delay the announcement until spring.

Mr Mendicino must present the new multi-year levels plan to Parliament before Nov. 1.

Minister Mendicino is also waiting on a mandate letter from Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, which will further shed light on the government’s future plans for immigration.