Canada aims to attract hundreds of thousands of permanent expats in 2014 as part of a new immigration plan to drive economic growth.
The plan involves attracting record numbers of new permanent residents under two of the most popular visa programmes according to Immigration and Citizenship Minister Chris Alexander.
The goal is to welcome up to 15,000 permanent residents under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) in 2014, the highest since the programme was launched in 2008, and between 44,500 and 47,000 under the Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP,) the highest ever levels under this scheme.
Alexander expects that the country will attract 240,000 to 265,000 new permanent residents and this will be done without affecting the chances of Canadians getting jobs.
‘Securing economic growth is and will remain our governmentís top priority. Canada is in a global competition for the best and brightest immigrants, and this plan is crafted with attracting the people we need for Canada to succeed,’ said Alexander.
‘While Canadians will continue to get the first crack at available jobs, getting the right people in the right places is key to addressing regional labour needs and fuelling Canada’s long term prosperity. We need newcomers willing to put their skills, ideas and energies to work,’ the minister explained.
Economic immigration is predicted to increase to 63 per cent in 2014. The remaining 37 per cent will consist of family class immigrants, refugees and others admitted under humanitarian programmes.
‘We will continue to drive down backlogs, reduce wait times and improve service. We will continue to reunite families. We will continue to give refuge to the world’s most vulnerable,’ said Alexander.
He explained that the drive will continue into 2015. Canada is moving from passive economic immigration to active recruiting under a new intake system tentatively titled the Expression of Interest System (EOI.) The plan for 2014 takes that change into account and works toward a successful launch on 01 January 2015.
Every summer, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) consults with provinces, territories and stakeholders across Canada to develop a balanced immigration plan.
Under CEC people who meet a minimum language requirement and have at least one year of skilled work experience in Canada can move to permanent residence. These include international student graduates and foreign nationals who are working legally in Canada on a temporary basis.
The CEC is a very popular choice for newcomers. To date, CIC has welcomed more than 25,000 permanent residents through the programme.
The PNP was created to align the immigration system with labour market needs. It allows provinces and territories to nominate qualified individuals to meet their unique labour market needs and promote business development.
The PNP is Canada’s second largest economic immigration programme and has helped to spread the benefits of immigration across the country and has grown from around 1,250 in 2000 to almost 41,000 people in 2012.
It has helped boost immigration outside the main metropolitan areas. In 2012, 42 per cent of all economic immigrants intended to settle outside of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, compared to only about 20 per cent in 2000.
Alexander said that the government is continuing to work with provinces and territories to ensure that the PNP remains focused on meeting Canada’s economic and labour market needs.