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The newly appointed Canada’s immigration minister, Sean Fraser said he is prepared to increase Canada’s immigration levels if it is necessary to address labour shortages. Canada is currently experiencing significant job shortages in large part due to fewer immigrants arriving from overseas amid the pandemic.

The country is currently pursuing its most ambitious Immigration Levels Plan in its history as it aims to welcome 401,000 immigrants in 2021, another 411,000 in 2022, and an additional 421,000 in 2023.

The minister revealed that the new Immigrations Levels Plan of 2022-2024 will be announced by February 10, 2022, at the latest.

The data has been retrieved from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) showing that 46,315 new permanent residents completed their landing in October, even more than the 45,000 landed in September. 

Canada has now welcomed 313,838 temporary residents of Canadian immigrants between January and October 2021. It needs to land about 87,000 more immigrants (an average of 43,500 per month) in the remaining two months of this year to achieve its newcomer goal for 2021.

Opportunities and challenges facing the immigration system

Fraser spoke candidly in his interview with the Toronto Star on current obstacles, conceding “There is no shortage of challenges ahead of me.”

Discussing Canada’s backlog of some 1.8 million immigration applications, Fraser said “I don’t want to communicate to you today that in a short period, all of these problems will be fixed. They weren’t made overnight and they won’t be fixed overnight. Iwant to accelerate the work that’s going to help clear some of these backlogs. It’s going to make the process less painful for families that are trying to pursue a new life or reunite with their loved ones or find a job to contribute to our economy.”

He noted that citizenship applications are being digitized and IRCC is looking to address other issues slowing down the immigration system. For example, he said it does not make sense to deny the temporary entry of family members currently awaiting the processing of a sponsorship application.

Nonetheless, Fraser sees a tremendous opportunity ahead of him to help improve the immigration system. He added, “Things are at such a strained point as a result of COVID-19 that I see an opportunity to make an extraordinary difference coming from this particular starting point.”

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