On October 30, 2020, the Government of Canada published a plan to admit immigrants for the next three years. Under this plan, a quota of 1,233,000 immigration visas will be issued between 2021 and 2023. This is significantly more than the previous three years.

Does this mean that it is easier to immigrate to Canada and new opportunities for those wishing to become Canadian citizens? Not really. It all depends on what category of potential immigrants you belong to.

To understand why quotas have been increased and who benefits from it, it makes sense to start by remembering what preceded it, looking at the distribution of quotas across different categories, and discussing motives.

How much quotas have been increased

Traditionally, the Canadian government has announced plans to admit immigrants only next year, without looking far ahead. However, in 2017, it changed its rules and introduced a plan to receive immigrants for the first time for a three-year period.

This step was explained by the fact that employers and all stakeholders must have an understanding of the long-term prospects of Canadian immigration policy in order to make informed decisions and make plans in general.

At the same time it was stated that in the period from 2018 to 2020 it is planned to accept 980,000 immigrants. To date, there are no final statistics for the past period and it is difficult to say how this plan was implemented.

Usually declared quotas have always been chosen with excess, and in fact immigrants have taken more than originally planned. Of course, the situation with Kovid-19 made its adjustments, and many of those who received immigration visas were unable to enter Canada. Nevertheless, in general, it can be expected that over the past three years more than one million people were admitted.

If we compare these results with the plans for the next three years (which will also be clearly exceeded), we are talking about increasing the quotas by at least a quarter of a million. This is really a lot.

Here is a comparison worth making. Starting from 2021 Canada will receive more than 400,000 thousand people annually, while 10 years ago the annual quota was 210,000 – 230,000 people. That is, we are talking about the fact that Canada now accepts twice as many immigrants as it was ten years ago.

Obviously, it becomes easier to become a resident of Canada under these conditions.

Structure of immigration flows

Now about distribution of quotas by different streams. The total number of quotas for admission of immigrants for a period of three years is given by year, which is given below:

2021 – 401,000 immigrants
2022 – 411,000 immigrants
2023 – 421,000 immigrants

If we talk about breakdown by categories, we can distinguish 4 main threads. More than half of the quotas are allocated to two economic streams – through federal programs and provincial ones.

For the economic flow through federal programs, quotas are distributed as follows: 2021 – 124,000 immigrants; 2022 – 127,750 immigrants; 2023 – 131,500 immigrants.

For the economic flow of provincial programs, the distribution of quotas is as follows: 2021 – 124,000 immigrants; 2022 – 127,750 immigrants; 2023 – 131,500 immigrants: 2021 – 80,800 immigrants; 2022 – 81,500 immigrants; 2023 – 83,000 immigrants. These quotas do not include the Quebec program, which also provides a large number of immigration visas – in 2021 alone Quebec plans to accept 47,500 people for its economic programs.

At the same time you need to understand who is now passing through the economic class. In the vast majority of these are people who have received an invitation to work in Canada, and/or worked in Canada for a year. For them, increasing quotas is important because it increases their chances.

Another stream is family sponsorship, which also has significant quotas: 2021 – 103,500 immigrants; 2022 – 103,500 immigrants; 2023 – 104,500 immigrants. It’s about sponsorship of both spouses and parents.

The last stream is refugees, for which the following quotas are allocated: 2021 – 59,500 immigrants; 2022 – 60,500 immigrants; 2023 – 61,000 immigrants.

Official reasons for the increase in quotas

It must be said that such a significant increase in immigration quotas is a bold step by the Liberal Party, which is now in power. It’s brave because some Canadians are opposed to immigration, or at least support its reduction. And the percentage of such dissatisfied people is growing.

This part of Canadians is particularly irritated by the reception of refugees. Therefore, a general increase in quotas, including an almost double increase in quotas for refugees, is certainly not the most popular step.

Why, however, does the government pursue such a policy? It is explained by the need to increase the percentage of young people in the population.

Canada has one of the highest life expectancy rates, which is 83 years. By this indicator Canada is in 16th place in the world. By comparison, Russia is in 112th place with an average life expectancy of 73 years.

On the other hand, Canada has a low birth rate, by this indicator the country is in 190th place. As a result, the population is getting older, which is felt in the labor market. The situation has become especially acute in recent years due to the start of the baby boomer generation’s retirement.

In particular, about 9 million Canadians will retire in the coming years alone, which is almost a quarter of the country’s population. At the same time there is a maximum ratio of working people to the number of pensioners, at which the state can still provide a good standard of living for those who can no longer work.

The solution to this problem is seen in attracting large numbers of new immigrants from among young people. For this reason, Canada relies heavily on graduates from Canadian colleges and universities.

However, Canada benefits from this policy in two ways. First, international students pay for their education without any discounts (for Canadians there are subsidies up to 75%), parents often buy real estate in Canada, and in general they spend money earned in other countries, which stimulates the Canadian economy.

After graduation, students find jobs in Canada and go through immigration. As a result, Canada gets well-trained, well-established young people who are fully integrated into Canadian society.

Opponents of immigration criticize this policy quite strongly, urging them to focus on their own populations and encourage birth rates among young Canadians. They also call the bet on immigration an outdated approach that ignores the realities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with its total automation and displacement of people from all sectors of the economy.

Another argument against increased immigration is the uncertainty that has developed since Kovid-19. So far no one knows how long the fight against it will last, how it will affect the economy, whether we should wait for business to recover or whether we are entering a full-scale crisis. At least, critics believe that it is too risky to increase immigration in such incomprehensible conditions.

However, liberals persist in their view that immigration is necessary to rejuvenate the population. As a result, the country welcomes about 1% of its population every year. By this indicator, Canada is ahead of all countries in the world. In particular, in the U.S. this indicator is 3 times lower.

Unofficial reasons for increasing quotas

However, the above is only part of the big picture. There is a much more prosaic explanation for raising quotas – governments solve current problems, thus trying to avoid an emerging crisis.

When it comes to economic flows, we are talking about the need to legalize a large number of graduates from Canadian colleges and universities.

Due to the fact that all immigration policy of the last 8 years was built for the admission of young people, who received education and work experience in Canada, a huge influx of foreign students went to the educational institutions of the country. The ultimate goal for most of them is to stay and work in Canada.

As a result, the number of graduates who want and have reasons to immigrate has increased beyond the quotas allocated to economic flows. The government had no other solution to this problem than to increase admissions in this category.

That’s actually the whole explanation. Approximately the same reasons can be explained by the increase in quotas for family sponsorship.

The fact is that Canadians have great difficulty sponsoring parents because of the small quotas allocated to this category. The government tried to get out of this situation somehow by raffling off immigration visas for parents in a lottery or handing them out on a “who had first time to apply” principle.

As a result, there were always a large number of disgruntled people who filed lawsuits and held demonstrations of protest. And all this outrage has been going on for a year now, which has accumulated a critical mass, and the government has no other solution than to let everyone who wants to sponsor their parents. So, again, the long-awaited step.

The situation with refugees is a bit different, but here one can also see the motives. One of them is the personal preferences of Justin Trudeau and his entourage. For some reason, our Prime Minister is obsessed with the idea that Canada should play a much more important role in the work of the UN, and is trying to show how advanced Canada is in humanitarian issues. Apparently, his special attention to refugee issues has something to do with it.

The other point is a sharp increase in tension with China, which has significantly deteriorated over the past year. In this regard, the government has started initiatives to facilitate the admission of Hong Kong residents to Canada, including humanitarian programs. At least, this can also explain the significant increase in quotas for refugees.

Does the increase in quotas create new opportunities?

The main question is what makes quota increases possible for those who want to immigrate to Canada, and are there any new opportunities in this regard?

Unfortunately, there are no new opportunities. We have already mentioned more than once above that we are talking about normal plugging of holes. Otherwise, everything remains the same.

As before, the main stream of immigrants in economic categories will be graduates of Canadian colleges and universities who have found jobs in Canada. In addition, a very small percentage will be those who were able to get an invitation to work in Canada and/or have worked in Canada for at least one year.

For those who are not in these categories, it is unlikely that it will matter much if Canada accepts more immigrants. The same is true for changes in the scoring structure when you go through the Express Entry prescreening system.

For example, they are now giving more points for speaking English and/or French. However, it does not matter to you if you can not pass through the Express Entry system without an invitation to work in Canada or experience in Canada.

Therefore, you should either start by studying in Canada (the easiest and safest way to start) or try to find a job if you can be of real interest to Canadian employers.

Even in this case, the increased quotas will make a difference for you. At a minimum, it builds confidence that the effort and money you spend will eventually lead to permanent residency.

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