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Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan 2024-2026: Balancing Economic Growth and Social Support

Immigration Levels Plan

Introduction

On November 1st, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced the new Immigration Levels Plan for 2024-2026. The plan aims to strike a balance between economic growth and the concerns surrounding housing affordability and healthcare. With the target admission of 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024 and 500,000 in both 2025 and 2026, Immigration Minister Marc Miller believes that this comprehensive plan will help stabilize newcomers’ influx while addressing Canadians’ concerns.

Supporting Canada’s Labor Force

A Whole-of-Government Approach for Immigration

Immigration planning is set to be more collaborative under the new approach. The IRCC will consult stakeholders, government departments, provincial governments, and other partners to better understand skill shortages and identify optimal strategies to close those gaps. Furthermore, this approach will help the IRCC evaluate newcomers’ needs for effective support.

Improving Foreign Credential Recognition

Recognizing the value of foreign qualifications, IRCC plans to collaborate with provincial partners to enhance foreign credential recognition. By doing so, skilled newcomers will have greater opportunities to apply their expertise within the Canadian workforce.

Financial Assistance Programs

The new strategic program aims to promote awareness among newcomers about available financial assistance programs. These resources include loans for costs associated with credential recognition processes needed for professional integration into Canada’s labor market.

National Housing Strategy and Construction Industry

In response to the National Housing Strategy’s ambitious goal of investing more than $82 billion over the next decade, the Canadian government is actively seeking skilled immigrants to fill labor gaps in the construction and trade industries. This effort aims to expand housing availability and lower costs for Canadians.

Healthcare Concerns and Growing Demand

As concerns regarding the state of healthcare rise in Canada, it is evident that more workers are needed in healthcare and social assistance. Statistics from August 2023 revealed that 136,000 positions were available in these sectors. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed weaknesses in the healthcare system, as many professionals experienced burnout due to constant overtime work. With an aging population and up to nine million expected retirees by 2030, pressure on healthcare services will continue to rise.

Role of Immigrants in Healthcare

According to 2021 Census data, over 468,000 immigrants are employed in health-related occupations in Canada. However, this number is insufficient to fill all existing job vacancies and address the growing demand for healthcare services.

Category-based Express Entry: Targeting Key Sectors

In May, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced category-based selection Express Entry rounds aimed at targeting candidates with specific attributes relevant to key sectors. These targeted categories include Healthcare; STEM professions; Trades; Transport; Agriculture and agri-food; and French language proficiency.

Fulfilling Labor Force Gaps

Through category-based rounds, IRCC focuses on selecting candidates positioned to address labor force gaps in high job vacancy sectors such as healthcare and construction. To date, 5,600 candidates have been invited for healthcare occupations while 1,500 trades occupation candidates have also received invitations.

Upcoming Immigration Strategy

Deputy Immigration Minister Christiane Fox has confirmed that another draw for trades occupations will take place before December this year. Canada’s Levels Plan indicates that the country will admit 110,770 Express Entry candidates in 2024 and 117,500 in both 2025 and 2026.

Conclusion

The Immigration Levels Plan 2024-2026 demonstrates Canada’s commitment to adopting a sustainable and balanced approach to immigration. This comprehensive plan not only supports economic growth by addressing labor market shortages but also ensures the provision of adequate social support and integration measures for both the existing population and immigrants. By focusing on key aspects such as foreign credential recognition, housing, healthcare, and targeted sector immigration programs, the government is laying the groundwork for a thriving and diverse Canadian society that benefits all stakeholders.

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