The Government of Canada is going to minimize the economic fallout from the drastic drop in new immigrants due to worldwide COVID-19 travel restrictions by trying something new: giving eligible foreign nationals the chance to stay in Canada.
Canada’s immigration ministry Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced last week that it will move forward to making it easier for more than 1 million international students, temporary foreign workers and refugees to become permanent residents (and eventually Canadian citizens).
IRCC minister Marco Mendocino said that it’s the most logical next step to compensate for the steep decline in the number of new immigrants to Canada because of worldwide COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Mendocino said that “for those who are already in Canada and here on a temporary basis, it behooves us to see whether or not there’s a way to accelerate their pathway to becoming Canadian.”
Canada is highly reliant on immigration to drive its economy. New immigrants drive labour force growth and demand, especially in the country’s urban centres, which are already showing signs of weakness.
Different immigration programs bring large numbers of new permanent residents and temporary foreign workers, the numbers of which both of which are down dramatically.
According to Statistics Canada (StatsCan), the number of temporary foreign workers increased by 190,952 in 2019. For the first six months of 2020, there was a decrease of 18,221.
The number of new immigrants also fell. From January to August, only 128,430 new immigrants entered Canada. IRCC targets were set for 341,000 new immigrants for 2020. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, IRCC will miss their targets by about 150,000.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on Canada’s population growth.
Population growth for the first quarter of 2020 was recorded at only 0.1%, the lowest quarterly growth rate since records were first kept in 1946.
Mendicino told Bloomberg that giving international students, temporary foreign workers and refugees the opportunity to apply for permanent residency will help with Canada’s COVID-19 response, as well as its population growth strategies.
It would be easier for Canada to process permanent residency applications from eligible international students, temporary foreign workers and refugees who are already in Canada.
Mendicino said that IRCC will be looking closely at the “domestic immigration pool in very short order to identify the workers, the students, the asylum seekers who have the skill sets that align with essential services in the economy.”
International students who will apply for permanent residency in Canada are seen as an excellent opportunity to grow the population, so the Government of Canada is taking steps to make it easier for them to work in Canada. Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) have been given permission to allow international students in campus provided that they follow public health protocols.
Mendicino told Bloomberg that “international students who tend to be a younger population, who tend to be right at the outset of their careers having a longer period within their lifespan to contribute and they are a very attractive pool that we’re going to look very closely at.”
MENDICINO – PATHWAYS FOR MANUAL & SKILLED LABOURERS
With US President Donald Trump announcing immigration restrictions, the minister for Government of Canada‘s immigration department, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Marco Mendicino is encouraging the world to “come to Canada” instead.
The American president signed an Executive Order, which will prevent permanent residents and foreign workers from entering the United States.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mendicino has maintained that the Government of Canada is still very much committed at welcoming international students, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and permanent residents.
The ongoing pandemic has had a negative effect on the Canadian economy, and the immigration minister continues to believe that immigrants will have an important role to play in Canada’s post-pandemic recovery.
In a recent interview, Mendicino said that Canada is prepared to take advantage of the US Government’s decision to suspend their immigration plans for the remainder of 2020.
“We have a plan in place that looks to leverage the best and the brightest from around the world,” Mendicino said. “We’ve got pathways like the Express Entry program, and the Global Talent Stream, which will help to bring entrepreneurs, engineers, and innovators. We’ve also got pathways for manual laborers and skilled laborers.”
Due to the pandemic, the Government of Canada closed off its borders, with exceptions made to returning Canadian citizens and permanent residents. International students and OFWs with valid work permits were also allowed to return to Canada.
With IRCC and Visa Applications Centres (VACs) around the world operating at reduced capacity, new applications were suspended, and extended processing times for existing applications were to be expected.
Shortly before the outbreak, Mendicino presented his revised immigration plans, which projected to welcome 341,000 new permanent residents in 2020.
Canada has more than 100 different immigration programs for skilled workers considering moving to Canada. A number of these programs allow eligible international students and OFWs to apply for permanent residence.
ABOUT MARCO MENDICINO
Marco Mendicino is the Member of Parliament (MP) for the riding of Eglinton-Lawrence in the city of Toronto, Ontario.
Medicino is of Italian descent, with an extensive background working in law, having worked at the Law Society of Upper Canada, as well as a federal prosecutor.
He was part of the team that successfully prosecuted the infamous Toronto 18.
Mendicino is an advocate of establishing better laws to combat organized crime as a member of the House of Commons.
He first became an MP in 2015, serving as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.
In 2107, he served as Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, advancing the Trudeau government’s policies on criminal justice reform, reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and restorative justice.
Mendicino was reelected in 2019.
Medicino will be taking over from Ahmed Hussen, who will be assuming the leadership of the Ministry of Families, Children and Social Development.
MARCO MENDICINO IRCC
As minister for IRCC, Mendicino will be responsible for carrying out Justin Trudeau’s immigration policies.
Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party won the election, and will now do their best to fulfil promises made during the campaign, including raising immigration levels, creating the Municipal Nominee Program (MNP), eliminate citizenship application fees and make the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP) permanent.
RAISING IMMIGRATION LEVELS BY 2021
During their first mandate, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party increased immigration levels to 330,800 in 2019.
They are planning to increase this to 350,000 by 2021. If successful, they would have welcomed more than a million Newcomers to Canada in the span of three years.
Trudeau’s government also put an emphasis on taking in more refugees, increasing the number by 15%.
The Trudeau government has committed to making “modest and responsible” increases to its immigration rates in the coming years.
FREE CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP FOR EVERYONE
If you want to become a Canadian citizen right now, you’ll first have to meet the minimum requirements, pass the test and pay a total of CAD630 for every family member.
The Trudeau government has promised to do away with the application fees, in an effort to make changes to Canada’s Citizenship Act and make acquiring Canadian citizenship easier for permanent residents.
INTRODUCING THE MUNICIPAL NOMINEE PROGRAM (MNP)
The Trudeau government has also promised to spread the economic benefits of bringing in Newcomers to Canada through the creation of the Municipal Nominee Program (MNP).
Word has it that they are expecting to bring in an additional 5,000 new immigrants under the new MNP.
MAKING THE ATLANTIC IMMIGRATION PILOT PROGRAM (AIPP) PERMANENT
The Trudeau Government has committed to making the AIPP permanent.
The AIPP was established to reverse the decline in population in the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nove Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island by giving Newcomers willing to work in live there a more streamlined pathway to permanent residency.
The AIPP was extended until 2021, but it now looks like it will become a permanent immigration program.
MARCO MENDICINO AND THE FILIPINO COMMUNITY
Mendicino’s riding of Eglinton-Lawrence has a large and diverse community, with a large Filipino community, many of whom came to Canada under the now defunct Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP).
The eastern part of the riding is home to Toronto’s second largest Jewish community, many of whom served as employers to thousands of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
Mendicino is frequently seen at Filipino community events, including the Taste of Manila.
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