Government advisory group recommends huge increase in Canadian immigration numbers

Advisors ask for Tech and IT to be exempted from LMIA process

The Canadian government’s external advisory group intends to ask for a further increase in the overall immigration numbers in Canada. The Advisory Council on Economic Growth, which also advises federal Minister Bill Morneau, will ask for a 50 % increase in immigration to over 450,000 people yearly for the next five years. Adding to that, the advisory group recommends that skilled workers and entrepreneurs be given an easier pathway to enter Canada.

They hold the view that immigration is an important aspect of the effort to improve the economy in the short and long term future. The external advisors have a 14 member group that includes; institutional investors, business executives, venture capitalists, and academics. The recommendations have been delivered to the Canadian government on Thursday, 20 October 2016.

If the government accepts and implements the group’s recommendations it would continue the trend of seeking ways to improve and increase immigration since the government was elected some 12 months ago. Last month it was revealed that the immigration numbers recorded in the last year were the highest witnessed in modern history, a total of 320, 932 new immigrants were received in the country as permanent residents in the period from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016.This representing over one-third higher of the previous year which recorded 240,844 immigrants to Canada, which is the biggest growth in the last three decades.

John McCullum, the federal immigration minister has gone on to say that the government’s ambition has always been to substantially increase the number of new immigrants to Canada to aid labor shortages and react to demographic challenges arising from the aging population.

The current Canadian government is seen as a huge supporter of immigration, diversity, and multiculturalism. Since they were elected the Liberal Party’s government has overseen the arrival of large numbers of skilled workers, entrepreneurs, and refugees.

In its 2017 immigration plan, the government intends to make an improvement to many immigration programs and to reduce processing times across the board. Between the periods of July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016, the processing times have already witnessed an encouraging 42 % decrease and more is expected.

Tech and IT industries want smoother processes

The advisory group has noted that many stakeholders in the tech and IT industry have been left frustrated by the current immigration procedure, resulting in hiring delays, and missing on key and profitable clients.

An Ottawa-based CEO of a software firm, Mr. Toby Lutke was quoted as saying “the immigration process is overwhelming, if we want to build the best companies in the world here, we need to allow the best people to move here in the shortest time possible”. Hence the need for tech and IT occupations to be exempted from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process. The LMIA ensures that Canadian citizens and permanent residents are given first priority when hiring before foreign nationals are considered.

Taking growth seriously

Attorney David Cohen says, “The recommendations come as a delight to potential immigrants to Canada from around the world. Moving to a new country is a life-changing and serious prospect, it becomes easier when you know that your destination wants you to come. In a world where an increasing number of countries and regions are looking inwards, Canada is something of an anomaly in that it is reaching out. In the global scheme of things, Canada represents a positive future”.