Canada’s Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino has said that Canada would need immigrants after the coronavirus pandemic. The role immigrants play in keeping the country moving during the COVID-19 pandemic is proof of why robust immigration must continue in the aftermath, said the Minister. But the health and safety of Canadians must be assured before the doors of the country can be opened widely again, he added. He said he believed Canadians would want it that way.
In an interview with The Canadian Press, Mendicino further said, “Immigration is fundamentally about people coming together to build a stronger country, and that is an enduring value that I believe in, that I have faith in Canadians that they believe in, that we will see endure long after COVID-19 is behind us.”
Mendicino had released Canada’s three-year immigration plan in March, just a few days before Canada had to impose travel restrictions in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak. According to the Plan, Canada would be admitting 341,000 new permanent residents in 2020, followed by 351,000 in 2021 and 361,000 in 2022.
Speaking at the interview, the Minister said the crisis brought to light the essential nature of the work being undertaken by the newcomers.“We could not put food on the plate of Canadians at an affordable price without immigrants, we could not support our front-line workers without immigration,” said the Minister.
“So it’s vitally important that we continue to immigrate today in a manner that is safe and orderly and also to drive that future that we all believe will be underpinned by immigration as it has been in the past,” he added.
Earlier, Canada had shut its borders for temporary foreign workers, who are mainly employed in the agriculture sector. But it was soon reversed following a public outcry. On the issue, the Immigration Minister said Canada government has taken the steps to make obtaining permanent residency easier for temporary foreign workers. Canada launched the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot Program last week that allows those working in meat processing, mushroom and greenhouse production, as well as livestock-raising industries to apply for permanent residence.