Canada will remain open for immigrants after the COVID-19 crisis is over, informed Canada’s Minister for Immigration Marco Mendicino. In a discussion with the Canadian Bar Association’s Immigration Law Section, the Minister reiterated that immigration would remain key to the success and economic recovery of Canada post COVID-19. “We continue to rely on immigration, it will be an economic driver and this will be the North Star of our policy going forward,” said the Minister.
“COVID-19 will not change Canada’s long-term demographic trends. The country’s worker-to-retiree ratio is declining and the country will continue to need immigrants to drive economic growth, he said.
It is for the first time Canada is facing a pandemic and economic challenges. But, Canada keeps growing despite these challenges, which is partly because it continued to welcome immigrants, the Minister observed.
The Canadian government will consult stakeholders before announcing its annual immigration levels plan this fall, he informed.
The staff members of the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) currently work remotely and this has affected the processing of immigration applications. However, the remote operations set up by the IRCC helps the staff to access the tools they need to facilitate processing, said the Minister. The COVID-19 season has also led to some innovations and improvisations for IRCC as they could expedite the processing of seasonal agricultural workers under its Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), he added. With an aim to strengthen the country’s food supply, Canada is also planning to make the terms for work permits for temporary workers in the agricultural sector and seafood sector more flexible.
However, Canada faces certain challenges in bringing foreign workers to the country. The circumstances which are under the purview of the source countries as well as the market demand, which is likely to come down for some sectors, are among these.
The Minister also said Canada has taken certain concrete steps to support international students. The decision to make international students who take online classes eligible for Post-Graduation Work Permit(PGWP) is one among these. The Minister said the government was consulting post-secondary education institutions to devise steps to help international students who plan to enrol in the Designated Learning Institutions of Canada during the September intake.
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