What Has Fueled the Labour Shortage?
The most recent job vacancy data highlighted that there were a staggering 958,000 vacant jobs in Canada in August this year, and as many as 1 million unemployed persons, according to Reuters.
However, the unemployed people are not able to fill the vacancies because either they do not have the required skills, or they do not reside in the right areas of Canada.
Further, the birth rate in Canada continues to be among the lowest in the world – at 1.4 children per woman, as per 2020 data. The country also has one of the highest proportions of aged people globally.
What has also led to the labour shortage is that a record number of Canadians are now retiring – leading to the exit of lakhs of the country's most skilled workers from the workforce.
This has led to a sense of panic among businesses, which are unable to hire candidates with the desired skills to fill vacancies.
In fact, almost a quarter of Canada's population is estimated to retire by 2030.
What Are Canada's Immigration Targets from 2023-25?
Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said on Tuesday, 2 November, that by 2023, the country would welcome 465,000 new permanent residents – up by 4 percent from the previous target.
In 2024, the country plans to add 485,000 new permanent residents, which is a jump by 7.5 percent. Meanwhile, the target for 2025 is 500,000 new immigrants.
Fraser said that an increase in the targets would help businesses find the workers that they needed.
He also said that it would allow Canada to fulfill its commitments to assist those fleeing violence in their home countries.
The country plans to reduce the number of government-assisted refugees it resettles by around one-third, from 23,550 in 2023 to 15,250 in 2025.
The announcement is in line with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's immigration policies since he came to power in 2015. This year itself, the country is expected to surpass its target of 431,000 new permanent residents.
What Are the Implications for India?
Indians comprised the largest immigrant group to Canada among all its immigrants from 2016 to 2021, as per a survey.
As many as 18.6 percent of all immigrants to have entered Canada in these five years were Indians, followed by the Philippines and African countries, Statistics Canada reported.
In fact, a quarter of Canada's population now comprises of immigrants, accounting for 23 percent.
Even before the new immigration targets were announced, a large number of Indians were known to flock to Canada due to the country's demand for high-skilled and well-paid jobs, especially in the IT sector, and cheaper educational facilities.
With the announcement of the new immigration targets, citizenship rules are bound to be even more relaxed than before. This would lead to a massive jump in the number of Indian immigrants to the North American nation over the next few years.
(With inputs from Reuters.)