Canada Coronavirus Immigration Update: Canada Maintaining High Immigration Levels 2020

The federal government of Canada announced its Immigration Levels Plan 2020-2022 last week as the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis was escalating around the world. The announcement was overshadowed by the on-going pandemic declared by WHO (World Health Organization) – COVID 19 and its effect on the economy of the country.

The virus has led to the price war between major oil producers around the globe, and this has negative ramifications on the Canadian economy. The weakened economy has also affected other industrial sectors like tourism and hospitality.

To ease the effects, Bank of Canada announced emergency cuts to their overnight interest rate, just one week after they already cut the rate. According to some analysts, they will be requiring more cuts to help Canada’s economy weather this storm.

Immigration Levels Plan 2020-2022 Making Sense despite Coronavirus 2020

Between all the chaoses engulfing the world, Canada’s decision to welcome over more one million additional immigrants over next coming next three years is not the focus of attention at the moment. Nonetheless, this crisis can help us understand the importance of immigration to the Canadian economy.

However, the country’s economy looks set to contrast in 2020. One point of view of welcoming new immigrants at this time is that it is not the ideal time as it will be a struggle to integrate them into the local labour market.

The current scenario serves as a reminder that Canada’s immigration policies are largely proactive and since the 1980s, the decision on immigrants’ admission has been detached from the economic conditions of the country.

Canada’s immigration policies are to assist in filling the immediate job vacancies and strengthen the country’s economic standings in the coming years and decades from now. This could mean that the skilled immigrants coming at this time can be expected to be the catalysts for economic growth in the future.

Because of Canada’s low birth rate and aging demography, they are majorly relying on immigration to drive the majority of their labour force growth which is one of two ways to grow Canada’s economy. The second way is to use the labour force in the right way for more productivity.

Therefore, it makes sense to have a high admission level for skilled immigrants during this period of economic distress. While new admissions will be facing difficulty in finding jobs that align with their skills, education and work experience, they may face prospects of working in a country where the supply of labour will be significantly constrained as more baby boomers leaving the labour workforce. This means more employers will be competing for skilled immigrants for their services, which would, in turn, result in much better employment outcomes and salaries.

Canada’s History of Immigration during Recessions

Having a proactive approach measure of welcoming higher levels of skilled immigrants during the recession is a fairly new one in the country’s history.

Until the late 1980s, Canada has used a “tap on, tap off” approach for the immigration levels. They have increased their immigration rate when the economy is strong and reduced immigration rate during recessions. But, they moved away from this approach in the late 1980s after they have determined that they needed higher immigration levels to alleviate economy and fiscal strain. Since then the country has maintained high levels even during several recessions that include the major recession that occurred in 2008-2009.

Another case that can be made for increasing the admission rate for skilled immigrants during such periods is that new admissions will help the economy in the short-run as they will stimulate demand in-country through good purchasing and services.

To announce an ambitious immigration levels plan during such a crisis may not have appeared to be ideal timing on the surface, however, the timing of the announcement will become irrelevant in practice.

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