Canadian immigration ministers agree on multi-year PNP levels plan

Good initiative. Now the haggling over multi-year levels can begin :).

Seriously, same planning logic that led feds to multi-year planning to assist settlement agencies and others also applies at the provincial level:

The Forum of Ministers Responsible (FMRI) for Immigration met in Saint John, New Brunswick on July 28 to discuss a host of major immigration policy issues.

Topics on the agenda included Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan, a more agile economic immigration system, regional economic immigration, settlement, and refugees resettlement.

The big takeaway is that Canada’s immigration ministers agreed to develop a multi-year Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) allocation plan. Currently, even though Canada sets its permanent residence targets over a three-year period, PNP allocations are determined on an annual basis. Moving forward, the ministers agreed that PNP allocation targets will also be set on a three-year basis. The ministers agreed to determine the multi-year PNP plan by March 31, 2023.

The FMRI is comprised of Canada’s federal, provincial, and territorial immigration ministers. They meet each year to discuss immigration issues of national importance. The FMRI is a decision-making body with the goal of supporting a flexible, timely, and effective immigration system for Canada.

Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser added in the post-meeting press conference that there is no certainty at the moment on the precise numbers on the increased PNP allocations for each province and territory. The reason, he said, is the federal government needs to have follow-up conversations with provinces and territories to ensure they have the settlement capacity necessary to welcome more newcomers.

The rationale for a multi-year PNP plan is similar to why Canada re-introduced a multi-year Immigration Levels Plan back in 2017. The rationale for the Immigration Levels Plan 2018-2020, and subsequent plans, has been to allow stakeholders including government, the settlement sector, and employers the ability to plan in advance for higher immigration levels. Canada is now guided by the Immigration Levels Plan 2022-2024 and Minister Fraser is set to table the 2023-2025 plan by November 1st of this year.

At present, Canada’s PNP targets over a three-year period are contained in the levels plan. However, each province and territory’s PNP allocation is set on an annual basis. The federal immigration minister sends a letter to their provincial and territorial counterparts each year with their respective allocation, typically in the first quarter of the calendar year.

However, the country’s immigration ministers have now agreed that by the end of March 2023, the federal minister will inform each province and territory of their PNP allocation over a three-year period. This will allow each province and territory to plan ahead, including identifying how to best use their allocation to achieve their economic development goals, as well as to identify what operational steps they need to take to be able to process PNP applications as efficiently as possible. As a province or territory’s PNP allocation increases, they need to ensure they have enough staff and the requisite technology in place to process higher PNP volumes within their service standards.

The PNP has grown in prominence since it was introduced in 1998 to promote a broader distribution of immigration across Canada. Prior to its introduction, most immigrants settled in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia, which made it challenging for the Atlantic and Prairie provinces to support their economic development through immigration. The PNP only contributed to about 400 new immigrant arrivals in 1999, but it is now set to welcome over 80,000 new immigrants in 2022 and over 90,000 by 2024. The PNP, next to the federal Express Entry system, is among the two major pathways for economic class immigrants to land in Canada.

The post-meeting press release noted the immigration ministers also discussed assisting Afghan refugees, supporting Ukrainians, improving application processing times, taking steps to strengthen public support for immigration in Canada, among other topics.

Source: Canadian immigration ministers agree on multi-year PNP levels plan

‘Very difficult’ to meet Canada’s immigration targets after pandemic drop: immigration lawyer

IMO, government needs to recognize reality and revise the targets downwards given current trends ad that previous downturns have resulted in poorer economic outcomes in the short-term for recent immigrants, with some being adversely affected in the longer term:

Canada welcomed 341,000 new immigrants in 2019, and continued to accept high levels of new immigrants at the beginning of last year, but those efforts and the immigration system were completely derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Statistics Canada report said that Canada’s population “essentially stopped” due to COVID-19, increasing by just 2,767 from July 1, 2020 to Oct. 1 2020 – virtually zero per cent.

In October of 2020, Canada only welcomed approximately 15,000 new immigrants, less than half of the number of people welcomed in October 2019.

In response, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced a 2021-2023 “Immigration Levels Plan” setting out hard targets for the next three years.

The aim is to welcome new immigrants at a rate of around 1 per cent of the population, which would mean 401,000 permanent residents in 2021, 411,000 in 2022, and 421,000 in 2023 – the first time Canada has set an annual immigration target above 400,000.

But setting targets is one thing – meeting them is another.

“I think the government is going to have a very difficult time meeting those targets this coming year,” said Toronto immigration lawyer Chantal Desloges on CTV’s Your Morning Thursday. “Last year the targets were not close to being met, and on the ground we’re not seeing anything speeding up in terms of application processing.”

“It’s one thing to set a target and say we’re welcoming a certain number of newcomers in a year, but officers still have to process those cases, and with a lot of embassies closed all over the world, its going to be really hard to meet that target,” Desloges said.

New automation systems aim to make immigration easier

Desloges noted that the IRCC’s new automated portal for permanent residency application – built largely in response to a pandemic that took face-to-to-face interactions off the table – has sped up the application process, but still will not close the gap.

“A lot of the applications that you used to have to [physically] submit can now be done online, you can set up an account in this portal, link applications in this portal… you also avoid the chance of missing a letter that is mailed or missing an email,” Desloges said.

“Those things are all good but it’s important to understand that immigration is still really limited in its technology… and I think that’s holding it back in terms of what they are able to do,” she said.

For people sponsoring their parents or grandparents, Desloges said, technology can also be limiting for those who are not tech savvy or do not have continual access to computers.

Election derailment

After Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shuffled his cabinet earlier this week, there were whispers of a potential snap election – and a government change could signal sweeping reform in immigration.

But Desloges said, while a new party in power could affect immigration targets, that it won’t be immediate.

“You’d see differences in how the border was treated, you’d see a difference in refugee policy – but those things will not happen overnight,” Desloges said. “Even if a party came into power that favours economic immigration over compared to sponsoring your parents… it’s important for people to not have a knee jerk reaction.”

Source: ‘Very difficult’ to meet Canada’s immigration targets after pandemic drop: immigration lawyer

Trudeau’s Plan to Ramp Up Immigration Falls Flat With Canadians

While it would be helpful to have more information on the context and wording of the framing questions, overall seems to make sense. But not that negative: 40 percent maintaining the current level (340,000) and 17 percent supporting an increase, is very positive during an economic downturn:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may struggle to sell his ambitious new immigration plan to Canadians, a new survey shows.

Only 17 per cent of respondents say the country should accept more immigrants in 2021 than it did last year, according to a Nanos Research Group poll conducted for Bloomberg News. That suggests most Canadians are less than enthusiastic about aggressive new targets announced last week.

Trudeau hopes to attract 401,000 newcomers next year, 60,000 more than in 2019. The target would rise by 10,000 in each subsequent year, bringing it to 421,000 in 2023. Respondents were asked whether the government should raise levels above last year’s actual inflows.

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Tepid Support

An open-door policy is a central tenet of the Liberal government’s long-term growth agenda. But with the economy recovering from the damage wrought by COVID-19, opposition parties are raising concern.

“We’re facing 9 per cent to 10 per cent unemployment — more than a million Canadians are out of work,” Conservative lawmaker Raquel Dancho said in an interview, adding that affordable housing is also scarce. “Where are these folks going to work? Where are these folks going to live?”

Closed borders and pandemic-related travel restrictions have slowed immigration this year and the country is on pace to meet only 60 per cent of its 2020 target of 341,000 permanent residents.

Labor Gaps

The survey results suggest Trudeau’s new targets don’t enjoy widespread support. Some 40 per cent of respondents say the government should reduce the number of new permanent residents accepted in 2021 below 340,000. And 36 per cent say they would like the country to maintain the same immigration levels as 2019.

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino argues increasing the number of permanent residents will support the economy’s recovery from COVID-19 and help fill vacancies in essential work like healthcare. He is also hoping to draw on the more than 1 million foreign students, temporary workers and asylum seekers already in the country to achieve the increased targets.

“Canadians have a long, proud history of welcoming immigrants, because we know immigration makes our country stronger,” Mendicino said Friday by email, citing support for the higher targets from business and unions.

The flow of newcomers into Canada has been credited with helping counter aging demographics and supporting everything from the housing market to banking services. Before COVID-19, the government’s policies helped drive the fastest pace of population growth in three decades.

Dancho, the chief Conservative spokeswoman on the issue, said her party is pro-immigration but thinks the Liberal government’s announcement of new targets was “tone deaf” as “it did not acknowledge the feasibility concerns of bringing in this many new workers.”

The Nanos survey of 1,000 Canadians was conducted between Oct. 28 and Nov. 1 via telephone and online. The government announced the new targets Oct. 30.

Source: Trudeau’s Plan to Ramp Up Immigration Falls Flat With Canadians