The Canadian Government has revealed plans to bring in more than 1.2 million immigrants over the next three years in an attempt to stimulate the post-pandemic economic recovery.
Canadian Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino has unveiled the plan, calling it an "ambitious" three-year immigration plan that set targets for bringing skilled workers, family members and refugees into Canada, reports CBC.
The country aims to bring 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021, 411,000 in 2022 and 421,000 in 2023.
Last year's plan promised to bring in more than one million immigrants over a three-year period, but the Covid-19 crisis and the resulting travel restrictions have slowed down the process.
The Canadian Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said the government remains committed to welcoming newcomers as a means to keep Canada's economy afloat.
At a news conference in Ottawa, Mendicino said immigrants drive the population and economic growth that pays for vital programs such as health care.
"Put simply, we need more workers, and immigration is the way to get there," he said.
Mendicino said that he's confident the government can meet the targets despite the global health crisis, by working around travel restrictions while adhering to safety measures such as mandatory quarantines.
He said the government will aim to attract workers to fill labour gaps in regions facing sector shortages.
"With nearly 60 per cent of all new admissions in the economic class, our plan will continue to focus on Canada's economic growth," he said.
The breakdown of next year's plan includes:
232,000 immigrants in the economic class.
103,500 in the family class.
59,500 refugees and protected persons.
5,500 on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
Traditionally, Ottawa's goal in immigration policy has been to attract top talent in a competitive global market while reuniting families and offering refuge to people displaced by disaster, conflict and persecution.
In its last three-year plan, the federal government sought to bring in 341,000 immigrants this year, 351,000 next year and another 361,000 in 2022.
The government did not offer a precise figure on how many immigrants have arrived in Canada so far this year, but says it's on track to meet half of its 341,000 target by year's end.