With the federal election campaign now underway, the question is around how the October 21 vote might affect Canada’s immigration system?
Canada’s immigrant intake is poised to remain above 300,000 per year irrespective of the election result. Since the late 1980s, when the Conservatives decided to double immigration levels to above 200,000 newcomers annually, both parties have used their time in power to continue the policy of increasing levels. This is due to the bipartisan consensus that high levels of immigration are needed to alleviate the economic and fiscal strain caused by Canada’s ageing population and low birth rate.
When they last governed between 2006 and 2015, the Conservatives steadily increased immigration levels to about 260,000 newcomers per year—compared with the roughly 225,000 newcomers welcomed by the Liberals per year between 1996 and 2005.
The major difference today, however, is that Canada’s retirement rate is accelerating due to the over 9 million baby boomers set to reach the age of retirement (65 years old) within the next decade. This means the need to sustain high levels of immigration is even more important to Canada’s economy than it was in the past. Hence Canada’s Multi Year Immigration Plan 2018 to 2021 plans to welcome 3,50,000 new permanent residents by 2021.
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