Following a long hiatus, Canada is now ready to accept immigrants numbering more than 300,000 in the year 2016. This was stated in the report tabled by the country’s Liberal government on its immigration targets for 2016 in the first week of March this year.
Canadian Immigration Minister John McCallum said the country was scaling up the intake of permanent residents, up from the target of 279,200 for 2015. If the target is achieved, it will be the first time since 1913 that this North American country would have accommodated more than 300,000 immigrants in a single year.
Also on the cards is the government’s plan to accommodate 80,000 immigrants via family reunification initiatives in 2016, an increase from the 68,000 target set last year. It is expected that 75% of the family members coming to reunite would be spouses and children and the remaining percentage would be set aside for parents and grandparents.
During their election campaign in 2015, Liberals had promised to ramp up the number of accommodations available for refugees arriving this year.
Lauding the move, the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) executive director, Janet Dench, said that the concerns, however, still remained with regards to limitations on sponsorship applications.
Included in the target of 300,000 immigrants would be 55,800 Syrian refugees that the country wants to let in. It is more than a twofold growth from the target of 24,800 set in 2015. There are also plans to increase privately sponsored refugees threefold to 18,000 this year.
Normally, the Canadian government tables a document once a year, on 1 November, which mentions how many permanent residents it plans to allow into the country for the following year. The elections in fall, however, delayed this process in 2015. But as the House of Commons could not sit on the aforementioned date, it was mandated by law that the government tables the report within a month’s time after the Parliament meets.
The decision to allow 300,000 permanent residents is definitely going to raise the hopes of many immigrants who want to make their future in Canada.