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Immigration levels to Canada hit record high in 2022

Canada has settled more than 800,000 newcomers in the last two years

Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser attends a press conference with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada April 6, 2022. REUTERS/Blair Gable
Canada's Immigration Minister Sean Fraser says newcomers play an essential role in filling labour shortages. (REUTERS/Blair Gable)

Canada accepted a record number of immigrants in 2022, as the federal government seeks to fill ongoing labour shortages with newcomers.

The federal government settled 431,645 new permanent residents in 2022, more than the previous record set in 2021 of 405,000.

"Newcomers play an essential role in filling labour shortages, bringing new perspectives and talents to our communities, and enriching our society as a whole," Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said in a statement released on Tuesday.

"I am excited to see what the future holds and look forward to another historic year in 2023 as we continue to welcome newcomers."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has set out a plan for immigration to fill labour shortages in key sectors, including healthcare, skilled trades, manufacturing and technology. Ottawa unveiled its new immigration targets in November, saying it plans to welcome 465,000 permanent residents in 2023, 485,000 in 2024, and 500,000 in 2025.

The government says immigration accounts for nearly 100 per cent of Canada's labour force growth. More than half of Canada's new permanent residents are admitted under the economic category, which takes into account the ability to meet labour market needs or create economic opportunity by owning, operating or investing in a business.

"Immigration is even more critical to the labour market than ever before," said Statistics Canada in a report about the country's immigration levels that was released in November.

"Recent immigrants, whose age structure is younger than the general population, constitute a pool of workers who can help mitigate the impacts of labour shortages in a number of sectors and regions across the country."

Immigration is also a key driver of the country's population growth, with approximately 75 per cent of growth coming from immigration, mostly in the economic category.

In the first nine months of 2022, Canada's population grew by 776,217, according to Statistics Canada, surpassing total growth for any full-year period since Confederation in 1867. The data agency says the high level of growth was mostly due to international migration, which pushed Canada's population over 39 million for the first time. The government has said that by 2032, immigration is projected to account for 100 per cent of the country's population growth.

Alicja Siekierska is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @alicjawithaj.

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