The Canadian government has drawn up plans to substantially increase the number of Chinese and other Asians coming to Canada next year, eclipsing even this year’s record influx of 305,000.
Liberal Party of Canada Minister of Immigration John McCallum announced this week that the number of immigration application offices in China will double by next year.
McCallum made the announcement while meeting with senior Chinese officials at Beijing’s Foreign Affairs and Public Security ministries.
He has asked for approval to “quickly open” new visa application centers in five secondary Chinese cities: Chengdu, Nanjing, Wuhan, Jinan, and Shenyang.
If McCallum’s plans goes through, the offices will open as soon as next year. Chinese can currently apply for Canadian visas in five locations, including Hong Kong.
The Canadian government wants the further five visa application locations “to smooth the path for Chinese to come to Canada,” bringing the total number to 15, and is asking for additional air links between the two countries.
The plans also include boosting the number of Chinese students in Canada, and opening the path to permanent residency for them. Chinese students already form the biggest group of temporary visitors to Canada, with some 120,000 already in the country.
“But we want to get it even bigger,” McCallum said in Beijing on Tuesday.
The Liberal government wants “the highest growth we can of tourists coming to Canada, of qualified foreign students who want to study in Canada. If that’s a doubling [in numbers], that’s great,” he said. He described Chinese officials as “actively on board” with the idea.
The government’s bid to attract more Chinese workers and students comes as the Canadian economy sheds jobs and critics worry about the influence of foreign investors on fast-rising house prices in cities such as Vancouver and Toronto. Canada’s unemployment rate increased to 6.9 percent in July.
McCallum, though, said Canada has a “legitimate need for temporary foreign workers” in some regions and industries. He cited fish processing, meat packing, and the high-tech industry as examples.
Later in the week, McCallum stopped in the Philippine capital of Manila where he once again announced his intention to boost nonwhite immigration to Canada.
Speaking to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, McCallum said, “So why not substantially increase the number of immigrants coming to Canada? And that is, I think, I hope, what we are about to do.”
The Trudeau government is already seeking to admit between 280,000 and 305,000 new permanent residents in 2016—a record increase from the 260,000 to 285,000 newcomers the previous Conservative government had planned to welcome by the end of 2015.
McCallum is due to unveil his “three-year immigration plan” this fall. This “plan” will include doing away with the currently existing requirement known as the “Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
This is the rule which requires employers to first prove that they are unable to hire a Canadian worker before giving the position to an immigrant.
“So we’re going to make it easier for international students, we’re going to reduce some of the barriers in our immigration system … we don’t think that every immigrant needs to go through what we call a labour market impact assessment process. We think it can be simplified. We think there are some rules which are no longer necessary,” McCallum said.
The Philippines is currently the top source country for permanent residents in Canada, according to data published by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada as of May 31.
The immigration minister also said that processing times for reuniting families from the Philippines has dropped “dramatically” to 12 months, “cut in half in just a year.”
In 2013, the top twenty countries of origin for immigrants to Canada were as follows:
People’s Republic of China; India; Philippines; Pakistan; Iran; United States of America; United Kingdom and Colonies; France; Iraq; Republic of Korea; Algeria; Nigeria; Egypt; Haiti; Mexico; Bangladesh; Colombia; Morocco; and the Ukraine.