At a meeting of an all-party parliamentary committee on citizenship and immigration in the capital Ottawa, minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism Jason Kenney hinted that Canada might reduce the number of immigrants to be admitted into the country this year in the light of the current economic crisis.
The current government of the Conservatives, which is thought to be unfavorable to immigrants, raised the number of newcomers that would be taken into Canada each year from earlier 247,000 to 265,000. But due to the rise in the national unemployment rate which climbed to 7.2 percent, the immigration minister said that his government is thinking over reducing the number of immigrants so that after landing in Canada, newcomers don’t have to suffer.
The minister said in the committee meeting that the Conservative government is watching the situation very closely as they don’t want people to come to Canada and face unemployment. He said that the government has to be sensitive to the changing labor market and if there is need for modifications then it would be done.
But the minister immediately added that the government will be flexible and prudent, and make sure that their response to short-term conditions does not hamper their long-term goals, which is dependent on immigrants.
As per the government’s annual target to intake 265,000 immigrants, 156,000 were to come in the economic category, 71,000 were to come in the family category and 37,400 of immigrants were to come on humanitarian grounds. The move was criticized by the opposition parties and they called it a ploy by the Tory government to reduce the number of immigrants.
The minister said that any decision regarding the new target for the number of immigrants to be admitted in Canada will be taken next month. He also said that more than double the number of Iraqi refugees will be admitted in Canada this year. He said that taken along with the government-assisted refugees, this would mean that the number of Iraqi refugees who will be coming to Canada will be almost quadrupled as compared to 2005.
The country which is most likely to be affected by the decision to reduce the number of newcomers would be India, as it was almost set to become the number one source country of immigration to Canada this year. More than thirty-thousand people from India each year come to Canada as landed immigrants.