Who Helps IRCC in Immigration Levels Decision-making?

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has expanded its stakeholder engagement efforts, doubling the number of parties involved in the decision-making process for the Immigration Levels Plan 2024-2026. This initiative reflects a broader consultation approach aimed at gathering diverse perspectives and insights to inform Canada’s immigration policies and strategies.

The expanded stakeholder engagement includes a wide range of entities such as provincial and territorial governments, industry associations, community organizations, academic institutions, and advocacy groups. By involving a more extensive network of stakeholders, IRCC aims to ensure that the Immigration Levels Plan aligns with the needs and priorities of various sectors and communities across Canada.

This collaborative approach emphasizes the importance of inclusive decision-making and seeks to foster greater transparency, accountability, and responsiveness in Canada’s immigration planning process. Through ongoing dialogue and consultation, IRCC endeavors to develop immigration policies that support Canada’s economic growth, social cohesion, and cultural diversity while meeting the evolving needs of immigrants and Canadian society.

Who Helps IRCC in Immigration Levels Decision-making?

As per a report, IRCC has invited 4,780 stakeholders to participate in an online survey between July 10 and August 4, 2023. The survey helps IRCC assess the impact of increased immigration to the country.

Compared to 2022 invitations, this is a notable increase of more than 2,867 stakeholders.

Last year, around 633 invited stakeholders completed an online survey that questioned them about their thoughts on current immigration levels and the areas of improvement.

This was done alongside the discussions with the provinces and territories.

Stakeholders are the ones with whom IRCC interacts to determine the immigration levels of the country. These include non-profit organizations, businesses, academic institutions, settlement service providers, and more.

The immigration levels directly impact the stakeholders in Canada in some way. For instance, whether they are helping new immigrants settle and integrate into their new lives in a new country or are employers willing to grow their business and recruit new employees, stakeholders play a crucial role in immigration.

IRCC asks for stakeholders’ opinions to assess the balance between the number of immigrants admitted to Canada and how the country can better support them.

In addition, it also seeks to understand the labor market needs and how it can support the country’s economy. For instance, improvements to the Express Entry and other local economic programs are some of the efforts.

As per IRCC, the increased discussions are part of a more “holistic” and “whole-of-government” approach it is attempting to implement as a part of the Strategic Immigration Plan. The department announced the details of this Strategic Immigration Plan in late October last year.

The Stakeholders in Canada

The top three groups of respondents were the charitable, non-profit, and non-governmental organizations. They had a response rate of 30%, which is the highest of any organization. Settlement and resettlement organizations and Businesses both had a response rate of around 17%.

All these are the stakeholders of IRCC that directly interact with the new immigrants in Canada. All have diverse viewpoints on the immigrant’s experience and can greatly impact Canada’s economy.

As per a report, the majority of stakeholders believe that the 2024-2025 immigration levels were extremely high as compared to the 2023-2024 Immigration Levels Plan. 

They advised IRCC to stabilize the immigration levels instead of expanding them. IRCC noted that it had considered this advice when releasing the 2024-2026 immigration plan.

Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan

Every year, the Immigration Refugees and Protection Act (IRPA) mandates the immigration department (IRCC) to provide yearly immigration targets for the calendar year as well as for the next two years.

IRCC aims to welcome 485,000 new permanent residents this year under family class sponsorship, economic immigration programs, and refugee and humanitarian classes. In the next two years, i.e., 2025 and 2026, IRCC aims to admit 500,00 new PRs.

According to the IRCC, keeping the same objective for two years will make immigration levels in Canada more sustainable and alleviate some of the burden on Canada’s housing crisis and current high living costs.

Further, this must be balanced with the country’s persistent need for eligible immigrants to address the urgent gaps in in-demand fields. The in-demand sector includes technology, construction, healthcare, agriculture, and more.

As per the report, nine out of ten stakeholders mentioned meeting the labor market and economic needs of the country. These are cited as the major reasons for welcoming more immigrants to the nation.

Canada Needs More Economic Immigrants

Over half of the respondents, i.e., 62%, said that the majority of immigrants should be economic class rather than family, refugee, and humanitarian class if IRCC aims to expand immigration levels.

In addition, they added that the department must put stronger emphasis on regional efforts. It would help it better support labor market needs in smaller and medium-sized communities.

The majority of respondents also supported the launch of new category-based selection draws under the Express Entry. The draws target categories that help address labor market requirements and economic priorities. On the contrary, some respondents supported that there was a need to address the gap that targets lower-skilled occupations ineligible for express entry. Moreover, they stated that there was a need for more PR pathways for temporary workers and international students in Canada.

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