- Welcome 340,000 new permanent residents annually by 2020
Immigration supports a strong Canadian economy by offsetting labour force decline, filling skills gaps and facilitating access to top talent for Canadian businesses. Canada competes with other countries to attract the best and brightest foreign talent, who are often internationally mobile (OECD, 2008). Skilled foreign workers help Canadian companies innovate and grow, creating jobs and wealth for all Canadians, while foreign researchers make important contributions to Canada's fundamental science and research.
Canada has welcomed an increasing number of immigrants over the past decade, many under the economic class (Figure 4.1). Immigrants comprise about 22% of Canada's population (Statistics Canada, 2017), held 37% of all ICT jobs in 2017 (ICTC, 2017) and made up 28% of Canada's skilled workforce in 2018 (see Figure 4.2). The employment rate for core working age immigrants (25-54 years) rose to 78.9% in 2017, the highest rate recorded since the 2006 launch of the Labour Force Survey immigrant series (Statistics Canada, 2018). In addition to workers, Canada competes to attract foreign research talent. Fundamental science and research is an essential component of innovation and today's students are tomorrow's workers. Canada had the 5th most international PhD students in STEM fields in 2015 and the 6th most international students overall in the OECD (OECD, 2017).
In order to provide organizations a faster and more predictable route to bring top talent and new skills from around the world to Canada, the Government introduced the Global Skills Strategy. The strategy includes faster processing times for highly skilled workers and selective work permit exemptions for short-term work or research. Under the Global Talent Stream pilot, close to 4,500 employer applications have been approved for high-skilled immigrants as of March 2019. Successful applicants have committed to creating over 48,000 jobs and close to 12,500 paid co-op positions. Building on the success of the pilot, Budget 2019 invested $35.2 million over five years, beginning in 2019–20, with $7.4 million per year ongoing to make the Global Talent Stream a permanent program.