Canada plans to welcome 300,000 newcomers this year: McCallum

Immigration Minister John McCallum announced a “significant shift” in the federal government’s immigration policy, aimed at reuniting more families.

Speaking in Brampton, Ont.

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, on Tuesday, McCallum said that Ottawa plans to welcome between 280,000 and 305,000 permanent residents by the end of 2016, a 7.4 per cent increase from the 2015 admission target.

“Indeed, it is the highest number of projected immigrant admissions put forth by the Government of Canada in modern times,” he said.

According to a breakdown of the new immigration plan posted on the government’s website, economic immigrants will still make up the majority of newcomers. Approximately 160,000 of them, including high-skilled workers and caregivers, are expected to arrive in Canada this year.

But special attention will be paid to reuniting more families in 2016. The government says itwill increase admissions for sponsored spouses, partners and dependents, and help reduce application processing times. Under the family immigration class, Ottawa aims to welcome 60,000 sponsored spouses, parents and children, as well as 20,000 parents and grandparents by the end of the year.

McCallum said that family reunification backlogs will be reduced as more individuals are admitted to the country.

He also said that Canada remains committed to resettling refugees. The 2016 admissions target for refugees and protected persons is nearly 60,000. That includes nearly 25,000 government-assisted refugees, 44,800 resettled refugees and 17,800 privately-sponsored refugees.

At the end of February, the Liberal government reached its goal of welcoming 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada.

McCallum acknowledged Tuesday that there have been “challenges” in the process, especially when it comes to housing.

But he said that 62 per cent of Syrian refugees have now gone on to permanent housing and the number of cities and towns accepting refugees has increased across the country.



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