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Canada Just Committed Nearly Half a Billion Dollars to Welcoming New Immigrants

Canada is putting its money where its mouth is — so to speak.

Backing up Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's welcoming pronouncements and gestures toward refugees and immigrants over the past year, Canada’s Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen announced on Thursday that the federal government will commit $440 million to the country’s multi-year immigration plan.

The almost half-a-billion-dollar figure will help accommodate the increasing levels of immigration allowed under Canada’s new strategy that will increase the number of new immigrants to 340,000 in 2020.

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Canada’s new admissions targets are the highest they have been in over 100 years, with the percentage of immigration at its highest in at least 40 years, according to Hussen.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has set a goal of 242,100 new admissions between 2018 and 2020 through three economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Class, the Federal Skilled Trades Class and the Canadian Experience Class.

Through a multi-year approach, the government will be able to better plan and successfully integrate newcomers, Hussen said.

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The expected cost of $440 million will help the IRCC’s global processing network, its settlement programs and it will allow IRCC and partners to get through more applications more quickly for permanent residency.

“In particular, we expect to see real progress in reducing processing times in family, caregiver and refugee programs,” Hussen said. “Faster processing also ensures that employers can more effectively get the talent they need.”

Hussen pointed to the diminishing number of workers in comparison to aging Canadians. He believes increased immigration is a necessity for the Canadian workforce, economy and social programs.

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Immigration already accounts for 65% of net population growth in Canada and immigrants now represent 25% of Canada’s workforce, he said.

“Immigration represents a major investment in our country’s prosperity… it will benefit all Canadians now and into the future,” Hussen said.

In 2016, 21.9% of the Canadian population indicated they were or had been a landed immigrant or permanent resident.

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The same year, the country recorded that 1,212,075 new immigrants had permanently settled in Canada from 2011 to 2016.

These recent immigrants represented 3.5% of Canada's total population in 2016, according to Statistics Canada.

Hussen also announced on Thursday that he will present a plan in April to eliminate the policy that excludes immigrants based on medical problems.

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