Canada met its goal of giving permanent residency to 401,000 foreigners in 2021 by focusing on temporary residents already in the country, according to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.
Canada, which relies on immigration to fuel its economy and sustain an aging population, saw new permanent residents drop by more than 45 percent to 185,000 in 2020, when COVID-19 effectively shut down the country’s gates.
According to a statement from the immigration minister, the majority of the new 401,000 permanent residents – the highest number in more than a century – were previously in Canada on temporary status.
“Last year, we set an ambitious goal. Today, we achieved it,” Fraser said.
Since taking office in 2015, Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has relied on immigration to strengthen the Canadian economy, setting an annual target of around 1% of the country’s population of over 38 million people.
The administration has stated that it expects to attract 411,000 permanent residents to the country next year.
Official data released earlier on Thursday indicated that Canada’s economy grew for the sixth month in a row in November, approaching pre-pandemic levels.