Canada on Tuesday announced it was planning to add 14.5 lakh immigrants in the next three years amid a critical labour shortage.

Under the new plan, Canada is expecting 4.65 lakh immigrants in 2023, an increase of 4% from the target set in February, and 4.85 lakh in 2024, up 7.5%, and finally 5 lakh in 2025. Last year, the North American country had admitted 4.05 lakh immigrants.

“Last year, we welcomed the most newcomers in a single year in our history,” Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said. “This year’s immigration levels plan will help businesses find the workers they need, set Canada on a path that will contribute to our long-term success, and allow us to make good on key commitments to vulnerable people fleeing violence, war and persecution.”

Canada is struggling with an acute shortage of workers, especially in skilled industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, building trades and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). The most recent job vacancy data showed there were 9.58 lakh vacancies in the country in August and 10 lakh unemployed citizens, reported Reuters.

Many of those unemployed do not have the specific skills or live in the right areas of the country to fill the vacancies, according to the news agency.

In a statement, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship department said the new plan would use new features to target immigrants who have the required skills and qualifications in sectors that are facing labour shortages. The plan would also ensure that at least 4.4% of new permanent residents outside Quebec speak French, the official language of the country besides English.

The statement also said that plan includes “support for global crises by providing a safe haven to those facing persecution”.

The new targets will boost the number of economic immigrants by around 13% between 2023 and 2025, according to Reuters. Economic immigrants are those who move to a new location seeking an improved standard of living.

The decision has been welcomed by the Opposition Conversative Party, according to the Associated Press.