English: A Canadian Customs and Immigration service sign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Liberal party has outlined its priorities for reforming Canada’s immigration system. Here is an insight into the platform for immigration.The platform recognises that Canada's future success is largely driven by attracting talented people from around the world.
Central to the new government's platform is a commitment to compassion and the creation of economic opportunity within the immigration system. This includes expansion of current refugee quotas from Syria and Iraq and making family reunification one of the core immigration priorities, including the doubling of budgets for family class processing.
For business, the paper takes a swipe at the temporary foreign worker program – and the levels of temporary workers in Canada. This will continue to be a hot issue in the coming months. Business will need to continue to press the case for more open access to highly skilled workers through the international mobility program, intra-company transfers and trade agreements.
Some positive measures for business in the new government’s immigration agenda include:
Providing greater access to applicants with Canadian siblings, by granting additional points under the Express Entry system.
A commitment to conduct a review of the Express Entry program, ensuring that processing times are efficient.
Restoring the maximum age for dependents to 22 instead of 19.
Granting immediate permanent residency to new spouses entering Canada, rather than imposing a two-year conditional status.
A commitment to restore the residency time credit for foreign students and other temporary residents applying to become Canadian citizens.
A commitment to make changes to the Canadian Experience Class to reduce the barriers to immigration that have been imposed on international students.
Reverse the roadblocks in the immigration system that have created unnecessary inconveniences and costs for Canadians and Canadian businesses.
An analysis published by researcher Amelie F. Constant in the Germany-based IZA World of Labortackles the question: Do migrants take the jobs of native workers?
The answer, Constant finds, is no. When immigrants do compete for jobs traditionally held by native works, the effects are small and not statistically significant. A more interesting challenge for policy makers may be the effects on productivity and technological innovation when low-skilled workers are used in place of physical capital.
Despite some downsides, Constant finds that overall, the positive effects of immigration far outweigh the negative. She writes:
“Neither public opinion nor evidence-based research supports the claim of some politicians and the media that immigrants take the jobs of native-born workers. Public opinion polls in six migrant-destination countries after the 2008–2009 recession show that most people believe that immigrants fill job vacancies and many believe that they create jobs and do not take jobs from native workers. This view is corroborated by evidence-based research showing that immigrants—of all skill levels—do not significantly affect native employment in the short term and boost employment in the long term.”
Other key findings include:
Immigrants who are self-employed or entrepreneurs directly create new jobs.
Immigrant innovators create jobs indirectly within a firm, leading to long-term job growth.
New immigrants fill labor shortages and keep markets working efficiently.
High-skilled immigrants contribute to technological adaptation and low-skilled immigrants to occupational mobility, specialization, and human capital creation; both create new jobs for native workers.
By raising demand, immigrants cause firms and production to expand, resulting in new hiring.