The following article can be found at the National Post.
More immigrants than jobs
Martin Collacott, National Post Published: Monday, February 05, 2007
In recent years, newcomers to Canada have brought with them a greater level of education, on average, than previous immigrant cohorts. Yet according to Statistics Canada figures released on Jan. 30, their economic performance remains far below that of the Canadian-born population. Why are today's highly qualified immigrants doing so poorly? The answer is obvious: We simply don't need the services of many of the skilled people coming to Canada. The jobs they hoped to find here do not exist.
According to the latest data presented by Statistics Canada, during their first year here, newcomers are, on average, 3.5 times more likely than native-born Canadians to fall into the low-income category. While their situation improves somewhat after the first year in Canada, a disproportionate share (2.5 times the share for those born in Canada) remain in a "chronic" state of low income.
Canadians may find this hard to understand given all we hear about the shortage of skilled labour in Canada. Yet immigration is an effective means of dealing with labour shortages only in rare cases.
Alan Green, emeritus professor of economics at Queen's University and one of Canada's most distinguished specialists on the economics of immigration, has pointed out that while Canada did not have the educational infrastructure in place to meet all of our skilled-labour needs back in the 1960s, when we launched programs to attract skilled immigrants to Canada, these educational facilities now exist. We should, therefore, be able to meet our skills needs from within Canada's existing population.
Excuse me! You mean put Canadians first! How unCanadian of you.
What is unfortunate about the current situation is that tens of thousands of well-educated and experienced newcomers are being enticed to come to Canada in the expectation that they can improve their lot, when in fact many of them have little chance of finding employment in their fields of specialization.
This is what I mean when I say the Canada's mass immigration policy hurts immigrants as well. It's not just Canadians who are being sold a bill of goods. However, this situation is not new. This has been going on for a long time now and horror stories do circulate abroad about professional immigrants driving cabs and delivering pizzas. Yet they still line up to come to Canada for some bizarre reason to the extent that we now have a back log numbering at 850,000 applications.
While governments and immigration advocates continue to tell us about the economic benefits we get from the high influx of newcomers, some recent analyses tell a different story. In a September, 2005 study, for example, former economics professor Herbert Grubel calculated that, given the poor economic performance of immigrants in recent decades, the cost to Canadian taxpayers amounted to tens of billions of dollars per year. Our high immigration levels may have a negative economic impact in other ways as well. Canada's failure to keep pace with countries such as the United States in productivity growth could be linked to the ease with which immigration has made it possible for Canadian employers to substitute cheap labour for investments in capital and new technology.
I recall reading a Maclean's magazine article that compared Canada's current economic boom to other industrialized nations. The article argued that our economic performance is not faring as well as we are told in relation to the Spanish, Australian, and German economies, among others. I haven't been able to find it on the web so that I can link to it because I wanted to blog about it. However, we are told that we need all these immigrants because our booming economy demands it yet Canada's economy, though doing well, is not doing as well to warrant 260,000 immigrants a year. It seems immigrants are being imported the to fill the unfilled positions at fast food restaurants, hotels, retail stores and other low income jobs. These are the jobs that overwhelmingly constitute the "job boom" and "skills shortage".