Economy will need more immigrants
Report says newcomers help fuel Canada's growth, but policies should make it easier for them to stay
Oct 25, 2008 04:30 AM
Immigration levels in the country will have to go up significantly for future economic growth, the Conference Board of Canada reports.
To meet long-term domestic labour market needs and to remain competitive in the global search for talent Canada will have to increase its number of immigrants from the existing 250,000 to 360,000 annually by 2025.
The report highlights what should be done to meet the country's economic needs through immigration, including measures to allow the growing number of temporary foreign workers the option to become permanent residents. It also suggests increasing refugee intakes to maintain a well-balanced immigration system.
"Our policies are not just about what we want," Watt said in an interview. "Migrant workers and immigrants also have wants.
What about what Canadians want and what Canada really needs? As usual such concerns are never considered in Canada's high jacked and one sided (and non existent) immigration debate.
"Transparency about how the temporary and permanent systems actually work is crucial," cautioned the report, titled Renewing Immigration: Towards a Convergence and Consolidation of Canada's Immigration Policies and Systems, which looks at the immigration system from the perspective of Canada's economic needs.
With the increasing numbers of skilled immigrants and temporary workers, the report states refugee admissions, which have flatlined, should also be raised to meet the country's economic needs.
This report is nonsense outside of the concerns of the Conference Board's members and it reminds me of the one produced by the Royal Bank of Canada that called on Ottawa to increase immigration levels to 400,000 a year. The goals this report aims to achieve can be accomplished within the existing immigration system. All Canada has to do is make our immigration system smarter. Also, if Canada enacted policies that encouraged the natural growth rate then the nation's labour market needs can be satisfied by 2025.
It states that Canada will suffer a labour shortage in the ensuing years. How dramatic that shortage will be and its character is up in the air because no one really knows and thus such alarms are speculative (and effective in scarring a Canadian public to accept an immigration system it finds itself uncomfortable with). So, to fight this Canada needs more immigrants. Hogwash!
Only 20-25% of all immigrants to Canada are selected based on skills and labour market needs. Making up another 25% is their spouses and children. The other 50% are largely humanitarian (refugees, sponsored relatives). Therefore 75% of all immigrants to Canada do not enter the country to satisfy any particular job shortage. They are here for immigration's sake. If a looming skills shortage is on Canada's economic horizon then Canada can tweak its current immigration system to address this.
One way it can do this is to select young and single immigrants picked to relieve a particular sector of the labour market. This will eliminate excess immigration by importing spouses and children so Canada can focus squarely on labour market needs. Or it can allow immigrants with spouses and children to enter Canada along with their nuclear families and leave it there putting an end to "chain migration" via the family reunification stream which has mostly burdened Canada with unskilled workers.
Canada can modify its current immigration system so that if focuses more on importing needed workers instead of the paltry 25% of immigrants who, I might add, are having a difficult time finding jobs in their fields. By doing so Canada will not need to increase its immigration intake.
I am immediately suspicious of a report produced by a business advocacy group whose members want Canada to increase its immigration targets yet refuse to hire the immigrants already here. If the 25% of immigrants to Canada are having a difficult time now in finding related work in their fields, why does (and would) Canada need more immigrants? It's rediculous!
I think this report has more to do with increasing Canada's consumer base then it has to do with making Canada more competitive. Most consumer demand, and thus profits, are generated in the advanced industrialized societies. But these societies are dying and their consumer bases are shrinking due to an aging population coupled with a low birth rate. However the birth rates in the developing world are through the roof but these people are too poor to purchase the products made by western based companies. To keep consumer demand in the west forever increasing and buoyant it makes business sense to import consumers into a society that will enable them to consume in some fashion instead of leaving them in poorer societies where their capacity to consume is severely limited. It doesn't matter if they are on welfare or in low waged jobs they are better off here as consumers than they are in a poorer country.
The assumption is that increased consumption leads to jobs. But what if those jobs are outsourced to countries where wages are so low the workers cannot afford the products they make? Will there really be enough jobs in the future to accommodate an increased immigrant intake? I doubt it very much at least not the ones that will throw a life line to the ever shrinking middle class.
Again, read the comments to the news piece.