Todd: High migration might trim wages … in some places, in some jobs

Valid notes of caution by the economists cited:

University of B.C. economists Craig Riddell and David Green, and Carleton University’s Christopher Worswick, caution both boosters and critics of high in-migration to temper their rhetoric.

The economists could have been referring to Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, who on Nov. 1 pushed up immigration levels while showcasing a prosperous newcomer family.

“Our ambitious plan,” Hussen said, “will benefit all Canadians because immigration contributes to our economic growth and keeps our country competitive in a global economy.”

The federal Liberals’ target for immigrants in 2020 is 340,000, which is a 36 per cent jump from 250,000 in 2014.

Without publicizing it, Ottawa has also sharply increased the number of temporary workers. The number of non-permanent residents in Canada last year, 891,000, was more than twice the total in 2006. 

More than 330,000 of them are international students. Another 55,000 are temporary foreign workers, while 289,000 are “international mobility” workers.

Metro Vancouver gets almost 30,000 immigrants each year, in addition to being home to 130,000 non-permanent residents, mostly international students (who also get work visas).

The economists focused on immigration rates, not necessarily temporary workers, in concluding that “increased immigration inflows have small impacts on wages and employment in the medium to long run.”

The UBC economists, however, caution that “immigration cannot be relied upon as a source of higher per capita incomes.”

In a major article in Policy Options, the three economists warn “it is important not to get distracted by individual stories of successful immigrant entrepreneurs. They certainly do exist, but that is not really relevant.”

The economists challenge the immigration minister’s claim that increasing immigration rates “will help us ease the great challenges of the coming years, such as … labour shortages linked to Canada’s aging population.”

It’s not possible to replace the aging baby-boomers, the economists say. “The results are definitive: Immigration is not a means to substantially alter Canada’s age structure and impending increase in the dependence ratio. Inflows of immigrants are just too varied in their age structure.”

Similarly, SFU’s Wu Qiyan says bringing new people to Canada’s major cities is a “double-edged sword.”

At one level, Wu said, an influx of newcomers into Toronto and Vancouver can “create less job opportunities for locals,” while raising rents and housing costs.

On the other hand, Wu said, more people “can also create more opportunities,” by increasing consumers and businesses.

UBC economist Thomas Lemieux said the question of whether more immigrants and temporary residents reduce wages is one of the most controversial in his field, particularly in light of rising nativist movements in the U.S., Europe and Quebec.

Lemieux’s own research focuses on how immigrants themselves fare in Canada’s labour market, with the general conclusion being they’re doing worse financially than in the 1990s.

Newcomers from Europe “tend to do much better” than those from India and other South Asian countries, Lemieux said, “even while there are fewer and fewer coming from Europe.”

Virtually every labour economist says the Canadian public and prospective immigrants deserve more research into, and more robust discussion of, the links among immigration, non-permanent workers, economics and wages.

With Canadian politicians making the country a unique global experiment in mass migration, few issues call out for more investigation.

via Todd: High migration might trim wages … in some places, in some jobs | Vancouver Sun

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Ottawa’s new immigration targets: Good for special interests: Collacott

Martin Collacott outlines the case against increased immigration. While I disagree with a number of the arguments he used, I do agree with his conclusion that Canada needs “a comprehensive, balanced and informed discussion on what kind of immigration policy can best serve the interests of Canadians overall:”

The government’s rationale for increasing immigration levels is based on a number of other false premises.

One is the claim that Canada needs to bring in large numbers of workers from outside the country when in fact we aren’t facing major labour shortages that only immigration or temporary foreign workers can mitigate. Although gaps in the availability of labour will almost certainly occur from time to time and in various parts of the country, most of these can be dealt with domestically by allowing wages to increase. Research indicates that we should only have to resort to bringing in workers from abroad (either permanent or temporary) on relatively rare occasions since Canada already has the human, as well as educational and training, resources required to meet most of its labour needs.

Related to this is the myth propagated by the government that immigration is necessary to provide workers needed to pay the taxes required to fund services for the growing percentage of older Canadians. While there is no question that Canada is facing a number of problems related to having a larger proportion of seniors, it has been demonstrated definitively that immigration doesn’t provide any sort of practical solution to these problems since immigrants grow old like everyone else and have a negligible impact on the average age of Canadians. We would have to bring in hundreds of millions of immigrants for this to change.

Yet another area of concern should be the environmental impact of a large population increase both within Canada and globally when one considers the much larger ecological footprint newcomers will have here than in the countries most come from.

The Liberal government nevertheless plans to increase immigration levels substantially in the next three years. Some provincial governments welcome this as a way to counter population stagnation and decline. The fact is, however, that in regions where this is a problem it’s happening largely because of a lack of economic opportunities that results in workers moving to other parts of Canada. While more than a few newcomers avail themselves of the chance to get into Canada through welcoming provincial immigration programs, many waste no time in moving on to already overcrowded cities such as Toronto and Vancouver in their quest for employment.

Most residents of these cities, moreover, aren’t enthusiastic about the large-scale influx. While those who have owned real estate for some time obviously benefit from an increase in property values, most younger buyers in these cities are priced-out of a market driven by a rapidly growing population and money flowing in from abroad. Expensive housing brought about to a large extent by high levels of immigration could well be a factor in the decision of many couples to have fewer children.

Clearly the government’s new plan will not work in the interests of most Canadians and particularly those who live in big cities that attract large numbers of immigrants. The immigration targets serve in particular the interests of the Liberal Party of Canada, which hopes that most newcomers will vote for it. Related to this is the recent legislation that has lowered and cheapened citizenship requirements. The NDP isn’t far behind in advocating policies designed to attract immigrant support rather than benefit Canadians in general, while the Conservatives for their part have had relatively little to say about major problems associated with the plan.

The main beneficiaries apart from the Liberals will be those who profit economically such as the real estate industry, employers seeking a larger supply of cheap labour and immigrant communities looking to enlarge their size and influence as well as receive increased funding for settlement programs. The principal losers will be Canadian taxpayers and workers in general.

While Canada has benefited at times in the past from large-scale immigration, the present isn’t one of them. What the country needs today is a comprehensive, balanced and informed discussion on what kind of immigration policy can best serve the interests of Canadians overall. It isn’t likely to get this from the current government.

via Ottawa’s new immigration targets: Good for special interests | Vancouver Sun

Citizens with immigrant backgrounds lagging behind in Germany – Daily Sabah

Some good background into:

A report by the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), which conducts regular studies on ‘integration,’ has found that the divergence between immigrant-born and native Germans in key areas, such as education, the labor market and income, have mostly remained unchanged since 2005.

The study on education was conducted on young adults aged 18 to 25.

Those without a high school diploma, of an immigrant background, were 10.6 percent of the sample in 2005 and 12.1 percent in 2016.

By contrast, native Germans of that age group without a high school diploma were 4 percent in 2005 and 3.6 percent in 2016.

Regarding the labor market for people aged 15 to 64, things are somewhat different.

Unemployment has been steadily declining in Germany since the early 2000s.

Native German unemployment in 2005 was at 9.8 percent while non-natives were at a 17.9 percent. By contrast, these numbers came down to 3.4 and 7.1 percent respectively.

The numbers regarding income, however, have also remained very steady. The so-called “working poor” are a share of workers across many professions, and the percentage their group occupies has remained stagnant since 2005 as well, for both non-native and native Germans.

Native Germans at risk of poverty were about 6 percent of the working population in 2005 and rose slightly to 6.2 percent in 2016, while those of immigrant backgrounds were at 13.8 percent and decreased by 2 decimal points by last year.

There’s an area of improvement as well.

The proportion of both native Germans and those of an immigrant background of 25-to under-35-year-olds with a university degree has all but equalized in the country.

About 17 percent of native Germans of that age group held university degrees in 2005, with people of an immigrant background lagging behind at 13.9 percent. Their share of university degree holders, however, has increased substantially since 2015.

By 2016, however, both native Germans and non-natives held degrees at an equal 26.1 percent.

Germany has seen a massive influx of people of African and Middle Eastern decent over the past two years. Exact numbers are not known, since hundreds of thousands of those who arrived since 2015 have gone off the grid, but it is estimated that nearly 2 million people got in.

A total of 18.6 million people with foreign roots live in Germany. A lot of them are of Turkish decent, descendants of guest workers who decided to stay in Germany after they were invited in the 1950s and 1960s.

Nearly a quarter of the country, 22.5 percent, are reported to have an “immigrant background” according to Destatis.

via Citizens with immigrant backgrounds lagging behind in Germany – Daily Sabah

Sondage [Ipsos]: les Canadiens partagés quant aux bienfaits de l’immigration

Didn’t see coverage of this before in English media (may have missed it).

Ipsos overview deck: Global Views on Immigration and the Refugee Crisis:

Beaucoup a été écrit sur la fermeture relative des Québécois, mais quelle est l’attitude des Canadiens face à l’immigration et aux réfugiés ? Et comment les Canadiens se comparent-ils aux nationaux d’autres pays ? Coup d’oeil sur un sondage réalisé cet été par Ipsos obtenu par La Presse.

ÉCONOMIE ET SERVICES PUBLICS

Sur les « immigrants », les Canadiens ont des sentiments partagés. Au total, 38 % des personnes sondées croient que leur apport est positif, 30 % pensent l’inverse. Sur leur apport d’un point de vue économique et culturel, les réserves sont un peu moindres : 43 % pensent que l’arrivée des « immigrants » sert bien l’économie et 48 % estiment que ces nouveaux venus rendent le pays « plus intéressant ». Par ailleurs, quatre répondants canadiens sur dix disent que l’immigration « transforme le pays d’une façon qui ne [leur] plaît pas » et la moitié des personnes interviewées aux quatre coins du Canada estiment que cela met de la pression sur nos services publics.

EN QUÊTE DE PROTECTION OU D’OPPORTUNITÉS ÉCONOMIQUES ?

Pas moins de 41 % des Canadiens considèrent que la plupart des réfugiés qui arrivent à nos frontières n’en sont pas vraiment « et qu’ils viennent surtout ici pour des raisons économiques ». Une courte majorité des personnes sondées (52 %) pense que parmi les réfugiés « se trouvent des terroristes qui prétendent être des réfugiés pour pouvoir entrer au pays et y amener la violence et la destruction ». Les réfugiés finissent-ils par s’intégrer ? Oui, croient 54 % des répondants canadiens.

LES QUÉBÉCOIS MOINS OUVERTS

Selon ce sondage Ipsos, 35 % des Canadiens pensent qu’il y a trop d’« immigrants » au pays. À la fin de 2016, selon un sondage CROP, 46 % des Québécois pensaient de même et croyaient que « cela menace la pureté du Québec ». « De façon générale, de sondage en sondage, on constate que les Québécois sont de 6 à 12 points moins ouverts que les autres Canadiens », note Sébastien Dallaire, vice-président d’Ipsos.

Ce sondage Ipsos tend à le démontrer aussi : 49 % des Québécois disent que l’immigration transforme le Canada d’une façon qui leur déplaît (comparativement à 37 % dans le reste du Canada) ; 43 % des répondants estiment qu’il y a « trop d’immigrants », alors que cette proportion est de 32 % dans le reste du Canada. À noter cependant que ce sous-ensemble québécois étant nettement plus petit, la précision de ces données statistiques est moindre et que ces chiffres ne servent qu’à illustrer des tendances générales*.

LES CANADIENS PARMI LES PLUS OUVERTS

Alors que les Canadiens ne sont pas particulièrement ouverts, ils le sont tout de même beaucoup plus que les gens des autres pays. À la question : « Diriez-vous que l’immigration a un impact positif ou négatif sur votre pays ? », seuls trois pays se montrent plus positifs que les Canadiens. Il s’agit d’un étonnant palmarès : les Saoudiens sont les plus positifs face à l’immigration, suivis des Indiens et des Britanniques. Mais le tableau le plus intéressant, c’est ce tableau croisé d’Ipsos qui souligne que « les pays qui reçoivent une plus grande proportion d’immigrants ont tendance à avoir une meilleure opinion d’eux ».

FERMETURE DES FRONTIÈRES

De tous les répondants sondés aux quatre coins du monde, les Canadiens comptent parmi ceux qui ont le moins tendance à penser qu’il faut totalement fermer les frontières aux réfugiés. À cette question, seuls les répondants japonais, mexicains et péruviens se montrent plus ouverts que les Canadiens, tandis que les Turcs, les Hongrois, les Indiens et les Italiens se montrent les plus favorables à une fermeture des frontières.

DES RÉALITÉS NATIONALES PARTICULIÈRES

À propos de certains tableaux qui peuvent paraître surprenants, Sébastien Dallaire, vice-président d’Ipsos, relève que les réponses des gens sondés sont évidemment teintées de leur réalité nationale. Ainsi, les Turcs, qui semblent particulièrement fermés, ont vu affluer chez eux des millions de Syriens ces dernières années. À l’inverse, les Saoudiens comptent beaucoup sur la main-d’oeuvre étrangère. « Il est certains que certains pays se comparent mieux entre eux – le Canada avec ceux de l’Europe de l’Ouest, par exemple », note M. Dallaire.

via Sondage: les Canadiens partagés quant aux bienfaits de l’immigration | Louise Leduc | National

Addressing concerns about marriage fraud: Meurrens

Good and balanced assessment by Meurrens:

As soon as conditional permanent residency was implemented, it was clear that there were problems with the law, many of which were clearly unintended consequences. By far the most severe shortcoming of conditional permanent residency was that many people did not know about the abuse exception to the two-year cohabitation condition and, sadly, stayed in abusive situations to avoid deportation.

The second issue with the abuse exception was that some recent immigrants would make false allegations of abuse in order not to lose their status. In some cases the Canadian sponsors felt so terrible about ending a marriage or common-law relationship with a recent immigrant, knowing that this outcome would lead to the possible deportation of their partner, that they were even willing to participate in the fabrication. During one memorable consultation, a Canadian sponsor who wanted to amicably end his common-law relationship but did not want his partner to face removal from Canada went so far as to ask me how hard he would have to hit her in order for her to qualify for the abuse exception to conditional permanent residency. Frankly, I don’t think the Conservatives realized how far some people would go to stay in Canada, and how difficult it would be for immigration officials to adjudicate whether there was abuse.

Finally, the problem with conditional permanent residency that impacted the largest number of people was that it applied to those who were already inside Canada and who could have obtained permanent residency through economic immigration programs, but instead chose Canada’s family reunification stream because of faster processing times and the ability to work on open-ended work permits during processing.

For example, an international graduate who had been living here with her girlfriend for one year and working for a Canadian employer might have qualified under both the economic and the family reunification programs. From 2012 to 2015, however, the Conservatives frequently imposed application caps on certain economic immigration programs, and in some cases they even terminated whole classes of applications that were in processing. So it was not uncommon for many individuals to submit immigration applications under both economic and family reunification programs. Applicants who succeeded in being admitted through family reunification were then subject to conditional permanent residency, even though they had been working and living in Canada well before they had applied to immigrate. Unfortunately, the rules left some people trapped in relationships that they did not want to stay in. Such outcomes made it clear that the solution to marriage fraud should not be to impose hardship on all in order to catch a few.

While the repeal of conditional permanent residency might have caused some to think that the Liberals are soft on marriage fraud, it is important to note that the Trudeau government is maintaining two other significant measures that the Harper government introduced to address the issue.

The first Conservative reform that remains in place is the requirement that applicants must show that their marriage is genuine at the time of the visa officer’s assessment and that it was not entered into primarily for an immigration purpose. Before 2010, prospective immigrants had to prove only one or the other.

Second, in March 2012 the Conservatives introduced measures prohibiting immigrants who had been sponsored by a Canadian spouse or common-law partner from sponsoring a new spouse or common-law partner within five years after they immigrated. This change has prevented people from marrying a Canadian, immigrating to Canada, quickly divorcing the Canadian, travelling abroad, marrying someone else and then sponsoring that person to immigrate.

Given that both these reforms remain in effect, the Trudeau government’s approach to combatting marriage fraud can perhaps best be described as “three steps forward, one step back.” Supporters of both parties should have confidence that Canada currently has a system to combat marriage fraud that, while not perfect, generally works.

via Addressing concerns about marriage fraud

John Ivison: Liberals braced for another ’huge wave’ of illegal asylum seekers from U.S.

Good analysis by Ivison of some of the issues involved but no easy solutions.

Comes out at same time as IRCC annual tracking survey, showing a small but significant increase in those believing immigration levels too high (27 percent vs 23 percent a year earlier) and a small increase, but within the margin of error, of those who believed too many refugees were coming to Canada (32 percent vs 30 percent) – see Federal government immigration poll suggests hardening attitudes:

You have to feel sorry for the 300,000 Central Americans and Haitians in the United States covered by temporary protected status, who look likely to be deported in the next year or so.

The Trump Administration said Tuesday Nicaraguan nationals must leave by January 2019, and that it is seeking additional information on whether to end TPS designation for Hondurans.

The writing would also appear to be on the wall for 50,000 Haitians, who see their protected status end in January, and 200,000 El Salvadoreans, who lose their status next March.

The situation demands compassion – some of the affected people had been allowed to live and work in the U.S. for 20 years.

But it does not mean Canada should step up and offer social assistance, education, health services, emergency housing and legal aid to any asylum seekers who feel like wandering across the border within sight of an official port of entry.

The Liberal government looks set to be swept up by a second wave of illegal asylum seekers along the Quebec border – the direct result of meek acquiescence to U.S. policy.

Both Canada and the U.S. signed the Safe Third Country Agreement that means refugees claim asylum at the first point of entry. If that happens to be in the U.S., then they can’t claim asylum in Canada, unless they have a blood relative here or are an unaccompanied minor.

But the agreement does not apply to claimants who enter Canada at a location that is not a point of entry.

That is why over the summer, 13,000 mainly Haitian refugees crossed illegally near the Saint Bernard-de-Lacolle border station and promptly gave themselves up to the RCMP.

The numbers slowed down from around 200 people a day to 60-70, according to Jean-Pierre Fortin, president of the Customs and Immigration Union. But he says the processing system is already “plugged” – and now the U.S. Administration has signalled its intentions, he expects a “huge wave”.

“We’re talking about a major crisis,” he said.

Jason Kenney, the leader of the United Conservative Party in Alberta and a former federal Immigration minister, said he pushed the Obama Administration to close the loophole that allows asylum seekers to flaunt the Safe Third Country agreement.

The request was refused, in part Kenney believes because the U.S. sees it an avenue for illegal aliens to deport themselves.

Michelle Rempel, the Conservative immigration critic, raised the issue with Ahmed Hussen, the Immigration minister, at committee last month. She asked if Hussen had broached the subject with his U.S. counterpart.

“We haven’t done that,” Hussen conceded.

But if Canada doesn’t challenge a loophole that undermines the spirit of the agreement, we might as well hang out the bunting for the flood of asylum seekers we can expect over the next 12 months.

Canada remains an attractive destination because the system is absurdly generous and completely overwhelmed.

The government has attempted to spread the word that there is no advantage to arriving in the country irregularly. MPs Pablo Rodriguez and Emmanuel Dubourg were dispatched to explain to Latino and Haitian communities in the U.S. that claiming asylum in Canada is not a free ticket into the country – and that half of all claims in 2016 were rejected.

Rodriguez is about to go back on the road, heading to Texas and New York to advise the Latino populations there not to quit their jobs and take their kids out of school until they understand the situation. “I tell them that if they are returned, it may be to their country of origin, not the United States,” he said.

But it remains to be seen whether that message percolates to all potential asylum seekers.

Canada remains an attractive destination because the system is absurdly generous and completely overwhelmed. Only a tiny proportion of asylum seekers have had their claims processed, beyond a cursory health and criminal check.

After a health and security screening, individuals deemed eligible are able to claim a range of social benefits and get a work permit.

Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, asylum seekers have to show they are in need of protection from torture, death or “cruel and unusual treatment or punishment” in their home country.

But if a claim is rejected, they can appeal to the Refugee Appeals division of the Immigration department or ask the Federal Court to review the decision.

Needless to say with a backlog running into the tens of thousands this process takes years.

Taxpayers will be relieved to know that failed refugee claimants under a removal order MAY NOT be eligible for social assistance.

The government says it has a national operations plan that will be used by federal departments in the event of a significant increase in the number of irregular border crossings.

The first evidence of this plan is the delivery of winterized trailers for up to 200 people at the Lacolle border crossing.

But Rempel is concerned the government the integrity of the system is falling apart.

“Our options shouldn’t be limited to putting a winterized trailer at the border. Departmental officials have already warned that this is only going to get worse and worse,” she said. “A long stretch of the Quebec-Vermont border should be designated an official port of entry by law.”

It is not a problem of the Liberal government’s making – the tired, the poor and the huddled masses are being driven from the U.S. by an overtly anti-immigrant president.

But Justin Trudeau’s message that Canada will welcome anyone fleeing persecution, terror and war has made this country sound an attractive proposition to many who just want to increase their standard of living.

The Prime Minister needs to be unequivocal in his messaging – to economic migrants and to the Americans.

via John Ivison: Liberals braced for another ’huge wave’ of illegal asylum seekers from U.S. | National Post

ICYMI: Is Canada’s population too small? My review of Doug Saunders’ Maximum Canada 

For those interested, my take in Policy Options on Doug Saunders’ Maximum Canada.

Source: Is Canada’s population too small?

Josh Dehaas: Government should provide information on fate of failed asylum seekers

Valid points raised by Dehaas and Richard Kurland:

So what’s the truth? Are fake refugees really being encouraged to cross into Canada where they can sign up for welfare or a work permit, knowing they can ride off the backs of Canadian taxpayers for months or years? Or, as the Liberals make it sound, will they be put on a plane and sent packing?

The government is failing to provide basic answers

The truth is, we don’t know. It’s difficult to answer these types of questions because the government won’t provide basic answers about what’s happened to failed asylum seekers. Their failure to provide this data leaves Canadians to fill in the blanks. That’s dangerous, because it could lead to irrational public demands to close the door.

Right now, what little the government does report about failed asylum seekers doesn’t instil confidence. The Canada Border Services Agency’s goal in the 2015-16 fiscal year was to remove 80 per cent of failed asylum seekers within a year of a rejection of their claim, including appeals. In fact, they managed to remove just 47 per cent. In 2016-17 (year ended March 31), CBSA claims they did better, at 63 per cent. Either way, these figures suggest a large number of failed asylum seekers have decided to stick around indefinitely.

One would assume CBSA knows where they are and is trying to track them down. But neither Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale nor the the CBSA’s Jacques Cloutier would answer that question when it was put to them in a parliamentary committee in October by Conservative MP Larry Maguire.

The CBSA will not say how many warrants have been issued

One might also assume there are warrants out for their arrests; they’re supposed to be issued whenever removal orders come into effect. But the CBSA won’t say how many warrants there are. They did tell the Toronto Sun in March that there were 44,773 outstanding warrants for individuals who are supposed to be deported, but claimed they couldn’t say how many were failed refugees.

Richard Kurland, a veteran immigration lawyer, says he has been asking the CBSA for years to release data showing how many people have been removed, which countries they’re from, and how many warrants are active. Last year, he used the Access to Information Act to try to get details out of the CBSA, but the response arrived approximately nine months later and incomplete. It showed that there were 9,724 failed refugee claimants in the “removals working inventory” in September 2016, but didn’t really answer his questions.

“CBSA is just not providing basic reporting information, even though it’s instantly accessible literally at the push of a button,” Kurland says. Without such details, he adds, “it’s hard for us to have an intelligent, evidence-based discussion on policy.”

How are we supposed to get ahead of new challenges without basic information?

Kurland, for the record, says he believes most asylum seekers are coming here “in good faith” and that, even if they’re rejected, most are willing to self-deport. He also believes that the refugee system is working well compared to a decade ago when he says there were large numbers of illegitimate asylum seekers from eastern Europe coming to Canada to take advantage of our generous social assistance. Back then, he says, the wait for a refugee hearing was as long as four years, with another two or three for appeals. The Conservative fixed that problem, in part by speeding up the process for people from countries that don’t normally produce legitimate refugees.

But how are we supposed to get ahead of new challenges with the system, if we can’t even access the numbers needed to assess how well the CBSA is doing its job?

The government shouldn’t be leaving Canadians to fill in the blanks, because it will only generate suspicion. The people who will suffer most if Canadians lose faith in our immigration system are legitimate refugees.

via Josh Dehaas: Government should provide information on fate of failed asylum seekers | National Post

ICYMI – New immigration quotas: Too low and no long-range plan: Saunders

Saunders critiques the modest increase in levels against the perspective of his Maximum Canada:

Two shocking facts about the Liberals’ new immigration targets: First, they’re not high. Not by any measure. And second, they’re not well-planned.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen’s announcement of a gradual increase in immigration numbers drew the usual mix of alarmist and exultant headlines: More than a million newcomers by 2020! Saved from the devastation of an aging population! But Mr. Hussen was proceeding with the sort of tiptoe-step caution that has come to characterize his government. His plan is to raise skilled and family immigration by far less than 1950s, 1980s or 2000s increases, while letting refugee numbers fall back to their usual tiny slice of the immigration pie (after a 2016 peak caused by the Syrian emergency). It’s not out of line with the immigration and population-growth thinking of every Tory and Liberal government of the past half century.

Indeed, the initial response from the Conservatives, via immigration critic Michelle Rempel, was not to criticize the numbers as too high but to predict that the Liberals will be incapable of meeting their economic-immigrant targets and filling the labour shortages that both parties complain about. The NDP response, also reasonable, was that more of those immigrants need to be less-skilled, because that’s also where our economy needs people.

Both Mr. Hussen’s proposal and the opposition responses are based on the most short-term vision of immigration: filling jobs now and meeting demographic challenges a decade from now. What is missing is the longer view of a larger, more sustainably populated Canada – one that concentrates rather than sprawls, one that uses population growth for ecological efficiency rather than waste. (This also happens to be the subject of my new book, Maximum Canada). We can hope that some such plan is in the works.

In the meantime, it’s best to think of Mr. Hussen’s targets as a temporary holding pattern. Since the late 1980s, Canadian immigration rates have remained fairly consistent, hovering around 0.8 per cent of the population each year (that is, around eight immigrants per 1,000 people). Rates declined somewhat in the 1990s – not out of policy desire (Prime Minister Jean Chrétien wanted that rate to increase to 1 per cent annually), but because the economy was poor, and when that happens, immigrants don’t come. Then they rose again at the turn of the century, and have held at around 0.8.

Canada’s new level of 300,000 makes for an immigration rate of 8.3 per thousand. Mr. Hussen’s gradual increase, to 340,000 per year by 2020, would be a far smaller increase than we saw in one year alone under Brian Mulroney (who raised it by 50,000 in 1986-7) and identical to the one-year rise we experienced in 2000. It would give Canada a rate of 9 immigrants per 1,000 citizens.

That’s not high by Canadian standards, and it sure isn’t by world standards: It’s less than the 2015 immigration rates in Britain (9.7), the Netherlands (9.9), Sweden (13.7) or Switzerland (18.5). This is not mass immigration by any stretch. We tried that a century ago: If we were to have the immigration rate of 1913, we’d have to take in 1.75 million immigrants a year. Nobody is returning to those times.

But we’re stuck with a way of thinking about immigrants that’s often rooted in the previous century.

Canadians, and often their government, still think of immigrants as units of labour to be plugged into factories and labs. But the typical immigrant to Canada today is not an employee; she’s someone setting out to employ people, or at least manage them.

Six out of 10 male immigrants and five out of 10 female immigrants today arrive with university degrees – twice the rate of Canadian-born people. More than half of them own a house within four years of arriving – despite the very high costs of housing in the big cities and their suburbs where immigrants settle.

In other words, we should no longer think of immigrants as sources of (or competition for) jobs, but as primary sources of new economic activity.

On the other hand, we remain mired in another legacy of 20th-century thought: that immigrants will find their way into the middle class on their own.

Children of immigrants do succeed, to an enormous degree. But the first generation tends to get lost, its members often unable to realize their potential as creators of employment. A generation ago, immigrants saw their incomes converge with Canadian averages within 15 years. Today, immigrants are 1.5 times more likely than average Canadians to live in poverty, and twice as likely to earn less than $30,000 a year, after 15 years. Only 24 per cent of immigrants with professional degrees ever get work in that field. We waste talented people.

We need to invest ahead of population growth, so it delivers benefits rather than trapping people in isolation and low incomes. We should not talk about population growth without a significant new cross-government, cross-jurisdiction program to plan and invest for it.

via New immigration quotas: Too low and no long-range plan – The Globe and Mail

In the era of extreme immigration vetting, Canada remains a noble outlier: John Ivison

Ivison’s take on my MPI article Building a Mosaic: The Evolution of Canada’s Approach to Immigrant Integration):

While Donald Trump used Tuesday’s deadly attack in New York to promote immigration restrictions, a remarkable consensus continues to hold in Canada, evident in the response to the government’s announcement that nearly 1 million newcomers will be welcomed over the next three years.

Immigration minister Ahmed Hussen said late Wednesday 310,000 new entrants will arrive next year, 330,000 in 2019 and 340,000 in 2020.

In response, Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel complained about the Liberals over-promising and under-delivering on the immigration file, pointing to a backlog at the Immigration and Refugee Board, a lack of mental health services for Yazidi women, wait times for permanent residency for caregivers, and an uneven spread of immigrants across the country. But crucially, those complaints were about management of the system by the Liberals, not the significant uptick in numbers.

In a world where the U.S. president is pushing to step up “extreme vetting,” where even countries like Germany and Denmark with a reputation for being havens are turning against immigrants, Canada is a notable, noble outlier.

As Andrew Griffith, a former senior bureaucrat at the department of Citizenship and Immigration, notes in a new paper for the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute, Canada’s successful immigration policy has its roots in the country’s history and geography.

“The ongoing creative tension between groups (English, French and Indigenous peoples) produced a culture of accommodation central to Canada’s ability to absorb and integrate newcomers. Further, the widely held perception among Canadians that immigrants are an economic boon and cultural asset to the country has made public opinion on the subject generally resilient, even as sharp backlashes have unfolded in the United States and Europe,” he wrote.

The polling bears that out. In fact, fewer people are concerned about immigrants not adopting “Canadian values” than at any time in the past 20 years, according to a major study carried out last year by the Environics Institute.

The study said 58 per cent of Canadians disagree with the statement that immigration levels are too high, compared with 37 per cent who agree. Views on the issue in Quebec reflected the national average.

It said 80 per cent believe the economic impact of immigration is positive, compared to just 16 per cent who disagree.

And it found 65 per cent think immigration controls are effective in keeping out criminals, up from just 39 per cent in 2008.

Since the major liberalization of immigration in the 1960s, when Canada abandoned race-based selection criteria and paved the way for the country’s current diversity, there has been a consistency about the broad parameters of immigration policy, regardless of which party has been in power.

Since 1995, immigrants admitted under economic preferences have consistently accounted for half or more of newly arrived immigrants.

The OECD’s migration outlook survey suggests the Canadian system is successful at attracting some of the world’s best and brightest. In 2014, 260,400 permanent residents were admitted, and more than half of the 25-to-64 year olds in that group had completed post-secondary degrees. The employment rate for foreign-born men was higher than for native-born men.

None of that is to suggest that the system is not used as a source of electoral fodder — particularly by the Liberal Party.

While the Conservatives reduced family-class immigration and increased economic immigration when they were in power, new programs introduced by the Liberals threaten to reverse some of that progress.

In the last election, the Liberals campaigned on prioritizing family reunification, granting points under the Express Entry system to applicants with siblings in Canada and doubling the number of applications allowed for parents and grandparents.

There was plenty more political pandering — watering down language requirements, lifting Mexican visa requirements and reducing the residency requirement for citizenship from four years to three.

The Trudeau Liberals’ emphasis on rights over the responsibilities promoted by the Harper government — and the prioritization of diversity over Harper’s insistence on shared Canadian values and history — paid electoral dividends, shifting the allegiance of a number of visible minority communities toward the Liberals.

Yet the changes were at the margins.

Both governments adhered to the distinctly Canadian model of integration, based on broad agreement about the way immigrants are selected, settled and melded into society.

The demographics defy partisanship and both Conservatives and Liberals have tried to offset the effect of an ageing population, where the working age to retired ratio is set to fall from 6.6:1 in 1971 to 2:1 by 2036.

Beyond the economics, there is a common approach to integration.

Griffiths notes that as far back as 1959 in Statistics Canada’s Canada Year Book, integration was defined as being clearly distinct from assimilation — it provided for the retention of cultural identity.

The niqab ban in Quebec suggests the debate on accommodation is not resolved.

But it is easy to lose sight of the fact that Canadians are broadly at ease with mass immigration to this country, even as it has resulted in a country with one of the largest foreign-born populations in the world.

Source: John Ivison: In the era of extreme immigration vetting, Canada remains a noble outlier | National Post