Canada admits record-high number of immigrants

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Niccolo and Donkey
Canada admits record-high number of immigrants

Toronto Star

Nicholas Keung

February 13, 2011

Canada admitted a record-high number of immigrants last year, with more than 280,600 new permanent residents welcomed into the country, a report released Sunday shows.

That’s the highest number admitted into the country in 57 years and 6 per cent above Ottawa’s maximum 265,000 target, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told a news conference in Toronto.

In 2008, Kenney introduced new selection criteria to limit the eligibility to 38 qualifying professions only and found that skilled workers who already had a job offer when they applied for permanent residence fared best of all, making on average $79,200 annually three years after arriving in Canada.

In order to enable a more successful integration for skilled immigrants, Kenney said Ottawa is set to change the “points grid” of the immigrant selection system to bring in newcomers who don’t have university degrees or language proficiency, but whose job skills are in demand in Canada.

The federal government also plans to further raise the language requirements for those who apply to immigrate here with professional designations such as doctors, engineers, accountants and scientists to ensure their success in the country.

Kenney said he hoped to make those changes later this year.

“We need to be more flexible . . . skilled trades people who don’t have university degrees or who have very limited English or French language proficiency typically cannot make it through the points grid, but we have a huge and growing need for skilled trade people,” said Kenney.

“Rather than locking them out of the skilled worker program, I’m looking at ways we can accommodate people who don’t have university degrees, who don’t have full language proficiency to come through that program.”

Currently, a skilled immigrant applicant is assessed based on education levels, language skills and work experience among other factors, and must earn 67 points to qualify for the federal skilled worker program.

“Foreign trained professionals find the biggest barrier to employment is limited language proficiency, so we may look at additional ways to encourage foreign trained professionals with high levels of English or French proficiency,” said Kenney.

He said the aim is to “select the people who are most likely to succeed and give them the tools to succeed once they get here.”

Skilled immigrant applicants currently must pass a mandatory language test in writing, listening, speaking and reading in English or French.

About two-thirds of the newcomers admitted to Canada last year were economic immigrants and their dependants; an additional 21 per cent came under the family class, who were predominantly spouses and children of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Only 15,322 parents and grandparents were let in to reunite with their families.

More than 182,000 temporary foreign workers and 96,147 foreign students were also admitted in 2010, along with 12,100 United Nations sanctioned refugees from overseas.
Niccolo and Donkey
Niccolo and Donkey
Tories propose new immigration point system

So long as it's not based in race or ethnicity, but on performance and integratability, it makes sense.

Then again it's Canada. It doesn't really matter.

How exactly do they integrate into Canadian Civilization? Listen to emo, and drop religion?

Niccolo and Donkey
That's the question that no one here can answer for me.
No, no, no... they adopt cowardice when engaging in politics and political discussion along with an anti-american sentiment. That's the Canadian identity.
President Camacho
Niccolo and Donkey
Canada’s immigration policy: Who is on the guest list?

The Globe and Mail

Armine Yalnizyan

February 18, 2011

This week, the Minister of Immigration and Citizenship rightly noted that immigrants are Canada’s ticket to economic growth in the coming years.

The untold story is this: Canada’s growing reliance on newcomers is increasingly turning to temporary foreign workers -- “guest workers” -- rather than new immigrants and future citizens to propel growth.


The rise in the number of temporary foreign workers has accelerated over the past decade, most rapidly since 2006. Today their ranks eclipse those of economic immigrants.

Labour market shortages will grow in the coming years, as boomers retire in record numbers. How we bring people into Canada to meet our labour market needs will shape the evolving nature of Canada itself. Immigration and temporary foreign workers are two very different answers to the problem of how to sustain our standard of living.

Immigration is driven by people wanting to settle in this country, and the entry quotas are set by public policy to meet the public interest of Canadians. Temporary foreign work permits are issued to meet the needs of employers who, ostensibly, face labour shortages that cannot be addressed by Canadian workers. This process is not based on quotas. In principle and practice, there are no upper limits.

These workers are brought into Canada as, essentially, the guests of the employer. They have few rights (of which they are often unaware). They have no access to services available to other immigrants. Theirs is rarely a path to permanent residency.

In 2010, Canada allowed 182,322 temporary foreign workers to enter Canada to meet employers’ needs. This is the second-highest number on record, the highest being in 2008.

Some temporary foreign work permits are issued for longer than a year, some only for months. Consequently the total number of temporary foreign workers to address employers’ identified labour market needs is higher than the number of entries in a given year.

In 2010, there were 283,096 temporary foreign workers in Canada, doing work that employers asserted there was no Canadian available to do.

That is the highest number of temporary foreign workers on record, but only slightly higher than the number recorded in 2009, during the worst of the recession.

The highest demand for temporary foreign workers stems from the fastest growing economies in Canada: Alberta and Saskatchewan. But every jurisdiction except Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunavut has at least doubled their utilization of these “guest workers”.

The biggest growth in employer demand has been for basic labour or unspecified skills, especially since the recession. In 2000, 11 per cent of temporary foreign workers performed basic labour or unspecified skills; now 34 per cent of them do. They used to primarily fall into the categories of nannies and caregivers, or seasonal agricultural workers. Employers are now using the temporary work permit program to bring in workers for hotels, fast food outlets, janitorial services and factories -- typical Canadian jobs, albeit low-paying.

"The temporary foreign worker program is really about contracting out immigration," says Yessy Byl, a lawyer who volunteers with the Edmonton Community Legal Centre. “In fact the government is setting the stage for a bizarre non-immigration program because those workers can’t immigrate.”

Whether unintentional or not, the shaping of public policy seems to be increasingly off-loaded to private sector interests rather than handled by those charged with addressing the public interest, which include but are broader than employers’ needs.

Local economic needs are an important factor in shaping immigration policy, and the involvement of employers can and should reduce skill mismatches.

But there’s a danger in allowing employers, alone, to define Canada’s immigration policy: Employers are increasingly looking for average workers, not skilled labour.

Cheap labour, that is. Workers who increasingly depend on the goodwill of their employer rather than the rule of law.

This week, the Law Commission of Ontario, in its ongoing efforts to make the law accessible to all residents, started looking at what can be done about the rise of vulnerable workers.

By allowing employers to drive the agenda based on their own short-term interests, the federal government has dropped the ball on Canada’s long-term interests and has taken immigration policy down a troubling path: the normalization of migrant labour in Canada.

For a country that has grown into one of the most diverse, peaceful and prosperous nations on the planet, this shift in immigration policy signals a troubling new direction.

Throughout our history the long-standing offer to newcomers, through unifying families and providing citizenship, was the promise of becoming full participants in Canadian society.
In its place, official policy increasingly sanctions and supports employers who use newcomers as cheap and disposable labour. It's bad for diversity, it's a terrible trend for workplaces, and it affects everyone.

The role of government is to protect the interests of Canadian workers as well as Canadian employers. That includes protecting the powerless from those willing to exploit our vulnerabilities. Backing away from that job turns immigration into a potential source of social tension, just as Canadians increasingly turn to immigrants to assure our economic future.