Canada needs immigrants for its economic growth
Posted on March 30, 2020
In the first week of March the Canadian government announced its immigration level plans for the next two years much before the Coronavirus pandemic escalated to its present proportions. The Federal government of Canada had announced in its immigration plans to invite 341,000 immigrants in 2020, an additional 351,000 in 2021, and welcome another 361,000 immigrants in 2022. To meet these immigration targets, the government planned to focus on economic programs. It increased the quota of provincial nominee programs from 61,000 to 67,800 for this year.
With the Coronavirus pandemic creating an economic state of gloom in most countries including Canada, the question is whether the country will be able to continue with its plans to welcome 1 million immigrants by 2022. Will the economic and political fallout of the pandemic alter these plans? The answer is no because immigration will continue to be crucial factor for Canada’s economic growth even after this pandemic. Let us look at the reasons why.
Despite the negative economic impact of this pandemic all over the world including Canada, it would still need immigrants. Some would argue that taking in more immigrants will put pressure on the Canadian labor market which might not have enough jobs for them.
However, a look at the immigration policies of Canada in the past has revealed that it has little relation to the economic condition of the country.
The country has a history of welcoming immigrants to fill immediate job vacancies but at the same time its immigration policies are designed to help the country’s economic growth in the future as well. the country expects immigrants who come to the country during economic lows to contribute to the country’s economic growth in the future.
By welcoming more immigrants, the country’s labor force will increase and one way to improve the economy is to use the labor force more productively. Considering this it makes more sense to welcome immigrants in times of economic downturn.
Even though immigrants might initially find it difficult to find employment suited to their qualifications, but with baby boomers in the country set to retire a few years from now, local employers will be competing to hire qualified immigrants. This will result in better employment opportunities and salaries for immigrants.
The short-term impact of welcoming immigrants is they will contribute to the economy by creating a demand for goods and services once they come to the country. The government is trying its best to keep the immigration flow going by conducting immigration draws at regular intervals. It is also helping Canadian employers gain access to temporary foreign workers.
Measures to encourage temporary foreign workers:
In a bid to keep the economy going, the Canadian government has decided to continue processing visas in the Temporary Foreign Worker program (TFWP) stream and help Canadian employers during the time of this pandemic.
Even though the Canadian government decided to close its borders to non-residents in the wake of Coronavirus, it decided to continue its TFWP category to help Canadian industries such as agriculture, agri-food, food processing and trucking.
The TFWP is a program that allows Canadian industries that are facing a labor shortage to hire foreign workers after ensuring that Canadian citizens and permanent residents were given the first opportunity to apply for these positions.
Individuals coming to Canada under the TFWP are required to have a temporary work permit and a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The LMIA is a proof that the Canadian employer who is hiring a foreign worker will have a positive or neutral impact on the local labor market.
Extension of LMIA validity:
The validity of the LMIAs have now been increased from six months to nine months. For applicants under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) and agricultural stream positions, the validity period is extended till December 15, 2020, or nine months, whichever is of longer duration.
Those with approved LMIAs will get an extension for three months to meet the validity period of nine months.
The Canadian government is continuing its efforts to process immigrant applications to help them live and work in the country and contribute to its economic growth.