Immigrants are needed to help the Canadian economy recover after coronavirus-induced economic decline.
Canada needs immigrants.
With over 9 million people reaching the retiring age over the next ten years, Canada’s response was the announcement of the 2020-2022 Immigration levels.
The levels planned to welcome over one million immigrants into Canada by the end of 2022.
This need for immigrants was emphasized pre-pandemic.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, Canada will depend on immigrants now more than ever.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) still processes new applications for permanent residence, as well as other applications.
One would argue that Canada needs to tighten immigration because of rising unemployment rates across the country, because it does not make sense to have so many people and fewer jobs.
This would be similar to U.S. President Trump’s move to freeze immigration for the rest of the year, citing unemployment as the reason.
However, a rebuttal would be that this is compensated by Canada’s aging population and low birth rate.
As more and more baby boomers leave the job market over the next decade due to retirement, more people are needed to enter the job market. Unfortunately, even if we tap into Canada’s existing population including under-represented talent sources, it will still not be enough to compensate for all the boomers retiring.
In addition, most immigrants are in fact younger than the Canadian average which means they will spend several decades contributing to the economy upon their arrival here.
In the first quarter of 2020, over 80% of Canada’s population growth came from immigration alone. The country’s population now stands at 38 million.
Many immigrants who are eligible to come to Canada are well-educated and have in-demand skills.
They also arrive with entrepreneurial spirit, open up shop, help grow Canada’s economy and create jobs for Canadians.
Immigrants carry out crucial work that Canadians are not willing to do, such as in the agri-food sector.
So it makes sense to welcome immigrants, even with rising unemployment. Immigration will help to alleviate Canada’s woes. Consider for example that the presence of international students supports 170,000 jobs in Canada each year. Immigrants have an even larger impact on job creation.
Immigration growth has historically boosted Canada’s economic growth, and it will be no exception post-pandemic.
Many also become immigrants after arriving as temporary foreign workers and international students. These people are ideal immigrants due to their youth, Canadian work experience, English and French fluency, and high levels of education.
As immigration minister Marco Mendicino recently said when asked about Trump’s latest visa freeze, “Come to Canada”. This is precisely the message that Canada should continue to stress to global talent in the months and years to come.
With Canada Day just around the corner, it is worth remembering that Canada went to great lengths to welcome more immigrants upon its founding with long-term objectives in mind. It wanted to populate the country to grow its economy and secure its borders.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, we should not lose sight of the long-term benefits of immigration.