Canada is losing ground in the international competition to attract talent, according to warnings from economic and policy experts who say that some drastic changes are in order.
“International competition is starting to heat up for the best immigrants, the Frank Stronachs, the people who will drive the economy,” says McMaster University economist Arthur Sweetman.
Australia has begun fast-tracking many immigrant applications while both India and China have announced new visa and tax incentives aimed at retaining skilled workers and possibly even luring back some previous emigrants and/or their descendants.
Though a recent Gallup poll finds that Canada still remains among the top three destination choices, behind the U.S. and the U.K., respectively, it has fallen behind in recent years due to many factors, including the nearly decade-long waiting times. The situation will not be helped by the recent decision to return all applications that had been in queue since before 2008.
A new system is needed, argues the Globe and Mail in a recent editorial after speaking with economists and immigration lawyers. A system that focuses more on skills and training, faster processing times, and incorporating more flexibility to answer to what both employers and migrants are looking for today.
The attitude of Canadians also needs work. Immigrants who do manage to put up with long waiting times end up often in a place where their credentials are discredited and racial and cultural discrimination are rampant barriers to job access.
The most skilled and educated workers on the planet are in demand elsewhere and the market is turning to favor them. Canada must also adjust if it has any hope of attracting the workers that will be (and already are) so desperately needed.
Source: Globe and Mail