Business leaders in Vancouver have urged the federal government to consider their input when the expected overhaul of Canada’s immigration policies takes place.
Members of the Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC) are concerned about reports the Liberals will rebalance the system in favour of humanitarian candidates such as family members and refugees.
The federal government is understood to want to lower the proportion of ‘economic’ immigrants from 65 per cent to 54 per cent of those accepted.
British Columbia In Numbers
Population: 4.7 million
Growth of 908,000 in last 20 years
Projected to grow 1.14 million in next 20 years
Annual population growth rate: 1%
Zero natural population growth by 2030
It is clear that real numbers of immigrants, whatever the classification, are likely to remain strong.
The Liberals are targeting 300,000 new permanent residents in 2016 – the highest total in recent history – with no suggestion that number will drop in years to come.
Immigration Minister John McCallum has moved only recently to maintain a higher-than-planned cap on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, and welcome a minimum of 2,000 extra new immigrants to Atlantic Canada in each of the next three years.
The Liberals are also trying to push through an amendment to a controversial piece of Conservative legislation dubbed the ‘second class citizen bill’, which made it more difficult for permanent residents to qualify for citizenship.
‘More Important Than Ever’
These are not the actions of a government about to impose immigration restrictions; business leaders are just concerned they get the balance right from their point of view.
Jock Finlayson, the BCBC’s executive vice-president and chief policy officer, and chief economist Ken Peacock are joint authors of an article outlining these concerns.
“It is more important than ever that immigration policy is aligned with our economic needs,” the article says.
“Unfortunately, based on some initial actions by the Justin Trudeau government, it appears that economic considerations will carry less weight in immigration decisions.
The article calls for action in three main areas, all of which are under serious consideration in McCallum’s office, as he tour around the country holding round table discussions and welcomes everyone to have their say on immigration policy.
The BCBC’s Action Plan
1) Give more points under the Canadian Experience Class to international student graduates
The article says: “It makes sense to give preference to applicants with Canadian educational credentials.
Liberal action: McCallum is planning to do exactly that, so that Canada can benefit from the students it educates.
2) Raise caps on Provincial Nominee Programs, from 47,800 to 80,000 by 2020
The article says: “It is a more efficient way to attract talent than the mainline federal immigration program.”
Liberal action: The government has already announced 2,000 more PNP immigrants per year for Atlantic Canada, with more believed to be on the way.
3) Introduce a skills visa aimed at technology talent
The article says: “The global skills visa would allow Canadian firms to recruit talent in a timely manner, thereby helping our technology sector and other innovation-based industries to grow.”
Federal action: McCallum has stated he is looking at ways to get tech talent into Canada more quickly and efficiently. He is yet to say how he will do this.
The economic importance of immigration is more obvious in Canada than ever before as it looks to grow despite dwindling natural population increases.
BCBC says it has many more immigration ideas to put forward. It urged Canadians to take part in a government survey currently being conducted. Do so by clicking here.
Questions from the Canadian Immigration Survey
On Strengthening Canadian Fabric
- How many newcomers should we welcome to Canada in 2017 and beyond?
- How can we best support newcomers to ensure they become successful members of our communities?
- Do we have the balance right among the immigration programs or streams? If not, what priorities should form the foundation of Canada’s immigration planning?
On Unlocking Canada’s Diverse Needs
- How can immigration play a role in supporting economic growth and innovation in Canada?
- Should there be more programs for businesses to permanently hire foreign workers if they can’t find Canadians to fill the job?
- What is the right balance between attracting global talent for high-growth sectors, on the one hand, and ensuring affordable labour for businesses that have historically seen lower growth, on the other?
- How can immigration fill in the gaps in our demographics and economy?
- What Canadian values and traditions are important to share with newcomers to help them integrate into Canadian society?
On Modernizing the Immigration System
- Currently, immigration levels are planned yearly. Do you agree with the thinking that planning should be multi-year?
- What modernization techniques should Canada invest in for processing of applications?
- What should Canada do to ensure its immigration system is modern and efficient?
- Is there any rationale for providing options to those willing to pay higher fees for an expedited process?
On Leadership in Global Migration and Immigration
- Is it important for Canada to continue to show leadership in global migration? If so, how can we best do that?
- How can Canada attract the best global talent and international students?
- In what ways can Canada be a model to the world on refugees, migration and immigration?
Interested employers: Kindly contact us here to receive further information.
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Read more news about Canada Immigration by clicking here.