According to new statistics just released by the government, Canada accepted about 280,000 new permanent residents in 2010, which is the highest amount in 57 years.
‘While other Western countries have cut back immigration during the recession, our government kept legal immigration levels high,” said Canada’s Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. “Canada’s post-recession economy demands a high level of economic immigration to keep our economy strong.”
While Kenney announced the large numbers, he also praised his administration’s efforts to reduce the immigration backlog, which saw some applicants waiting up to seven years for their file to be processed. Kenney says his government has so far reduced the backlog from 640,000 in 2008 to approximately 335,000 currently.
Kenney also stated that immigrants who arrive in Canada with a job offer pending are able to make $79,000 on average within three years of their arrival. Immigrants are also responding more to efforts to attract them to places other than Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.
However, critics are asking why the government is boasting about record-level immigration while at the same time cutting spending on resettlement services. Other critics argue that the government should be focusing more on family reunification rather than economic immigrants during a recession, when unemployment levels are high.
“There’s no economic argument [for these immigration levels] that makes any sense at all,” said Immigration Watch Canada founder Dan Murray. “All of the federal parties are afraid to talk about immigration in any kind of a negative way. They’re all looking for their share of the immigrant vote.”
Sources: Globe and Mail