A new report from the OECD is suggesting that immigration could harm rather than help a nation’s productivity levels, with Canada emerging as a prime example of this disconcerting situation.
The report, compiled and released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, found that despite common ideals held in many developed nations like Canada, immigration does not have an effect on economic productivity.
Benjamin Tal, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s deputy chief economist, says that such news is not surprising, considering the vast challenges and underemployment facing Canada’s immigrants today.
“I estimate that the current employment and wage gaps between new immigrants and native-born Canadians, cost the economy slightly more than $20-billion in forgone earnings,” writes Tal in a recent piece for the Financial Post. “And more than 20% of working-age male immigrants leave the country within a year of arrival.”
This is not good news for a country facing massive labour shortages as population growth stagnates and waves of baby-boomers are set to retire.
Tal argues that the recent changes to Canadian immigration policy, which have shifted focus from long-term skilled workers to temporary low-skilled workers, will do little to address the country’s coming needs as well as the disparities between immigrant successes versus their Canadian-born counterparts.
He suggests that the government instead focus their efforts on developing more flexible tools to recognize and address future labour market needs, as well as streamlined foreign credential recognition and higher language requirements.
Source: Financial Post