Canada’s Immigration Minister says that his government is looking to increase immigration levels, but wants to make sure that those immigrants will be able to work and contribute to Canadian growth effectively.
In a recent interview with the Globe and Mail, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney admitted that he and his department are facing considerable pressure from employers and provinces across the country to raise immigration levels.
Those levels have been steady at 250,000 for about the past two decades, and therefore raising them significantly would be a huge policy initiative on his government’s part. However, Kenney says that the major priority is to address the underemployment and underperformance of immigrants who are already in Canada.
“Immigrants have double-digit unemployment and have seen incomes on the decline for three decades,” said Minister Kenney. “Once our [recently announced series of] reforms are implemented we will, I am sure, see higher levels of employment and income for immigrants, which means faster and more successful integration. I think a very strong case can be made then for higher levels.”
The minister also expressed concern over the divide in public opinion on the issue of immigration. While employers and provinces seem to strongly support increased immigration, most of the general public is not in favour. He and his government are conscious of avoiding immigrant backlash, as has been demonstrated in some European countries.
In addressing the challenges facing those who have already immigrated to Canada, the government seems to be trying to bridge the gap between a public wary of taking on too many newcomers in slow economic times, while also satisfying growing labour crunches that are increasingly faced daily by employers and provincial governments across the country.
Source: Globe and Mail