Improve Immigrant Outcomes Before Increasing Inflows: C.D. Howe Institute
TORONTO, June 19, 2013 /CNW/ – Before increasing new immigrant intake
targets, Canada should focus on improving immigrants’ labour market
outcomes through reforms to the selection process, according to a
report released today by the C.D. Howe Institute. In “Improving
Immigrant Selection: Further Changes Are Required Before Increasing
Inflows,” author Christopher Worswick cites recent evidence of poor
outcomes for recent immigrants that raise a caution flag for higher
As Canada’s population ages, notes the author, growth in the country’s
workforce will eventually be driven almost entirely by immigration.
This has led to calls that Canada should increase its immigration
targets from around 250,000 immigrants to around 400,000 immigrants per
year. “Whether and how to do so is conditioned by the observation that
recent immigrant cohorts have had limited economic success in Canada,”
says Worswick. “The wage differential of recently arrived immigrants
versus Canadian-born workers has grown over time, and it is no longer
obvious that recent immigrants can close this gap within their working
careers. Hence, there is reason to be cautious about expanding
Whether new arrivals are helping boost the domestic standard of living
is central to policy decisions over the number of immigrants we accept
each year, Worswick points out. Therefore, the success of Canada’s
immigration program should not be assessed based on whether the economy
has expanded as a result of the new additions, but on whether
productivity and efficiency – gross domestic product (GDP) per person -
are rising as a consequence.
Reforms currently underway to improve the immigrant selection process -
such as revisions to the skilled immigrant point system to better
attract younger immigrants with higher levels of language fluency -
should improve outcomes. These reforms should be expanded upon and
allowed to take effect before any proposed increases in immigration
targets are acted upon.
Worswick recommends the following, practical measures to further bolster
immigrant selection and allow for expanded immigration targets in the
-- Delays in processing applications must be cleared up for reforms to the screening process to take effect. -- A better evaluation of an applicant's skills should occur before arrival, entailing the cooperation of regulatory bodies for professional occupations, a formal process for evaluating degrees and certificates, and a greater role for Canadian employers to help select potential immigrants. -- Allow the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) stream of admission to continue to expand. The CEC program aims to enable easier immigration for foreign students with recognized Canadian credentials as well as for skilled temporary foreign workers with domestic work experience.
“If immigration is to play a more important role in offsetting
demographic pressures and filling future labour shortages, reforms to
the way in which we screen immigrants should be allowed to continue,
processing backlogs must fall, and cautious steps must be taken when
increasing immigration levels,” concludes Worswick.
SOURCE C.D. Howe Institute