Canada is looking to admit more than 300k immigrants, mostly skilled workers and their family members, every year. Even the pandemic failed to make Canada give up its immigration target. In fact, Canada has actually increased its yearly skilled immigration target to make up for the disruption caused by the pandemic.
And now, the US too is beginning to worry about the consequences of its short-sighted decision to make things different for H-1B and EB-1/EB-2/EB-3 skilled immigrants.
No Economic Growth without Population Growth
Poor countries face the problem of population explosion. Rich countries like the US, Canada, and Japan face the opposite problem—of stagnating or even declining populations. It is a well-established rule that there is a direct link between population growth and economic growth in developed countries.
This means a developed country that succeeds in boosting population growth will remain rich and developed. A country that fails to solve this demographic problem, like Japan, will struggle with prolonged economic stagnation.
Where the US Went Wrong?
Like Japan, the US too has been looking at a demographic crisis for a long time now. A 2019 report indicates that 91 large metro areas in the US saw an increase in population growth since 2010.
However, this growth was primarily due to immigration. Without immigration, the figure of 91 metros would have fallen to just 65 metros.
Analysis indicates that US population growth between 2020 and 2060 was forecast at less than half the growth between 1980 and 2020. By 2030, one in five individuals in the US will be of retirement age.
And this forecast was before President Trump and his restrictive immigration policies. At a time when the US should have made immigration easier, it chose to discourage even skilled workers with advanced degrees from moving to the US.
Now, it’s not surprising that US lawmakers are looking to learn from Canada’s pro-immigration policies to boost population growth and prevent economic stagnation.
How Canada’s Immigration Strategy Helped?
Canada is facing the twin problems of very slow population growth combined with a rapid aging population. Canada’s total population is not growing as fast as it should. At the same time, the proportion of aged individuals in the country is rising faster than the number of youngsters.
To counter this demographic crisis, Canada has chosen to boost its population by aggressively targeted skilled workers from foreign countries. Young skilled workers are more productive, create value for the Canadian economy, and boost population growth by bringing their families into Canada.
The effect of Canada’s pro-immigration policies is there for all to see. Provinces attracting highest number of skilled immigrants are enjoying higher economic growth as compared to other provinces.
Provinces with good economic growth are seeing further influx of foreign students, skilled workers, and entrepreneurs. This results in further economic growth, which sets of a golden cycle leading to higher GDP growth, lower public debt, and greater economic and social stability.
Choosing Your Immigration Destination—US or Canada?
No developed country can remain developed and wealthy for long without skilled youngsters. With people having fewer children, countries don’t have any alternative to relying on skilled immigration.
So, if you are a young skilled worker or student from an emerging economy, then you should definitely explore your options abroad. Keep these points in mind when comparing destinations.
Focus on countries with immigrant-friendly policies. These developed countries need you as badly as you need them. So, there’s no point trying to study in a country where post-graduation work opportunities are being restricted or where you are treated like an unnecessary presence.
Prefer countries with responsible immigration policies where programs match the on-ground requirements. Better avoid a country with a centralized immigration setup where programs are determined by the Federal government with no powers with provincial or community authorities.
Skilled immigration is not a political issue in Canada primarily because only those with skills and qualifications that are in real shortage in the country are invited to apply. Plus, there’s respect for skilled workers along with the acceptance that the country needs them.
The US may be realizing the cost of its anti-immigrant policies but there’s no clarity that things won’t take a turn for the worse once political fortunes change. Instead of putting your future at risk, you should choose Canada for a stable and prosperous future.