Is it safe to plan your future in Canada? Will Canada continue its immigration-friendly policies? Or it is just a short-term trend that will quickly change and leave international students and foreign skilled workers high and dry?
Considering the way the US quickly decided to do away with its pro-immigration policies, it’s natural to worry whether Canada too will follow suit. However, Canada’s immigration-friendly policies and programs are not a passing fad. So, the sensible option is to plan your studies and future in the country without worrying about possible reversals in policies.
Unlike other countries, Canada’s need for immigrants goes beyond just solving temporary labor shortages or helping employers import cheap labor from abroad or even providing humanitarian aid to refugees.
To understand why immigration so important, let us ask—what will happen if Canada decides to end its pro-immigration policies and shut down its immigration system?
Canada is facing the twin problems of slow population growth and an aging population. The only viable solution available to Canada is to boost immigration of young skilled workers.
Here is an interesting piece of data—despite a 62 percent fall in arrivals in 2021 over 2020, immigration still accounted for three-fourths of Canada’s population growth in the year. Without immigration, Canada will be staring at a huge demographic crisis.
Shrinking Tax Base
Fewer working-age individuals means Canada’s tax base will shrink, which means the government won’t have enough resources to funds its social welfare programs. Skilled immigration solves both these problems since young skilled workers, entrepreneurs, and startup founders will generate precious tax income for the government.
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Exit Global Companies
Some of the biggest tech corporations have aggressively expanded into Canada primarily to take advantage of its liberal work permit and immigration system. The Global Talent Stream with its 14-day processing of work permits has been a huge plus for multinational companies seeking to expand into Canada.
Reversal of immigration policies will mean these companies will exit Canada and its booming tech hubs will fall silent.
Adverse Debt to GDP Ratio
Low population, low tax base, and unavoidable high expenditure on social welfare programs will result in a very poor debt to GDP ratio for the Canadian economy. This will hurt Canada’s reputation as an investment destination.
So What’s the Right Canada Immigration Strategy?
To identify the right immigration strategy for Canada, it’s important to understand what kind of foreign labor Canada does not want.
No Cheap Labor Please!
Canada does not want to replace expensive domestic talent with cheap foreign labor. That’s not how its immigration programs are structured.
Canada does have a low-wage Labor Market Impact Assessment process, which means it is possible for Canadian employers to hire low-cost unskilled or semi-skilled workers from abroad.
However, there’s an inbuilt cap on the number of low-wage positions an employer can fill using foreign workers. So, if you are serious about working and settling in Canada, focus on upgrading your skills so that you can qualify for high-wage positions.
Temporary is Just Temporary
Even high-wage Labor Market Impact Assessment approval don’t come without specific conditions and requirements on Canadian employers.
There is no cap on the number of high-wage workers an employer can hire but each LMIA application for such a position must come with a transition plan. The plan must explain how the employer intends to either train a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for the position or help the foreign worker transition into Canadian permanent residence.
This means the option of being a temporary worker in Canada for years and years just won’t work. A foreign worker can plan to work in Canada on a work permit for a maximum of five years.
If you have plans to work in Canada for a longer period, then the smarter option is to focus on permanent residence as quickly as possible.
Catch Em’ Young!
Canada prefers young students to come here to study, graduate as a skilled worker, work and gain Canadian experience, and become a permanent resident. This option is cheaper and more reliable for Canadian employers as compared to hiring an experienced skilled worker from abroad.
This is not to say foreign skilled workers are not welcome. Canada certainly requires a large number of experienced professionals and skilled workers from abroad. However, the student to worker to permanent resident setup is Canada’s preferred long-term strategy.
If you are a young and ambitious student, then you must seriously consider studying in Canada. Not only does Canada have great educational institutions, a Canadian degree will open up multiple career opportunities in the country along with a clear and stable route to long-term residence as well.