A new study says that despite record immigration targets, newcomers are underperforming economically and the federal government needs to make reforms to provide better opportunities.
The independent public policy think tank Fraser Institute recently published a report titled Enhancing the Labour Market Outcomes of Immigrants to Canada. The report argues that Ottawa could do more to improve employment rates and productivity.
“As Ottawa increases immigration targets, government policies can do more to increase the ability of immigrant workers to more fully contribute to the economy,” said Fraser Institute senior fellow Jock Finlayson.
This year, Canada is set to admit 465,000 new immigrants, with that target reaching 500,000 newcomers by 2025.
According to the Fraser Institute, for Canada to continue benefiting from immigration, Ottawa needs to tackle language and credential barriers.
One of the key recommendations includes selecting a greater percentage of permanent immigrant workers from the temporary foreign workers and international students already in Canada.
Another way Canada could increase economic productivity of immigrants is to select immigrants based on English or French language capabilities.
Programs that also improve language and communication skills for immigrants should also be developed to ensure that they can effectively enter the workforce.
Barriers on licensing for professional or occupational jobs need to be reviewed and any unnecessary red tape removed so that newcomers can more easily enter their professions, according to the Fraser Institute.
“If the federal government wants to improve the employment outcomes of permanent immigrant workers, it must enact targeted reforms,” said Fraser Institute senior fellow Steven Globerman.
Canadians are divided over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s record immigration targets and many are expressing concern that they are negatively impacting housing availability.
A recent Nanos poll found that 55% of Canadians say that the government should roll back the number of newcomers entering Canada.