The main aim of this paper will is to evaluate the impacts of the policies implemented during the accreditation of immigrants in Canada so as to ascertain whether they are effective and their overall impact on the Canadian economy. In the course of the years, the number of immigrated who have been granted entry into Canada has been on the increase at an alarming rate necessitating the coming up with control measures to monitor and manage this numbers.
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The immigration policies in Canada is seen to be complex at the very least especially to the public who are at a loss explaining why Canada is being flooded by foreigners each year. This paper shall therefore examine the major features of the Canadian immigration policies by categorizing these policies according to their goals and implementation period throughout the Canadian history line.
In addition to this, the paper shall analyze the extent to which these policies and regulations have been successful in achieving their goals and objectives and a cost benefit analysis shall be carried out to examine whether they are of benefit to the social and economic realms in Canada.
The issues that may arise from immigration shall also be addressed and critically analyzed in a bid to answer the question; Do policies of accreditation of immigrants in Canada effect the economy? The research done will assist in establishing the extent to which these policies are beneficial to the overall socio-economic welfare of the Canadian government and most important of all its citizens.
Immigration refers to the movement of people from one geo-political region to another mostly in search of a better livelihood. In the context of human beings, this may range from better job opportunities and standards of living to political stability. However, immigration is a complex matter with various factors coming into play.
In almost all country there are rules and regulations set in place to monitor this movement and avoid over population and other diverse impacts to the host country. As such, nations have through the decades come up with policies that dictate who should be allowed into the country, for what purpose and for how long they should stay.
If unchecked, immigration has been known to cause serious series of problems and policies have to be implemented to prevent these devastating issues from occurring (Wallis and Kwok, 2008). This paper argues that the immigration policies in Canada are beneficial to the county’s economy.
To reinforce this assertion, this paper shall set out to provide an insight into how the policies of accreditation of immigrants in Canada affect the country’s economy. A brief history of the same shall be given and the effects, advantages and disadvantages highlighted.
History of the Canadian immigration policies
A report by Alan Green (1996) documents that the first immigration act was written in 1869 during what is referred to as the first period (1870-1913). This act was part of the national policies which were implemented to support three major issues which were: the building of the intercontinental railways, protection of the industrial sector of Canada and helping of people settle in the west.
At this stage, such acts were made through the council’s select committee without any intervention from the cabinet. Later on in 1910, this act was amended and gave the cabinet control over all immigration related issues such as composition and the level of immigrants that were allowed into the country.
The goals of this act were mainly to protect and secure farmers, women and farm workers. It managed to achieve this because in time, the population growth rate increased, the native tribes in Canada were pleased with the act and best of all it was at par with the national policies that were set.
However, there arose some complications in the regulatory process in that some people suffered deeply due to this act. For example, business men and those who owned land enjoyed the opportunities that came with while the laborers especially the unskilled risked losing their work. In addition to this, the government promised to recruit immigrants from specific (traditional) countries but instead sourced from other countries.
This act had immense economic gain due to increased skill labor, and a high inflow of human capital which not only increased productivity but also maximized on the economies of scale and consequently increased the overall GDP of Canada (Harris, 1999). However social effects of the same were not as appealing; many unskilled workers were faced with unemployment and racism due to cultural diversity was on the rise.
To help deal with the issues in the act, some revisions to the act were made in 1919. A literacy test was introduced and mandated to all potential immigrants, the government put itself in charge of dictating the number of immigrants that were allowed in within a given period of time and also as part of the requirements, all immigrants were supposed to have valid documents such as passports and visas depending on where they came from.
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Green (1996) further asserts that the government also selected the countries from which the immigrants came from and introduced the field for “nationality” in the custom papers so as to enable the identification of the immigrant’s home country.
However, this did not factor in the boom and recession periods and in 1918, the government established the Employment Service Council whose main purpose was to regulate the number of immigrants that came in during high unemployment periods and vice versa in the Canadian economy.
These revisions ensured that the number of skilled labor in Canada was high; racism was minimized as most of the immigrants were from the United States and Britain (whites).
In addition to this, the established council effectively checked on the unemployment levels thereby maintaining good standards of living for the people and maintained levels of output from the economic sectors. In short, the amended act covered both the social and economic welfares in Canada.
Over the years, more amendments have been made to regulate the levels of immigrations. For example, admitting people according to the different needs in the various sectors, allowing people with promising potential to development such as agriculturalists, investors and those who can come in handy while facilitating international trade and businesses.
Currently, the Canadian government is using an act which contains the following regulations: the immigration levels must be contained at 1%, management of refugees is handled separately and has its own separate goals and resources, equality is maintained even if it means not reaching the speculated target, the educational levels and language (English or French) proficiency has been increased in point value of between 16 and 20 points.
In addition to this, a program has been established to identify all sectors that are low on labor and emphasis is put on the economic aspects of immigration so that the immigrants do not become social burdens to the government and the general public.
Effects of the policies to the economy
Research strongly indicates that the accreditation of skilled immigrants does not necessarily improve the economic standing of the host country. An article by Schellenberg and Boyd (2008) theorizes that as is with all countries, many immigrants find it difficult to get employment in their areas of expertise when they go to other countries.
This is because most immigrants lack the general knowledge of the host country and are unfamiliar with the structure of the labor markets in both the local and national levels.
In addition to this, problems such as language barriers, lack of well established social networks which may assist them during the job search, Canadian work experience which is important to the employers and most important of all most of them lack certificates licensed through Canadian professional associations.
As such, while the accreditation policies recruit persons in relation to their potential economic contributions to the Canadian society, such barriers may limit their ability to fully utilize their skills and as a result, they end up being under employed or even undergoing the re- accreditation process so as to meet the Canadian standards.
This process consumes time and money that could have otherwise been relocated to other beneficial use. This whole issue ironically leads to increased unemployment levels as the immigrants join in the existing pool of the unemployed as a result of the aforementioned issues. This reflects negatively on a country’s GDP and economic growth.
On the same note, Boyd (2008) concedes that age and qualifications from Canadian educational institutions take precedence over other equally important attributes during the employment process. According to the 2001 census statistics, the number of foreign doctors and engineers working in their area of expertise was very low.
It was noted that this was due to the fact that the number of vacancies offered to qualified non-Canadians in this sector is very limited and the process taken to get licensed in Canada for these fields is often hard and differs in every institution.
Economic advantages of accreditation policies to Canada
The immigration and refugee protection act (IRPA) is among the implemented policies from which Canada has benefited the most. The act is responsible for regulating the number of immigrants allowed into Canada. The immigrant entity is crucial to both the social and economical well-being of the Canadian economy.
Without it the economy would fall into total chaos and the population would not grow leading to low GDP and productivity (Alboim, 2009). The act provides the immigration authorities with the ability to select and protect the needed human resource with relations to their skills (educational and professional) and absorb them into the various sectors that are in need of such.
Consequently, this assists in filling the gaps in the labor markets and improves on unity between the different cultures. Such unity is a crucial occurrence in our world which is progressively becoming more globalized. On the same note, within the IRPA are policies which facilitate the categorization of immigrants in accordance to their various abilities and reason of entry.
One such policy is the economic class which regulates the inflow of immigrants especially the skilled ones. This category of immigrants presents the host country with investment opportunities, better innovations, trade opportunities and a wealth of knowledge pertaining to the different cultures.
According to Cornelius (2004), immigrants come with extra economic benefits to the host country. He suggests that a larger population means a larger domestic market and an equally large economy which in turn leads to better standards of living and an increase in wealth accumulation.
Immigrants increase consumer demand of the local products thereby leading to higher production and if they come in as investors, they help in creating employment avenues and opportunities to the local labor markets.
The technological transfer which comes as a result of the same may help improve the productivity of the local industries. In addition to this, immigrants offer stiff competition to local employees and companies therefore forcing them to improve on their performances and as a result, more quality goods are produced with high efficiency rates. However in every good thing there must be some flaws.
Economic disadvantages of accreditation policies to Canada
Immigration has over the years led to undesirable results in many host countries and Canada is no exception. Racism has been on the increase as a result of ethnic and cultural diversity that comes with the immigrants. In Canada, ethnic discrimination is high especially when it comes to the employment process. In addition to this, immigration has been seen as a source of deterred progress when it comes to salaries and wages.
According to Kazemipur (2005), immigration is believed to lower the wage rates in all economic sectors. This is attributed to the fact that most of them are either not fully qualified for the jobs or even to the fact that most of them are desperate to get jobs irrespective of the pay. To put more emphasis on this, immigrants who are under-employed produce less than their potential capacity.
This on the other hand has serious psychological, social and economical impacts such as low standards of living, increase in violence and crime, and stress disorders which collectively reflects negatively on the GDP levels of the host nation.
Additionally, immigration if unchecked leads to over population. This has been known to yield undesirable results in the past. As a result, the host country may be faced with such vices as increased unemployment due to job shortages in the labor markets, inflation as a result of increased demand and low supply, scarcity of resources due to overexploitation by the growing number of industries, and worse of all environmental degradation due to pollution and search for expansionary land.
In Canada, it has contributed highly to the income inequality gap among the people and also to the uneven distribution of industries and resources across the nation (Beach, 2003).
Analysis of the immigration policies in Canada
Since the first immigration act, the policies made always aimed at safeguarding three main aspects; the growth of the economy, reunification of families and humanitarian efforts as regarding to aid given to refugees (Alboim, 2009). However, there are some policies that questioned Canada’s efforts towards achieving these goals.
For example, the 1885 Chinese immigration act was established specifically to discourage Chinese immigrants from venturing into Canada. This was done by imposing a 50$ head tax to all incoming Chinese immigrants especially after the conclusion of the Canadian pacific railway project.
This act was purely based on racial profiling as were other immigration policies implemented back then such as the 1919 immigration act through which the Canadian authorities carefully selected the countries from which its immigrants originated from. The list excluded Asian and African countries but included US, Australia and European countries (Dyzenhaus and Moran, 2005).
Over time, as the need for immigrants increased, so did the need for reforms to the various accreditation policies being used. The 2002 IRPA has so far been the policy that yielded the best results as a result of the reform and amendments efforts displayed by the Canadian authority in relation to the accreditation of immigrants.
In terms of economics, this act dictates that immigrants be recruited mainly on basis of their ability to positively contribute to the national economy. As such, the government has actively introduced new policies and regulations to further tap the benefits that come from immigrations.
However, the impacts that these policies exert are worrying to say the least especially when we factor in the lack of debate characterized when formulating them. Evidently, little to no consideration seem to be given when implementing these new policies especially in regards to their long term impacts to the immigration system and consequently, the Canadian economy at large.
Also, through the e federal skilled workers program, the government has been able to identify immigrants who have high economic potentials and as such hasten their accreditation (2-4 months) process and even less time to those immigrants who have secured job opportunities in the various sectors (economic class).
On the same note, the sponsorship policy implemented in 1996 by the Canadian immigration Centre (CIC) has helped most of the incoming immigrants cope with the changes facing them and as a result assist them in settling in much faster than before (Briskin and Eliasson, 1999).
The amendments and accreditation policies mentioned above are very noble but they dismiss the fact that most qualified immigrants may require re-accreditation to fully conform to the Canadian standards. Also, these regulations assume the fact that most of them lack established social networks which may be useful during the job search process.
In this global community, people are finding it easier to work from wherever they want and such restrictions only eliminate one choice; Canada. In the long-run, this may have hard economic impacts as fewer people apply for work in Canada which may result to a labor deficit and reduction in the population levels which acts as a major indicator of economic growth.
Zaman (2006), states that the current policies have been designed in such a way that the immigrants are grouped according to their purpose and length of stay in Canada. This also is a great initiative as it helps monitor and regulate the number of immigrants that are present in a particular category within a given period of time.
However, it cumulatively leads to the marginalization of women who through this process are always very few (25% in the skilled category). This therefore paints a bad picture of Canada especially in terms of fighting discrimination and promoting equality.
In addition to this, the government recently removed all the restrictions that governed the criteria used and the number of immigrants that were allowed in a given province. As such, the duty to carry out these decisions was left to the province.
While an overview of this government undertaking may be seen to be benevolent to the immigrants, a closer look reveals that it may lead to problems in the future because each province has the ability to get as many people as it deems fit without any restrictions.
During the low labor demand periods this may lead to a countrywide unemployment wave which would have inconceivable socio-economical effects to the country as a result of inflated unemployment levels. Civil unrest would almost inevitably follow leading to further economic and social disaster.
Edmonston (1996) iterates that the point based system of evaluating immigrants is to some extent disadvantageous to the Canadian labor market. In some cases, employers sometimes need temporary low skilled workers to help balance the levels of production to the demand especially during the boom periods. However, the educational points are too high for low skilled people to actually manage to migrate to Canada.
In addition to this, too much time is used in processing the required papers and this ends up frustrating both the employers and employees not to mention the huge losses incurred in economical terms. Despite all these flaws, there are some policies that have actually helped in the quick recruitment and settlement of immigrants.
For example the transition to permanent residence was in the past a hectic process and in some cases unsuccessful. This was because the Canadian government stipulation that all immigrants were expected to go back to their countries and apply from there.
This was very discouraging especially to those immigrants who had established social niches and realized stability within Canada, or those whose nations had stringent policies against brain drain or even red tape in such issues.
This imparted huge losses on the Canadian labor market. The government therefore formed the Canadian Experience Class where specialized immigrants like students and temporary but skilled workers would apply from within Canada for permanent residency.
On the same note, the government has also established a program that links immigrants to potential employers thus saving them the hustle of manually looking for work. Additionally, another program has been created which helps in the retraining and settlement of skilled immigrants in Canada.
These programs have come a long way in solving the major issues that affected the immigrants once they were accepted in Canada. Consequently they make the process of job searching by immigrants relatively easy and also help them in adapting to the advantages and disadvantages that come with moving to a new geographic location.
Also, the government has over the years formulated laws and policies that safeguard immigrants and other people from sexual, racial, age, cultural and ethnical discrimination. This has in turn provided the minorities with equal opportunities in the labor market, in status and in the distribution and allocation of resources thereby creating a sense of unity and integration between the locals and foreigners that exist within the Canadian geographical boundaries.
The Canadian government has always set its immigration policies in such a way that they encourage the selection of citizens rather than workers. This move has given Canada an added advantage because not only does it support Canada’s population base but it also increases the number of people in the working class age limit thereby improving on productivity and economic growth.
This is as opposed to many other western countries whose primary basis for granting immigrant status is the economic viability.
As is with most industrialized nation, Canada is facing a serious problem in maintaining its local population base. This is because the reproduction rates are low in comparison to the desired fertility rate. Statistics indicate that by the year 2030, Canada will rely 100%on immigration to cover the population deficit that will ensue.
It is common knowledge that without a working-age population, even the jobs that require low skills shall be vacant. As such, more emphasis should be put in improving the current immigration policies so that they encourage more immigrants to come to Canada.
On the same note, the number of immigrants coming to Canada is reducing due to the intense competition for skilled labor in the global contexts. Also, countries like china and India from which most immigrants came from have over the years developed rapidly thus creating more job opportunities for their own people. Canada can therefore apply the following recommendations in its accreditation policies in order to compete favorably for these skilled laborers:
The Canadian government should try and formulate vision that is shared by the whole nation through public debate and dialogue. As earlier mentioned, the Canadian government has over the decade made immigration policies without a care for the public’s opinion. As a result, many of these policies have been ineffective because of the constant challenges that are imposed by the various social groups.
Having a dialogue will therefore resolve the key issues that may hinder the success of such policies and at the same time, come up with effective and more realistic policies. In so doing, Canada will realize balance between the economic sectors, households and also within the various categories that they have set for immigrants leading to gradual positive economic growth.
The government should also prioritize the skilled workers program because it is the only program that allows them to recruit future citizens in regards to their potential economic contributions. This policy is very important to the Canadian nation especially if we consider the long term ramifications of a low working-population.
In addition to this, the immigrants in this category have over the years proven that they posses the ability to quickly adapt to the Canadian environment as a result of their educational qualifications and fluency in the desired languages. To effectively do this, the government should allocate adequate resources to the departments that process these candidates in order to eliminate the delays experienced during the recruitment process.
Another recommendation would be the amendment of the Federal Skilled Workers Program so that it can meet the exact needs of the labor market. The proposed revisions should evolve around the point based system of assessment.
For example increasing points given to young applicants within the working age, people who have family connections in Canada, creating mandatory language tests for all the immigrants that come from countries that do not speak French or English and at least fast track the applications of those that have received job offers within Canada.
Also additional points should be awarded to those immigrants who intend to work in sectors that are experiencing labor shortages. These amendments will encourage more people to apply for the recruitment and at the same time pinpoint the skills that are required by the various sectors while avoiding entrance of those that have undesirable traits (Knowles, 2007).
According to a Maytree publication, Canada should also work towards the elimination of the Low skill Pilot Project (2009). This was an initiative that was introduced by the federal government in a bid to allow in temporary low skilled workers into Canada. However, this has been a basis for exploitation and abuse especially for the women who are at this category.
If something is not done soon, the program may end up being part of a bigger problem as human rights launch investigations to clarify this. If the total elimination is not a possibility, then they can formulate another program similar to the Live-In Caregiver Program which has a mechanism that facilitates the transition to leaving in Canada permanently.
To assist in doing this, employers should endeavor to advertise these low skill jobs to the citizens and immigrants that are within Canada. This will reduce exploitation because as a result of permanency, they have a right to these jobs and are protected by laws against any form of discrimination or exploitation.
As is the case with all countries that imports skilled labor, these immigrants upon arrive and after the accreditation become the responsibility of the federal government. Therefore, the government should ensure that they provide ample support and directions to all the provinces that hosts immigrants so that they can be able to effectively monitor and help these immigrants quickly settle in their selected environment.
In addition to this, they should ensure that the working conditions are favorable and equal among the locals and foreigners. If this is done, Canada will reap off a lot in terms of both economic and social benefits because the immigrants will continue flowing in due to such incentives and also fully utilize their potential in their areas of expertise with ease and freedom of both body and mind.
The key to successful marketing lies in the techniques used to inform the public about the product in question. Canada has been engaged in “marketing” ventures over the years but more needs to be done on the international scene if Canada is to compete fairly with other nations for the skilled labor.
For this to work, the Canadian government should start expanding their coverage areas to include more countries and also to provide more overseas services in those countries so that they can reduce time wasting and prepare the immigrants from their safe zone. So far, the government has been offering information about the qualifications, the job opportunities and other requirements.
This is not enough and as Omidvar (2006) suggests, the government should also incorporate services such as beginning the assessment program from the immigrant’s home country, or employment recruitment from the same.
This services if provided will encourage more people to apply because it minimizes the complications that arise when the same is done on Canadian soils. For example, Lack of enough money or lack of a accommodation for a prospective immigrant as he/she seeks for work or even applies for recruitment have been know to be major contentious issues for most people.
Finally, the government needs to create accreditation policies that cater for potential investors separately from other immigrants. They should ensure efficiency in time management while clearing potential investors. Also, they should dedicate the available resources to investments that will yield positive results to the Canadian society and economy.
This is important because these investments will protect the immigrants from total poverty all the while creating opportunities for them and the country to grow (Magill, 1997). This can be done by reducing tariffs to those investments that have high potentials of thriving in Canada and those that have high demand of foreign human capital.
The immigration phenomena is common place in most developed countries and while it may be seen as beneficial, dire consequences may follow if it is not controlled in some manner by the use of effective policies. This paper set out to argue that the Canadian accreditation policies are mostly beneficial to the country both socially and economically.
From this paper, a brief history of the Canadian accreditation policies have been offered to father assist in envisioning where Canada has come from. The advantages and disadvantages of economic immigration have been provided and an analysis of the current policies given.
It is evident from the discussions presented in this paper that Canada needs some reforms on its present policies. As a result, favorable recommendations have been made as to how best Canada can capitalize on the opportunities that are associated with immigration.
Today, Canada’s need for immigrants remains as strong as ever. This is mostly as a factor of the aging population and the low fertility rates which are prevalent among most Canadian’s.
So as to safeguard the country’s future as one of the world’s power strongholds, the government should implement policies that will encourage immigration into Canada. This will ensure that the country continues to enjoy the economic benefits that spring from this sector thus securing Canada’s future.
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