Canada is expected to admit between 240,000 and 265,000 as permanent residents with the expectation that they will be contributing to Canadian economy. The aim is to address economic growth through the labour market requirements. In consonance with immigration levels plan and commitment of the Government of Canada the percentage that is expected to contribute to economic growth per se is approximately 61% with a figure of 164,500 immigrants. Family accounts for 26.1% at approximately 68,000 members and humanitarian grounds admittance at 10.9% with a number of 28,400.
With a general estimate the average intake every year for the last two decades has been 250,000 per year. There is a popular sentiment against admitting permanent immigrants at a rate of about 684 per day out of which approximately 82 are claiming refugee status every year.
The argument for allowing immigrants is Canada’s birth rate of around 1.67 children per mother which is generally lower than the figure of 2 that sustains natural population replacement in Canada. Many fear that Canadians should not be reduced to a minority in their own country. Now, this is a valid sentiment and cannot be brushed aside.
However, economic growth is an important factor that the government has to consider and the immigrants are expected to contribute in this growth as also their offspring who are to repay the fiscal burden their ancestors created. However, available empirical evidence indicates that not only is this not fulfilled but additionally an average immigrant pays lesser taxes. There are several compensatory factors and special assistance in terms of settlement that have indirect monetary benefits.
Subsequently, if these immigrants get their parents and grandparents to immigrate then they reduce the average earning per family as the total and average earning capacity of the family tend to be lower and the capacity weaker.
The government took several measures to address the above issues and one of the outcome resulted in the moratorium on immigration visas during the last two years that have been partially relaxed. In a general assessment a plausible way of addressing the issue would be to carefully evaluate the selection process of immigrants which is based on points system. This system may seem objective but may also require an assessment as to what it is delivering in terms of income benefits and growth of the economy.
The choice of suggested rationale and possible modifications will involve several contentious issues and counter interests of many groups. However, those problems can be overcome with explicit economic analysis and that seems to be not available in the public domain to justify the levels of annual immigration. A pragmatic cost benefit analysis will go a long way in setting aside anxieties in economic terms; however, worries on cultural impacts will need stronger arguments to transcend questions on social implications.