Stricter Residency Requirements: What is the Fear behind the Reason?

Commencing year 1990 immigration levels reached to approximately 250,000 per year in Canada. In fact it has been contended that Canada’s intake is has been the highest in per capita terms. It has also been contended that high intake had major negative economic consequences for Canadians who are looking for work. In fact, it has forced many of Canada’s own unemployed to compete with immigrants for limited number of jobs available. Another contentious issue is that Canadians feel that this has raised diversity to the levels of ethnic cleansing and re-colonization.

Economic Validations to Citizenship Ramifications

Two aspects of a single question become important to answer. Does Canada require immigrants and are the fears well founded on empirical evidence?

Let us consider the first part. Survey by Canada’s Federation of Independent Business stated that one out of 20 jobs remains unfilled because of insufficiency in skilled labour. This represents approximately 250,000 to 300,000 vacant jobs in small and medium-sized businesses alone. It was precarious situation for employers looking for skilled workers. Reportedly, approximately 7.7 percent of jobs are untaken in infrastructure development and was closely followed by agriculture and business services. Personal services and medical care are at about 3.8 per cent. The greatest requirement was reportedly in Manitoba, Ontario and Alberta.

It is but obvious that immigrants to Canada would now look forward to settling down permanently and not leave the country after earning. This is also not in the interest of Canada. Earnings should be spent within the country. If there is doubtful hope of getting citizenship then it is natural to stash away the earnings in the native country by the immigrant. Now does that help? According to CIC’s 2012-2013 departmental performance evaluations, citizenship grants were way below target. Only 106,353 people were conferred citizenship despite plans to grant it to as many as 214,944 people. Now is there a necessity to make it even tougher by increasing the threshold of residency requirements other than local sentiments and popularity vote?

The Canadian government has been cracking down on fraud in reported physical presence in Canada for renewals of Permanent Residence Cards and for the granting of Canadian Citizenship. Absolutely essential and must be met with permanent debarring of grant of citizenship to those individuals and treated with immediate deportation, if required.

Every single region is gaining residents because of immigration, and parts of eastern Canada have seen a turnaround because of forceful immigrant recruitment. Newfoundland and Labrador is no longer shrinking, and both Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick have picked up considerable speed. This has happened in the face of Canadians migrating westwards. The balance has been created because of the immigrants. Canada does require immigrants not only for economic progress but also for a balanced growth. The West has a 30.7 per cent share of the total, compared to 30.6 per cent in Quebec and the Maritimes.

Unfounded Fears

Local sentiments of losing the touch of ethnicity and dangers of social engineering, is well argued. The numbers could be seen as growing but have the percentage been considered? The percentage can be seen as dropping if we consider the various categories. The percentage of spouses and partners has dropped to 15.3 per cent in 2012 from 18.8 in 2004 and 19.0 in 2007. Similarly, in the family class it has seen a reduction from 29.4 in 2003 to 25.2 in 2012. In fact, there has been a drop in the percentage for almost all categories. The fears may be unfounded for the moment.