Canada has become one of the topmost countries for attracting immigrants from around the world who are looking for a host country that will give them good opportunities. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Canada’s annual immigration flow is now proportionately one of the highest among OECD members, at 0.7 per cent of its population.
In 2011, there were 249,000 new permanent residents, after a record year of 281,000 in 2010. That is not counting the 190,800 temporary foreign workers that were admitted in 2011 as well as the 98,400 foreign students who came to benefit from our universities and may decide to stay and put their skills to use in Canada’s industries. The official per yer number is now being pegged at 265,000, that’s a number to reckon with !
The OECD finds that employment for foreign-born Canadian citizens has gone up since 2008, while it has stalled for native-born citizens. The employment rate for Canadian immigrants in 2012 was the third highest in the OECD. This shows that immigrants are quickly integrating into the labour force and putting their skills to work.
For that matter, it is worth noting that more than 50 per cent of Canadian immigrants are highly educated, putting Canada at the top among the OECD countries. As well, a significant number of the almost 100,000 foreign students visiting Canada each year decide to stay after getting a degree from one of our world-class universities (McGill, University of Toronto, UBC, etc.). Many other immigrants are also looking in Canada’s direction, attracted by job prospects.
One reason why foreign immigrants favour Canada as a destination is the labour mobility it offers. According to its latest Global Competitiveness Report published last month, the World Economic Forum ranks Canada as the world’s seventh most efficient labour market.
High labour-market efficiency means that workers are more likely to be allocated to their most effective use and provided with an environment where they are encouraged to give their best effort. On a macroeconomic level, this also means that the country’s work force is flexible enough to shift workers from one economic activity to another. It also means that there are strong incentives in place for employees, promoting meritocracy and providing equity in the business environment.
Canada’s strong economic performance since 2008 is explained by many factors, including well-capitalized banks, massive public infrastructure spending – and a strong influx of immigrants. Immigration last year explained two-thirds of Canada’s population growth of 1.2 per cent, well ahead of the 0.7 per cent and 0.3 per cent seen in the United States and the euro zone, respectively.
Canada needs foreign talent to sustain the country’s demographic and economic growth, and they have just the labour market to attract it. Canadians need immigration just as much as immigrants need a destination such as Canada. Immigration, as it turns out, is most likely the key to Canada’s prosperity in the near future.