Canada aims to spread Chinese immigrants across country

An aging Canadian population needs more young blood to propel the economy, especially outside of big cities.

VANCOUVER — Canada’s immigration minister says it appears the country needs more newcomers, but as housing prices skyrocket in Vancouver and Toronto his government hopes to lure them elsewhere.

John McCallum recently returned from a trip to China, where he lobbied officials to double or even triple the number of visa application centres in the country in an effort to open more doors for Chinese students, workers and tourists.

He is also conducting a series of consultations across Canada. Speaking after a roundtable of experts and business leaders in Vancouver, he said he’s hearing that the aging population means more young blood is needed to propel the economy, especially outside of big cities.

“We would like to spread the immigrants across the country relatively evenly. The last thing we want is that every immigrant either goes to Toronto or Vancouver,” he said.

The immigration minister’s trip to Beijing comes just before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to travel to China for the G20 summit in September.

McCallum said the government has not yet made a decision on how many immigrants it will propose for 2017. It will announce a number in September, along with figures for 2018 and 2019.

He said Canada was able to settle Syrian refugees across the country, including in the Maritimes and the Prairies. He also pointed to a pilot program to attract newcomers to Atlantic Canada, where he said the need was “desperate.”

However, he acknowledged there are limits to the government’s ability to disperse migrants, as once people become permanent residents they have a constitutional right to move wherever they want.

Foreign buyers, most of them from China, have been blamed by some for surging housing prices in Metro Vancouver. BC recently introduced a 15% tax on foreign buyers, but McCallum said Chinese officials didn’t bring up the levy during his visit.

“I was a little surprised. I thought it might be raised, but nobody raised it and I didn’t raise it with them,” he said.

McCallum said Chinese officials appeared open to his request for more application centres for Canadian visas. Currently, there are only five cities with such centres, and he would like an increase to 10 or 15, he said.

“They didn’t say yes, but they certainly didn’t say no, and they sounded positive,” he said, adding it’s possible an announcement could be made during Trudeau’s visit.

The minister emphasized the need to ease restrictions on Chinese tourists, who make up the largest visitor market in the world and spend an average of US$750 a day when they come to Canada.

Canada is aiming to expand its ties with China on trade, investment and people, said McCallum.

“I wanted to go to China to enhance the flow of people, notably tourists,” he said. “Other ministers will go for trade or investment, and the prime minister will be there in just a few weeks on all of these things together.”

He brushed aside a question on whether he tried to smooth the waters ahead of Trudeau’s visit, as free trade talks between the countries appear to remain frosty because of Canada’s human rights concerns.

“I don’t think he needs waters to be smoothed. I think he will get a very warm welcome from the Chinese government.”

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016
1 Comment » for Canada aims to spread Chinese immigrants across country
  1. Nancy Bogart Franzen says:

    My question to the federal government is ” Why only China? I know personally of people, Friends, from South Africa, Eastern Europe, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa that have been waiting in a range of three to six years to come into this country legally. They still are waiting. Why only China?
    Unionville and Markham are perfect examples of Chinese communities that are doing well financially but have not assimilated in any major fashion. People do not have to speak English because their community is so strong. They do not hire outside their culture. English is not required. Communication is only in Chinese. I sometimes feel like the non speaking immigrant. I know they are a hard working community. Very self sufficient.
    My question truly is why not let the people of Europe that have been waiting for years to come into this country and please give priority in order of asking. These are people that want to assimilate and speak English. Why are they not allowed to be processed before booths are set up in only China? .What is the agenda?
    We have allowed thousands of Muslim refugees into this country according to our Prime Minister . Would it not be possible that these new welcomed people be the ones that could be settled into expanded areas of Canada?
    I am proud to call myself first-generation Canadian. My mother came after the first world war when Canada offered citizenship on the condition that she work for one year at a farm out west when they were trying to expand that population. She came here alone at 16 years old, and after borrowing $200.00 from an uncle in the US., she crossed the ocean at her expense, , the train ride to Western Canada, and upon arrival somewhere outside of Regina was put in a fenced in yard with other young females. They were examined, and her teeth were checked as if she were a horse. She was taken and worked as a farmer’s cook’s helper feeding 28 cow hands breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She learned English on a blackboard from the farmer’s wife. After 1 year she was allowed to go to Toronto and from that point on received no further help financially or in any other way from the Canadian government. She made it in this country and I am proud to say that I have Lithuanian Heritage but I am Canadian.
    My father came after the second world war when Canada offered citizenship on the condition that he work for one year as a lumberjack in Northern Ontario. He was happy to do it in order for the privilege of becoming Canadian. Upon then arriving on Toronto he received no further help or aid from the Canadian Government. He also made it. I as first generation was able through scholarships and help if my parents graduate university in 1972.
    Perhaps we should look at options for people that truly want to assimilate into this country, speak the language and be proud to be Canadian . I am only asking why cannot the Canadian government be open to other nationalities to immigrate to Canada? Please allow those who have been waiting for a number of years already… not just China.
    We also have now have allowed thousands according to Federal government of Muslim refugees. Could we not start the policy of settlement of a greater spread of Canada with these new refugees? As I stated I am very proud to be first-generation Canadian with the heritage of Lithuania. My father was a DP. Which we laughed and called “Delayed Pioneer”.
    These are the sincerest questions.

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