Report recommends next steps immigration policy

C.D. Howe Institute cites unintended consequences of recent changes.

TORONTO — Changes to Canadian immigration policy, including the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program though positive overall, could have unintended consequences that need addressing, according to a C.D. Howe Institute report.

Moving Parts: Immigration Policy, Internal Migration and Natural Resource Shocks notes changes to the TFW program have limited the kinds of workers companies can bring in, made the applications more rigorous, and set an employer-specific cap on the use of TFWs.

Under the previous system, temporary foreign workers were in competition with some Canadian residents, resulting in a major political backlash.

Under the Harper government, a modified points system for permanent immigration and the creation of an Express Entry System rewards workers who have skills that the federal government determines the labour market needs.

But the report finds there may be unintended consequences:

• It will be difficult for international students at Canadian universities to become permanent residents.

• Instead of TFWs being the main source of labour-market competition for Canadian residents, now it will increasingly be new permanent immigrants.

• Lastly, the permanent immigration policy prioritizes skills currently in demand, and that preference may decrease the immigration of workers whose skills may be more important in the longer term.

The Toronto-based research institute recommends:

• Better incorporating recent international graduates of Canadian universities into the permanent immigration system;

• Creating more permanent immigration opportunities for those with skills the Canadian economy may need in the future, although they are not in demand in today’s labour market; and

• Addressing the concern that permanent international immigrants will reduce the incentive for Canadian residents to move among the provinces to seek better opportunities.

Click here for the report.

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