Canadian immigration authority earlier announced its three years Immigration Levels Plan as the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis was increasing rapidly.
However, the announcement was overshadowed by the major socioeconomic turmoil that the coronavirus is having in the global arena.
Here at home, Canada, just like many other countries, appears to be heading towards a recession. COVID-19 is collapsing prices of oil globally and these might have negative impacts on Canada’s economy.
Furthermore, weakened economic activities will hurt nearly every sector with certain ones in particular such as hospitality and tourism bearing significant blows.
To prevent the blows, the Bank of Canada announced an emergency reduction to its interest rate, just one week after it had already reduced the rate. They may not be enough, as some economy experts forecast more reduction of interest rate to help Canada’s economy weather the storm.
Beyond the shores of these countries, we have seen the likes of states of emergency, travel bans, cancellation of sporting activities and other exceptional events such as stock market crashes.
Why Canada’s three Years Immigration Plan makes sense despite COVID-19
As this dreaded virus engulfs the world, it is understandable that Canada’s decision to receive over one million additional newcomers over the next three years is not the centre of interest at the moment.
Nevertheless, the COVID-19 crisis can help us understand why immigration will be so important to Canada’s economy moving forward.
While Canada’s economy is gradually sliding into recession, one could make the argument that expanding immigration at this moment is not ideal since new immigrants will be arriving in Canada at a time when the labour market can bearly absorb them.
However, current experiences serve as a reminder that Canada’s immigration policies are mainly proactive in nature, and since the late 1980s, the decision of the number of newcomers to welcome has been mostly detached from economic conditions on the ground.
While Canada welcomes newcomers to help fill immediate job vacancies, its immigration policies are also meant to buildup the country’s economy for many years to come. This means that even if immigrants arrive during an economic meltdown, Canada expects the same newcomers to be driving force to economic growth in the future.
A major reason for this is that all of Canada’s nine million people will attain retirement age by the end of this decade. Since Canada has a low birth rate and fast ageing population, it is depending on immigration activities to drive the majority of its labour force growth.
Labour force growth is one of two major ways to boost the economy, with the other way being to use the labour force more productively and more efficiently.
Hence, it still makes sense to welcome high levels of immigrants even during periods of an economic downturn. While immigrants arriving in Canada in 2020 may face more problems than usual in finding work that tallies with their education, skills, and work experience, they will soon face the prospects of working in a country where the supply of labour will be seriously constrained as more people leave the workforce.
This means that such newcomers will likely see more Canadian employers competing for their services, which would also result in much better employment packages and salaries.
Announcing an ambitious immigration level plan during a coronavirus crisis may not have appeared to be a good timing on the surface, but, in practice, the timing of the announcement will only appear to be irrelevant.
Today’s higher immigration levels, even though we are experiencing a coronavirus crisis and economic down turn, will result in greener economic pastures tomorrow as the influx of immigrants contributes to Canada’s economy as workers, consumers, and taxpayers.