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Canada's growth depends on immigration

Jamaica To Canada

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

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Dear Mr Brown,

I recently read an article in a local newspaper about the High Commission of Canada confirming that Jamaican women (over 6,000 in the last four years) are heading to Canada (mostly Toronto) for job opportunities. I am also interested in going to Canada, but I wanted to know whether you believe this trend will continue or if Canada will become saturated.

— BF

Dear BF:

Many Jamaicans wish to migrate to Canada, both men and women. There is an alarming social phenomenon in which the gap between women and men is widening at the post-secondary level. Personally, I have noticed it at all college and university campuses in Jamaica that I have visited since the early 2000s.

As a demographic group, I am not sure what the men are doing, but women are certainly outperforming them in terms of educational attainment. That said, a good strategy for migrating is through studies because of the benefit of Canadian experience (certification and work experience).

I send many students from Jamaica to Canada each year, mostly to the Toronto area, — the vast majority of whom are women, which may lead to a corresponding gender bias for Jamaican migration to Canada. Of course, this is my personal observation as I have not sought any scientific data pertaining to the observed gender bias, but my experience of sending students to the top schools for over nine years confirms this.

Additionally, I do represent schools in different parts of Canada and I see the trend continuing for several reasons. Toronto is one of the best cities in the world so it will always be the most popular destination. Also Canada has a (relatively) small population and an ageing workforce.

Immigrants make up approximately 22 per cent of Canada's population. Immigration currently accounts for 71 per cent of population growth and as much as 90 per cent of labour force growth in recent years. By 2034 it is expected to account for 100 per cent of Canada's population growth, as the number of deaths will exceed the number of births.

A recently published report has predicted that if immigration ceased, by 2040 Canada would experience:

• A shrinking labour force;

• Weak economic growth;

• Tax increases;

• Greater challenges funding social services;

• A rapid ageing population, where approximately 27 per cent of the population would be 65 and over, compared to 22.4 per cent with a gradual increase in immigration.

Economy

The report looks at two scenarios, namely:

1. The potential impact on Canada's economy should the flow of immigrants into the country stop entirely or be dramatically reduced; and

2. The results of raising immigration levels to one per cent, up from 0.8 per cent in 2017.

The shrinking labour force, lower local demand, and looming tax increases would also lower levels of business investment. Canada's GDP growth is expected to grow by an average of 1.9 per cent in the decades to come, with a gradual increase in newcomers. But without them, that growth would slow to 1.3 per cent. As a result, the report recommends boosting Canada's immigration rate to one per cent of the total population, up from 0.8 per cent in 2017.

Pro-immigration sentiment

The Government of Canada is expected to maintain security at Canada's borders and monitor opportunities and social services, as well as address anti-immigrant sentiment in order to promote efforts to maintain public support for its immigration system.

In addition to supporting economic activity across the country, bringing in young, working-age immigrants also helps address the issue of Canada's ageing population. Many immigrants come in at a fairly young age, and they have many years of work ahead of them. As such, in response to your question, I do not believe that Canada will become saturated as their growth depends on immigration.

Please visit jamaica2canada.com for additional information on Canadian Permanent Residence programmes, including Express Entry, The Study and Work programme, Visas or Appeals, etc.

Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC, is an immigration counsel and an accredited Canadian education agent of JAMAICA2CANADA.COM — a Canadian immigration and education firm in Kingston. Send questions/comments to jamaica2canada@gmail.com.

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