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by workincanada

Immigration target hits 25-year high

"Immigration target hits 25-year high"
Move aimed to address labour shortages, but critics say backlog also needs fixing
The Globe and Mail Nov 1, 2006

"Immigration more than numbers game"
Tronto Star Nov. 4, 2006



Immigration target hits 25-year high
Move aimed to address labour shortages, but critics say backlog also needs fixing

MARINA JIMÉNEZ

IMMIGRATION REPORTER

Ottawa has increased its annual immigration target to the highest level in 25 years, and aims to accept between 240,000 and 265,000 newcomers in 2007 -- human capital needed to fill Canada's "extraordinary" labour market requirements, Immigration Minister Monte Solberg says.

Mr. Solberg also acknowledged that Canada's current immigration model is flawed and pledged to introduce changes to address the enormous backlog of 800,000 applicants, as well as to adjust the selection process so that skilled tradespeople can qualify to come here.

"We were built on immigration and we think it wasn't just important in the past but is critical to the future," he said in an interview. "The numbers are big because we think they'll help the country."

The minister's annual report to Parliament, tabled yesterday, noted that Canada is on track to accept the high end of this year's target of 225,000 to 255,000 immigrants. There were 262,236 accepted in 2005, a higher-than-projected number. About 60 per cent of these are economic immigrants and their dependants (including skilled workers, those sponsored under provincial nominee programs and live-in caregivers), while the other 40 per cent are family members and refugees. In 2007, Ottawa aims to accept 15,000 more economic immigrants than it did last year, and will freeze the number of grandparents and parents at between 18,000 and 19,000.

The top source country for immigrants continues to be China, which represented 16 per cent of all newcomers in 2005, followed by India (13 per cent), the Philippines (7 per cent), Pakistan (5 per cent) and the United States (3 per cent).

Immigration policy analysts and lawyers applauded Ottawa's increased targets, but criticized the report for failing to set out specific solutions to the many problems that threaten to cripple Canada's immigration model, including the backlog, waiting times of four to five years and a selection model that favours white-collar professionals over skilled tradespeople while Canada's economy needs both.

Sharryn Aiken, a professor of refugee and immigration law at Queen's University, said the targets are meaningless "if the government doesn't ensure the tools to achieve them are put in place."

Added Sergio Karas, an immigration lawyer: "This is the highest level in 25 years. If we are bringing in the kinds of immigrants the economy needs, it is a good thing, but if we're bringing immigrants who cannot find jobs and get their credentials recognized, then we have a problem."

Mr. Solberg stressed the importance of giving immigrants the help they need to succeed in Canada, and noted that $307-million was pledged in last spring's budget for language training and other settlement services, and $18-million for an agency to assess and recognize foreign credentials.

"Obviously the system must be much more responsive to labour market needs than it is today. We are working on that, but not prepared to announce today," he said. "It is important to find a pathway for people who don't have university degrees who want to play by rules and want to make a contribution . . . we want to find a way to get them in and find a pathway to permanent residency."

Last week, Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced it would not support a plan to regularize the status of the estimated 200,000 undocumented workers in Canada, many of whom work in construction. Mr. Solberg said yesterday a program to allow in skilled tradespeople would address that.

Olivia Chow, an NDP MP, said the immigration target should be higher. "We need more immigrants because of our aging population. We need families and young people for productivity and economic growth," she said.

The report noted the comparatively low number of immigrants who speak French. In 2005, only 4.6 per cent of immigrants spoke French, compared with 50 per cent who speak English, despite the fact that Quebec took in 16.5 per cent of all immigrants. Quebec sets its own immigration targets and is in charge of selection. Thirty-six per cent of newcomers spoke neither French nor English.

In 2005, nearly 54 per cent of immigrants settled in Ontario, while 17 per cent went to British Columbia.

Lorne Waldman, a Toronto immigration lawyer, said that the skilled-worker program is in "total disarray" because of the long waiting times, and that he has many clients who decided to immigrate instead to the U.S. "Immigration policy has been completely neglected since the Conservatives came to power," he said.

*****

Immigration changes

Ottawa wants more immigrants and aims to accept up to 265,000 newcomers in 2007 - the highest level in more than a decade. Canada is on track to accept between 225,000 to 255,000 immigrants this year.

2005 immigrant breakdown*

Skilled workers: 130,242 - 49.67%

Business immigrants: 13,469 - 5.14%

Provincial nominees: 8,049 - 3.07%

Live-in caregivers: 4,552 - 1.74%

Spouses, partners, children and others: 50,881 - 19.40%

Parents and grandparents: 12,471 - 4.76%

Government-assisted refugees: 7,416 - 2.83%

Privately sponsored refugees: 2,976 - 1.13%

Protected persons: 19,935 - 7.6%

Dependants abroad: 5,441 - 2.07%

Humanitarian grounds: 6,653 - 2.54%

Permit holders: 143 - 0.05%

No category: 10 - 0.01%

*Numbers don't add up to 100 due to rounding.

Top 10 countries of origin, 2005

China: 42,491

India: 33,146

Philippines: 17,535

Pakistan: 13,576

U.S.: 9,262

Colombia: 6,031

U.K.: 5,865

South Korea: 5,819

Iran: 5,502

France: 5,430

SOURCE: CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION CANADA

************************************

Immigration more than numbers game
Nov. 4, 2006. 01:00 AM

Meaningless target

Editorial, Nov. 2.

The province of Ontario has a huge stake in the federal government's announced increase in its immigration target to 265,000. Especially when more than half of those newcomers will come to Ontario.

For decades, the people and government of Ontario have welcomed and offered support to millions of newcomers with health care, settlement services, public education, and skills and language training.

We know full well the tremendous contributions newcomers have made to the social, economic and cultural vibrancy of our province.

We welcome the target increase and look forward to doing our part in integrating and welcoming all those who choose Ontario. But targets and numbers need to be matched by investments and resources.

Ontario already invests $53 million annually in occupation-specific ESL/FSL programs for adult newcomers, $34 million in bridge training programs for professionals and our ministry of health and long-term care invests $40 million annually in helping internationally trained doctors qualify to practise in Ontario.

Recently we introduced Bill 124, the Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, 2006. This legislation is the first of its kind in Canada, and if passed, the provincial government will have oversight over 34 regulated bodies to help internationally trained individuals overcome barriers to licensing and accreditation.

We cannot continue to welcome and integrate more than 140,000 immigrants annually unless these newcomers receive provincial and federal funding. Since we signed the first-ever Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement in November 2005, the agreed-to $920 million in funding over five years has not flowed to the settlement and language programs in Ontario. The federal government can count on Ontario to do its part in welcoming newcomers, but we cannot do this alone.

These targets are more than numbers. They are human beings from all walks of life, who need meaningful help and support in their transition to their new country.

Mike Colle, Ontario minister of citizenship and immigration
[PR]
by workincanada | 2006-11-12 15:37 | 移民・移住に関する統計等