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September 11, 2021

Should Canada cut back on its immigration targets?

Although not a popular move in certain quarters and viewed as nothing short of a betrayal in others, Canada still accepts more immigrants per capita than any other developed country.

But can we afford to continue this longstanding practice? Not really, maintains Herbert Grubel, a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute. At least not the way we've been doing it up to now.

Immigrants who've arrived over the past two decades make significantly less money, pay fewer taxes, use more government services and impose a fiscal burden on taxpayers of something like $6,000 a year per recent arrival, he estimates.

Increasing their number further will only lead to higher infrastucture costs for schools and hospitals and a lower standard of living for native-born Canadians. 

That's why we have to make it much tougher to get in, he argues.

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Last year, Grubel authored a paper offered his view on reforming the Canadian immigration system to one that places a much greater premium on employable skills. 

Grubel calls for a system where would-be immigrants with job offers are provided with temporary work visas, valid for two years and renewable for an additional two years upon the presentation of evidence of continued employment.

After four years and continued employment in Canada, the holders of work visas would be eligible for landed immigrant status and for citizenship two years later.

Spouses and dependents of the holders of work visas would be allowed to enter Canada under a program of family work visas, which would allow them to accept employment.

Finally, recent immigrants would be able to have their parents and grandparents join them as landed immigrants in Canada after posting a bond to pay for their health care and other social benefits.

Do you agree with his stance? Would you support such a restrictive approach for would-be immigrants?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...