Immigration policy is once again at the forefront of national attention. Given current demographic trends, Canada like many developed economies, is facing the challenge of ensuring future economic growth while its domestic labour force ages and its growth rate shrinks.
In response, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Advisory Council on Economic Growth has called for an increase in annual immigration by 50 per cent over the next five years, and regulatory change to allow more skilled foreign workers to enter Canada and more foreign students to stay in the country following the completion of their studies. The Council – whose first set of recommendations were presented to the Minister of Finance on October 20, 2016 – asserts these changes are needed to “fully offset the impact of Canada's impending demographic squeeze,” and “to boost economic growth and increase prosperity for all Canadians.”
Response to the recommendations has been mixed. Some policy-makers are enthusiastically embracing the proposal. Others are questioning the viability of attracting the necessary volume of adaptable and employable immigrants. Still others are stressing that more basic questions need to be raised regarding the targeted number and type of immigrants needed. While yet others are stressing that much more attention needs to be dedicated to ensuring that immigrants have an easier process of integration, and that barriers to maximizing their potential and contributing to the economy are removed. These questions are set against the backdrop of a more fundamental debate about the nature of Canadian multiculturalism and our tolerance for diversity.
Over the next year, as part of our contribution to the Canadian conversation on immigration, the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada will explore how different countries in Asia are dealing with their immigration needs and challenges. Our Migration Matters series led by Dr. Eva Busza, APF Canada's Vice-President Research and Programs, along with researchers Valentine Ostaszewski and Amar Nijhawan, will provide a brief demographic profile of each country, describe immigration policies, analyze challenges, and highlight successes. We will touch on themes such as labour migration, diversity accommodation, family reunification, refugee issues, and other issues pertinent to ongoing debates on immigration in each case country. Through this work, we hope to be able to identify lessons learned or good practices from Asia that may help inform the development of future Canadian policies.
To lean more about the countries featured in our Migration Matters series on migration in Asia, please explore the links below.
Migration Matters: Japan
Migration Matters: Malaysia