Is Canada set to become an outlier on immigration?
Posted Dec 2, 2022 07:00:00 PM.
Canada is setting its sights high when it comes to the country's latest immigration targets.
The federal government revealed last month a plan to up the number of new immigrants the country brings in each year to 500,000 by 2025, and while that number does seem quite substantial, it's tough to tell on its own.
“What is the total number of immigrants as a percentage of the exisiting population,” said Mikal Skuterud, Professor of Economics at the University of Waterloo. “That's going to give you a better indicator of the absobtive capacity of the economy and it allows you to make comparisons over time and between countries as well.”
So, let's do that.
Skuterud said, with these latest federal targets, Canada has essentially set a goal to hit as high as 1.2 per cent of overall population by 2025, which he said would make Canada a bit of an outlier, comparatively.
“Absolutely, by a huge margin,” Skuterud said. “So the U.S., for example, every year takes in about 0.4 per cent of their population, Australia has also reduced their intake in recent years to below 1 per cent.”
“We ran for many decades at about 0.8 per cent and now we will get to about 1.2 so that's a big difference, these are big changes.”
Skuterud, meantime, very clear to say he does not criticise the numbers themselves — in fact he supports the increased levels — but he does not we do need to be clear about what we're trying to achieve.
“What I worry a little bit is the narrative and the kind of hyperbolic talk about why we need it and I worry that some of that isn't accurate,” he said.
“For sure, this idea that it's absolutely critical for our economy and it's going to increase economic growth, just isn't consistent with the evidence and the beliefs of academic economists who study Canadian immigration.”