Immigration woes: Canada makes it too hard for foreign workers

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In the past four years there have been changes to every aspect of Canada’s immigration system, leaving potential immigrants reeling at the ever changing process.

Some changes are positive, but they could still have a dramatic impact on both the social and economic fabric of Canada and how the country is perceived by potential immigrants from around the world, the Maytree Foundation report said.

"Perhaps Canadians have become complacent in thinking that there will always be a long line of people waiting to come here," Naomi Alboim, Shaping the Future: Canada's Rapidly Changing Immigration Policies report co-author and Maytree senior fellow, said. "But we can't take our reputation, or our past success, for granted."

The news coincides with another survey, showing Ontario needed to increase its level of immigration to at least one per cent of its population or 135,000 people per year.

The report from Ontario’s Expert Roundtable on Immigration gave 32 recommendations to improve the province’s immigration strategy.

For the province to prosper and remain globally competitive, Ontario needs more skilled immigrants. The province also must ensure that effective programs and services are available to help improve settlement and integration for all immigrants, the roundtable said.

Competition to attract immigrants is more intense than in the past as other countries are more aggressively courting immigrants and many historical source countries are becoming immigrant destinations, offering greater economic opportunity than they did before.

Ontario is still the top destination in Canada, but the number of “economic immigrants” has steadily declined – from 89,079 in 2001 to 36,939 in 2011. Ontario is receiving fewer immigrants selected on the basis of their human capital — their education, skills and experience — and their ability to integrate into Canada's labour market, which includes proficiency in English or French.

It suggested a partnership between the provincial and federal governments, as well as collaborations with the private sector, education institutions and community organizations.

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