Funny thing about immigration

Everybody in Atl. Canada wants skilled immigrants to move to their city. Funny thing about that is that:

a) the majority of people world wide that are immigrating are lower skilled looking to better their situation by leaving their country,

b) most of the job opportunities that are available right now in New Brunswick are lower skilled jobs (retail, services, etc.),

c) the vast majority of immigration to Canada are lower skilled immigrants (think front desk clerks and cabbies in Canada’s bid cities and

d) there is serious competition for the so-called “highly skilled” immigrants.

Hmmmm.

Look if you need highly skilled engineers at Caris or Whitehill, the government should have immigration programs to help attract those folks but if the vast majority of the need for immigrants is in the lower skilled areas, we shouldn’t shy away from that. Canada was built on the attraction of immigrants with basic or low skills that were looking to better themselves and their families by moving here. There is nothing wrong with taking that same approach here. If a call centre needs 100 workers, maybe we should go to India and bring them here as immigrants (like Manitoba and The Philippines). They’d still make more money here (even on a PPP basis).

It’s so easy to construct in our minds the ‘ideal’ immigrant and then spend our efforts trying to attract them here. But the better approach is to realistic assess the current and upcoming needs and work the strategy that way.

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0 Responses to Funny thing about immigration

  1. Rob says:

    We have hundreds of these “ideal” professionally qualified immigrants moving through our universities each year. I’ve seen how tough we make it for these people to stay in Canada. They have a small amount of time to find work after graduation, and if they don’t find employment, they have to leave the country.

    These students pay thousands of dollars to immigration lawyers and wait in line for months to get a shot at a visa. If we want to increase immigration, let’s help these students who are working hard to stay in Canada and make a living.

    Thomas Friedman has said that every foreign student in the USA who earns a university degree should be given a permanent visa. Let’s start there.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Our universites have lots of young, educated, english or french speaking graduates interested in staying in NB for a good job.

    We need to create opportunities and streamline the process.

    We also have to overcome another problem.
    There is not much motivation to travel to the campus of UdeM or UNB versus China or Korea.

  3. Anonymous says:

    “We also have to overcome another problem.
    There is not much motivation to travel to the campus of UdeM or UNB versus China or Korea.”

    This is an atypical new Brunswicker statement and it is nonsense. It is also part of the problem in how we view ourselves and breeds the age old suspicions of “there is something that doesnt stack up here, why would a big company set up a facility in NB? It stinks to high heaven! They must be up to something!’
    I have been living in Europe for a few years (I wont say where). I moved here to escape being endlessly put down and held back at work (when there was any). Over here I have done very well. Nobody doubts my abilities and my career has blossomed. I am respected, looked up to and my opinions and experience (all gained in NB) are valued and utilized. I could never have accomplished this back home. I was not the only one in my circle to feel this way and I once held the same view as expressed above (why NB? and not China etc). You can take it from me as someone who listens to it on a daily basis there are a lot of people who would give their right arm to move to New Brunswick and settle there. There are a lot of companies who would be interested in operating from there to take advantage of its geographic placement. The problem is that nobody has ever heard of New Brunswick among anyone I have spoken to over here. It has become necessary for me to carry a small map of North America in order to show the doubters that a place called New Brunswick even exists!
    I have been plugging for New Brunswick in all my time over here but there doesnt seem to be a will from the province (in my experience) to embrace outside investment in any meaningful way.
    People are highly mobile now. Canada as a destination is highly sought after. Everyone knows about Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver because they all publicise themselves properly. New Brunswick doesnt.

  4. mikel says:

    I’d sort of agree with both of the above. With few good jobs there is little incentive, yesterday in the paper there was an article about how what few immigrants there are, they use it as a stepping stone. That’s no surprise, I’m here in waterloo and LOTS of professionals use it as a stepping stone to get into the states.

    There are two separate issues there, we simply don’t KNOW how many companies out there MAY want to take advantage of NB’s ‘geographic location’. I’ll say it again, I’m in Waterloo which statscan just said had the best economy in Canada. Virtually ALL that growth comes from ONE company – RIM. Meanwhile, big manufactureres are closing all over the region, and I’ve never seen ONE ‘international company’ set up shop here in the ten years I’ve been here. And Iv’e looked, and southern ontario is certainly ‘internationally known’. So personal experience only counts for so much.

    For universities, that is a good point. I asked a Taiwanese friend why they picked waterloo. Their daughter had gotten into the university of waterloo, and they wanted to come with her. She found a job, while her husband stayed back in Taiwan to work (you think its bad commuting to Alberta). In all these countries they have university fairs to get students, I asked if she saw anything from New Brunswick-the answer was no. She may be an unusual case, but you should see how spoiled some kids are. I know of cases where people have bought homes for their kids while they go to university.

    And there are LOTS of chinese and Indians with money-and a university degree from north america still means a lot more than one from home. That falls back onto the universities. They do have satellite campuses in many of these countries, so we can’t just say they are ‘doing nothing’. But again, its summertime here in Waterloo and being white is very much in the minority in the downtown of waterloo-and these aren’t poor asian gangs. In the local university paper the President of the University pretty much admitted that he wants the university to essentially be a private school for the ‘best students’ around the world.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Just to clarify, the travel reference was a shot at the dozens of ACOA, BNB, Enterprise and Municipal staff that travel and the millions spent on it.