Immigration Matters: How immigrants are relevant to Canada’s development

Immigration Matters: How immigrants are relevant to Canada’s development

At the end of 2018, the Marketing and Media Department of the Immigration, Refugees, & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) launched the #ImmigrationMatters Campaign, to promote a positive and fact-based public perception of immigration. The campaign was based on the analysis of annual surveys (IRCC has conducted them for the past 25 years!) and focus groups carried out with members of the public across a variety of communities.

The pillars of fact-based communication, storytelling, non-traditional partnerships of the campaign had shown stories of immigrants whose initiatives make Canada a better place for everyone. Such is the case of Javier Bravo, originally from Mexico City, and his online platform where users can send gift certificates that can be used at Peterborough businesses; Igor Bjelac, a Serbian immigrant and his group of volunteers who gather unsold food for people in need in Vancouver (the city with the second largest immigrant population in the country); or Roshni Bahl, who grow up in India and understands how to look after seniors properly.

The campaign’s website contains lots of information regarding stories across Canada,theCanada’s immigration system, and track record. In this last section, the campaign details some facts on how Canada’s immigration system works for both nationals and foreigners. Here are some good inputs to consider when thinking about migrants’ contribution to the destination country:

  • Immigrants contribute to the economy: The Canadian economy is partially calculated by the labour force and their payment of taxes. The more immigrants working, the stronger the labour force gets, especially when the national population is getting older, retiring, and not having as many children as before. The top occupations invited to immigrate under the “Express Entry program” are software engineers and designers, information systems analysts, computer programmers, financial auditors and accountants, as well as advertising, marketing and public relations professionals.
  • Immigrants deliver and improve the health and social services: Many immigrants arriving in Canada are young and pay for the health system more than what they need its benefits. According to the Canadian Council for Refugees, the cost of healthcare for a refugee or refugee claimant, is the 10% of is usually invested in a Canadian. This lower use of the healthcare system is known as the “healthy immigrant” effect.
  • Immigrants integrate fully into Canadian society: Did you know that about one-third of immigrants in Canada have volunteered, and two-thirds are part of social organizations? And the more involved they are with their new home, the more they want to give: According to Statistics Canada, “the immigrants and their descendants who are integrated into a local personal network and participate in community activities, such as religious practices, are more likely to have a higher number of acquaintances with neighbourhood residents, to trust their neighbours and to volunteer.”

The mixed of the immigration system and a sense of belonging results in nearly 85% of the immigrants become citizens after taking a test about Canada’s history and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship: one of the highest naturalization rates in the world.

We invite you to look into more stories and facts by visiting their website, and to share your own experiences on social media about why #ImmigrantsMatters.


How will COVID-19 affect the achievement of the goals of the 2030 Agenda?

How will COVID-19 affect the achievement of the goals of the 2030 Agenda?
Categoria: Migration Governance
Autor: Laura Thompson

 

There is no doubt that the current pandemic has a broad humanitarian, social and economic impact in the short, medium and long term, which in turn may affect or delay the achievement of many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at different levels and in various ways.

The most evident impact, obviously, is on Goal 3, which seeks to guarantee a healthy life and promote well-being. The pandemic has put enormous pressures on health systems not only in relation to the treatment and management of the virus, but also affecting the ability to care for patients who have other diseases and increasing the risk of complications in populations with compromised health states. The pandemic has given greater visibility to the importance of universal access to health systems regardless of people's migratory status. However, the pandemic will also have implications for other aspects of the 2030 Agenda.

 

Impacts beyond health

COVID-19 is also having a negative impact on the employment, economic and social situation of many households around the world, and on their ability to meet their needs, even the most basic ones. The economic crisis that the countries of the region are facing and the growing unemployment will be decisive in this regard, since apart from the pandemic, Latin America and the Caribbean reached an unemployment rate of 8.1% at the end of 2019, according to the International Labor Organization. And according to ECLAC projections, labor unemployment will rise to 11.5% in the same region, as a result of the contraction of economic activity by COVID-19.

Unemployment and the loss of purchasing power affect more severely migrant populations, since they are very often employed in the informal sector of the economy and have more precarious contractual working conditions, particularly women migrant workers. In the case of Latin America and the Caribbean, informal work engages around 50% of the total number of people employed. The increase in unemployment will impact the scope of Goal 8 (on full and productive employment and decent work for all), but also Goal 1 (the fight against poverty), Goal 2 (the eradication of hunger, food security and better nutrition), Goal 5 (gender equality and empowerment of women and girls), and targets 5.2, 8.7 and 16.2, on trafficking and exploitation of people. ECLAC also emphasizes that Latin America and the Caribbean is already suffering a fall of -5.3% in GDP, the worst in its history.

Likewise, this pandemic could accentuate existing inequalities in societies, as well as the vulnerabilities of certain population groups, and consequently delay the achievement of Goal 10, which seeks to reduce inequalities between and within countries. In this context, migrants are one of those vulnerable groups that have been particularly affected by the pandemic and that are often left behind or forgotten in social protection and economic relaunch plans, or have limited access to them, either because of language barriers or because of their immigration status. All of this despite the enormous contribution that migrant workers make to the operation of essential basic services in many countries, as has become evident during this crisis.

Additionally, a decrease in the amount of international remittances is projected, which, according to the World Bank, would be reduced between 10% and 19.3% by 2020. Remittances are a fundamental component in the economy of some countries in the region, where they can amount to between 5% and 20% of the national Gross Domestic Product. A significant reduction in remittances would jeopardize the ability of many households in those countries to meet their most basic needs and their ability to invest in improving nutrition, education, and reducing child labor, among others, further emphasizing existing inequalities.

Finally, at the state level, due to the economic slowdown we are experiencing and urgent health needs, it is very likely that there will be a decrease in social spending or a reorientation of available resources, potentially at the expense of the more comprehensive vision contained in the Sustainable Development Goals, again affecting the scope of the transversal objectives of the 2030 Agenda.

 

Recovery and SDGs: the same path

But this should not lead us to pessimism and to think that we have lost the fight to achieve the SDGs. On the contrary, it is essential at this time to work together and forcefully to identify the additional difficulties that the current pandemic presents in achieving the 2030 Agenda. We must redouble our commitment and our efforts to ensure that the impact of the pandemic is incorporated into national plans and international assistance, as well as that the different realities and vulnerabilities of some specific groups are incorporated.

For this we must work from now on to ensure the universal attention of the health and education systems; in reducing remittance transfer costs (a topic included in Goal 10), as El Salvador is already doing, creating more resilient and inclusive cities in line with Goal 11 or strengthening forms of regular migration for migrant workers and decent working conditions (Goal 8).

The time is now: all organizations, governments and individuals have an important role in ensuring that the efforts for our Latin American region and the world to recover from the serious effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are aligned with the 2030 Agenda and that we make sure we do not leave anyone behind.