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WES Weekly Roundup March 27, 2024

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World Education Services (WES) is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to helping international students, immigrants, and refugees achieve their educational and career goals in the United States and Canada. The weekly roundup includes research, stories, and events of interest to the Canadian immigration and settlement community. This content has been created by WES and is reproduced here with their permission, in partnership.

With move to limit temporary residents, Ottawa is ‘attacking the demand curve now’ (Globe & Mail)

The Canadian government, under the initiative announced by Immigration Minister Marc Miller, plans to cap the number of temporary residents to alleviate pressure on the housing market and combat inflation. This strategy seeks to lower the ratio of temporary residents from 6.2 percent to 5 percent of the total population over the next three years, effectively reducing the current count of 2.5 million temporary residents by about 20 percent. This unprecedented step, given Canada's history of not setting targets for temporary resident admissions, responds to concerns about the nation's capacity to integrate these individuals amidst strains on housing and healthcare. Economist Robert Kavcic of the Bank of Montreal sees this policy as a prompt way to reduce housing demand, a faster solution compared to the time it takes to increase supply. The initiative addresses issues arising from rapid population growth, driven significantly by temporary residents, and its impact on resources, despite the recognized need for immigration to counter labour shortages and an ageing population. The government will also adjust the Temporary Foreign Worker Programme, reducing the quota of low-wage temporary foreign workers that certain sectors can employ from May 1, sparking unease in industries facing significant job vacancies, like food services. Critics advocate for a strategy linking economic immigration to clear, measurable objectives, to gauge the effectiveness of immigration programmes. These policy changes aim to balance the number of temporary residents with Canada's economic and social capacity, fostering sustainable development.

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You Close Roxham Road, People Are Just Going to Cross Somewhere Else” (The Walrus)

In March 2023, the Canadian and American federal governments announced the closure of Roxham Road, an official border crossing that was considered by many migration policy experts to be a loophole to the joint Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA). Under the STCA, asylum seekers are required to request protection in the first country that they arrive in and at official points of entry. Although various measures, including the extension of the STCA and closure of all unofficial entry points, have been implemented to mitigate the influx of irregular migration, challenges persist. Provinces including Quebec are reportedly 'stretched to capacity' as many settlement service organizations are unable to adequately respond to the exponential growth of newcomers arriving. While land crossings began to dwindle, asylum claims made at local airports tripled, leading to roughly the same figures, when comparing April 2022 to April 2023. Humanitarian concerns are also rising to the forefront, as many migrants continue to seek out other entry points that may be even more precarious, leading to increased exposure to human trafficking, smuggling and other human rights abuses. Advocates argue that closing doors is simply not the solution, and that Canada must develop a plan not only to regularize the status of migrants but to prioritize the well-being and safety of those seeking haven in Canada.

Life in Canada is 'more expensive' than most immigrants expected, new poll finds (National Post)

A new research study released from Leger highlights that many newcomers are experiencing more financial strain than previously anticipated upon moving to Canada. This is due largely to challenges in navigating access to employment and not having local or Canadian work experience. Nearly 38 percent of employed respondents noted that they were unable to find a job in their field, while 60 percent note difficulty in finding jobs a result of a lack of credential recognition. In this case, many highly skilled and educated immigrants (holding a bachelor's degree or above), with years of relevant experience, are pushed into working survival jobs in order to support themselves and their family. The poll reveals that nearly 84 percent of the newcomers surveyed cite that the cost of living in Canada is significantly steeper than what they expected prior to immigrating, and that 'economic freedom' was a key motivator for their move to Canada. Growing inflation and ongoing affordability continue to cause concern for newcomers and long-term residents alike. Current conditions have pushed many newcomers to consider returning to their country of origin or emigrating to another country in the coming years, if progress is not made.

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