Canada attracts highly skilled immigrants


Last week, the World Bank released a report on “Global Talent Flows” -a review of the landscape of global talent mobility. Here, we comment on the following points presented in the report that caught our attention, such as the labour force, underemployment, recruitment, selection and  emigration.

First, the report notes that “the high-skilled members of the next generation appear to be less tied to any particular location or national identity.” What does that imply? It seems to be a reference to the extraordinary expansion of the International Mobility Program. Will Canada continue in that direction? If so, we’ll see a growing disposable labour force from coast to coast to coast.

Second, the paper points out the fact that in Canada, highly skilled immigrants were not employed in positions commensurate to their education; many talented immigrants ended up driving taxis in Canada. The authors argue that the cause is the way Canada selects its immigrants –who come without an employer/job connection. This point is extremely important because underemployment among skilled immigrants prevails in Canada, so the country and them cannot reap the benefits immigrants themselves are capable of providing. It is also important to note that underemployment statistics of Canadian-born workers and immigrants are needed to set future economic immigration targets.

Third, according to the report, Canada, the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Australia attract 70% of the world’s highly skilled immigrants. In the case of Canada, the authors mentioned that the Canadian government has been very active in targeting skilled migrants, and even cited the case when CIC put ads on billboards in the United States to attract immigrants rejected in the USA. We all know that Canada continuously sends missions abroad to promote the country as a destination for highly skilled immigrants. This point would help understand Canadians and the public abroad why so many immigrants come to Canada… they are invited.

The last point we would like to address refers to emigration. Canada certainly attracts thousands of highly skilled immigrants, but still experiences high emigration flows -mainly to the United States. Including emigration into the analysis is crucial to measure the success of the immigration policy in Canada. We often hear that thousands of immigrants come to Canada every year, but we rarely hear how many highly skilled immigrants Canada retains. The government needs to change its approach and to consider emigration and other demographic trends in the formulation and evaluation of its immigration policy.


World Bank Paper

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