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Do Immigrants Take Away Jobs?

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发表于 2018-1-3 22:51:29 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Do Immigrants Take Away Jobs?
                                                                                                By Peter T. Lam, RCIC       Translated by Julia Jia   

              Recently, the Canadian government announced that the in-take of immigrants will increase from 300,000 to 310,000 in 2018; 330,000 in 2019; and 340,000 in 2010, This will make up a total of 1,000,000 within the next three years. The figures concern many Canadians as immigrants might take away jobs and have a huge impact on unemployment rate. Canadian citizens and old immigrants will have to face the harsh reality by taking either lower positions or hard labor and low pay jobs. However, the Canadian Parliament has already drawn a clear conclusion about the issue. We do not need to make unnecessary discussions.

              To face the aging population and shortage of technical personnel, in the late 90’s, the Canadian Parliament recommended to accept 1% of the population as immigrants every year, amounting to 360,000. The three-year guideline of immigrants is close to this recommendation. Certain issues were addressed when the recommendation was made, for example, whether new immigrants will take away jobs, and Canada’s absorption capability. This recommendation was supported by the Royal Bank, Conference Board of Canada and Canada West Foundation.

               If it were true that new immigrants take away jobs, the unemployment rate for the locals will increase where immigrants gather. The regions with the highest unemployment rate are the prairie provinces and the Atlantic coast. Yet the proportion of Immigration in these regions are very low. The jobs that new immigrants occupy normally are either in high technology fields or low pay labor positions, e.g. construction, renovation, restaurants, supermarkets, mining, factories, maintenance; real estate, and insurance agents. Locals generally work in fields that require higher language abilities like managing, office clerks, teachers.

               Not only won’t new immigrants take away jobs, but they will create new positions. Many think that businessmen are the engine of creating new positions. In fact, it’s not true. Businessmen aim at accumulating wealth which demands lowering costs on labor. So they cut down positions rather than increase them. However, if there are consumer needs and chances for profit, new positions will be created to promote production. Therefore, the engine for creating new positions are consumer needs. One million new comers in three years are one million consumers. The need for food, sundry articles, housing, automobiles will stimulate supermarkets, real estate markets, automobile and factory productions. The US is more advanced in the study of this field than Canada. We can take it as reference. There is a series of studies showing that one new comer can create 1.2 positions. They are mostly middle positions and taken by locals. Each high-tech newcomer, including scientists, engineers, mathematicians, can create up to 4.6 new positions.

              In April 2016, a survey by Citizenship and Immigration Canada indicates that new comers’ start up businesses more than locals, which creates a lot of new positions. Immigrants start-up businesses usually within the first 4 to 8 years after landing. Due to age, language barrier, non-transferability of degrees or work experience, newcomers who cannot find satisfying jobs tend to start their own businesses. According to statistics in the U.S., the percentage of immigrants who start up businesses is twice as high as locals.

              Mr. L., the son of immigrants from China, considers himself Canadian, which is encouraged by national policy that expects immigrants and second-generation immigrants to integrate. He is young and energetic, and the future is full of promises. He was employed at an international company, but he quit to study for a master’s degree. He couldn’t find employment one year after graduation. He complained that immigrants took away jobs and the government shouldn’t accept immigrants. He was so mournful and indignant that he sounded ridiculous. In fact, he is the son of an immigrant but when you have gone ashore, you do not want to see others going ashore after you.

              Mr. L. lacks knowledge of the Canadian economy. Employment issues are global and occur in every country. Canada is the least developed among G7 and the most developed among the developing countries. Unemployment and under- employment are long standing issues in Canada. Under-employment means the position someone takes is lower than his capability and doesn’t match his/her educational background, work experience, and credentials. In Canada, manufacturing is not well developed, which means she doesn’t require many workers and management personnel. Canada’s economy relies on natural resources. However, natural resource industries including farming, lumbering, mining, fishing, require few laborers. Furthermore, the Canadian economy is a branch plant economy. Many big companies are the branches of US companies. Most good positions are located at head offices and there are not many senior positions at branches. Therefore, there are few positions, and fewer senior positions in Canada. Canada has been suffering from long termed economic weakness and actual unemployment rate is normally around10%. To hide the high real unemployment rate, the government only announces seasonally adjusted unemployment rates. They use the average unemployment rate of a season as baseline and announce what is above the baseline.         

             To completely solve Canada’s unemployment problems, the economic structure must be readjusted. Each federal, provincial and city government has made huge efforts implementing various policies and measures. Increasing in-take of immigrants is not the fundamental solution, but can be an auxiliary. In Canada today, 4.2 people support one retiree. In 2031, every two working persons will support one retiree. There is no reason why we don’t increase immigration to supplement human resources in order to maintain the society that Canada is.
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