Zero. Zero is the net benefit of immigration to Canada.So it is stated from the Metropolis Conference in Vancouver at the Sheraton Hotel last week. I knew it wasn't great, but zero?
Immigrants lack the skills such as language, and they don't want to go to rural communities. Immigration has become a social program the federal govt should give up. It's not even a good business for the country any more. Depending on a skilled workforce from the Third World for economic growth is ludicrous if you think about it. That's why it's called the Third World, they lag in development there. The economic argument for immigration is dead.
So just how valuable are our immigrants? (external - login to view)
So just how valuable are our immigrants?
By Ethan Baron, The Province March 25, 2011
Federal rural-immigration expert Christine Burton and UBC economics professor David Green participated in Thursday's conference on immigration issues.
Photograph by: Les Bazso, PNG
At a massive Vancouver conference on immigration to Canada, University of B.C. economics professor David Green said what few participants expected to hear.
“The net economic impact of immigration is in fact zero,” Green told the packed Grand Ballroom at the Sheraton Wall Centre on Thursday. “I’m very pro-immigration, but not for economic reasons. If you’re looking at it to be a major driver of economic growth, I think you’re looking in the wrong place.”
Speakers at the Metropolis 2011 conference on Thursday had already highlighted the economic importance of bringing in people from other countries. “Immigration is critical to Canada’s future,” B.C.’s Deputy Minister of Advanced Education Philip Steenkamp had said. “Without action, we know we will face a shortage of skills.”
But using immigration to fill labour-force gaps carries pitfalls, Green told participants, who number more than 1,000 for the four-day conference that started Wednesday evening. Natural market responses to labour shortages, such as pay hikes, can be obstructed when immigration increases the supply of workers and thus reduces wages, he said.
“I would rather live in a society where we pay enough for these jobs,” Green said, adding that he was once chewed out by a German hotel maid, something that would probably never happen in Canada where immigration keeps such workers poorly paid and “lower class.”
Ultimately, the reduction of wages resulting from an immigration-boosted labour supply neutralizes the positive effects coming from employed immigrants, immigrant entrepreneurs, and improved trade links forged by immigrants, Green said.
Green, however, noted after his talk that he was speaking only of first-generation immigrants. Federal-government rural-immigration expert Christine Burton said a longer-term, multi-generational view is essential to understanding the economic value of immigration. “The next generation is very conscious that they’ve been given an opportunity and they need to take advantage of it,” Burton said. “They’re able to access better educational opportunities [than their parents]. They’re able as a result to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities.”
Green acknowledged that children of immigrants likely have a greater positive economic impact than their parents, and said first-generation immigrants to rural areas appear to produce greater positive economic effects than those coming to big cities.
And it is in rural B.C. that there will be perhaps the best opportunities for immigrants in coming years, as seven of 10 small business owners in these areas are 55 or older, Deputy Minister Steenkamp said in a conference plenary session.
Encouraging immigrants to stay in rural communities will be a challenge, Burton said, because those who arrive in such areas don’t tend to stay. “They come to rural Canada, we welcome them, we embrace them, and then they go to the bright lights of the big city,” Burton said.