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Post-COVID-19: Impact on Canadian Immigration Policy and Stance.

As the world and all its citizens, irrespective of race colour and creed continue to battle COVID-19 by staying in their homes or working on the front lines in the hospitals and clinics, many countries, including Canada, are working towards a hopeful return to normalcy. But this new normal may be very different from the old. So, will Canada’s immigration policy and stance change post-COVID 19?

Canada’s Immigration Policy and Stance Post-COVID 19: What Is Likely To Change?

Throughout its rich history, Canada has been an open country. It has one of the highest rates of admission of immigrants in the world, despite of the current global challenges around immigration management. Canada also has one of the best integration programs for immigrants in the world. The integration process is done at all three levels of government, and the system is built to deliver clearly defined policy guidelines for the government of the day. This is based on the principle that the successful integration of new immigrants will trickle down and lead to the eventual social and economic success of the country.

But the question many Kenyans and Africans by extension are asking is will Canada still remain as “open” after COVID -19 when international travel eventually resumes and countries begin to reopen their borders? What will change about Canada’s immigration policy and stance post-COVID-19?

These questions are big ones not only for Canada but for many countries around the world which are attractive to immigrants. Many will want to clamp down on immigration and keep their borders closed or extremely tightened as the United States has done in the recent past, temporarily banning immigration into the country. They advance the argument that the spread of pandemics is rooted in cross-border movement of people. It is evident that travel may eventually become more restricted, with enhanced health screening and tighter travel restrictions put in place. There will also be a growing push among “native populations” to limit newcomers out of fear of spreading disease such as SARS and Covid-19.

Canada’s Immigration Policy and Stance Post-COVID 19

Canada’s Immigration Policy and Stance Post-COVID 19: What Can We Expect?

At Student Exchange Africa – having built our experience that spans nearly 20 years, and having witnessed the evolution of several travel trends that were occasioned by similar threats posed by international immigration – our observation is that this state of affairs will remain the status quo for many countries across the globe. Canada, which is the focus of our interest, will naturally be compelled to take a similar stance, or, at the very least, rework its own approach to travel and immigration in light of the new risks and challenges posed by the likelihood of the occurrence of pandemics due to immigration.

The question we seek to answer here, with respect to the Canadian situation is, “Can Canada afford to have less immigration?

Canada’s Immigration Policy and Stance Post-COVID 19: Why Things Are Unlikely To Change.

Looking at the time before Corona, the entire economic model of the Canadian government was based on the need for large numbers of newcomers to help deal with an aging population. Just to bring this fact home with some real case scenarios that have been used in the past. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were roughly 13 seniors per 100 working age people, according to statistics from the Canadian government records. It is expected that by 2036, that number will have more than trebled to close to 40 seniors per 100 workers. The birth rate in Canada is simply not high enough to meet that demand. Experts have stated that Canada will need workers at all ends of the spectrum – from care-givers to scientists and professors, to trade workers, teachers and construction workers. This, in essence, means that immigration and immigrants will need to continue to be part of the solution for Canada to thrive, grow and prosper. This has not changed just because of the Covid-19 threat.

Canada has always put in place strong social protection mechanisms to safeguard its economy and so another issue that the Canadian government is going to grapple with into the foreseeable future, at all levels, is the spending that is running into billions of dollars to help families struggling with job losses, to help charity organizations provide much-needed services on the front lines and to support businesses that have limited or no demand for their services due to Covid-19. From the trend going on around the world and depending on how long the COVID crisis lasts, Canada could top over $120 Billion to the national debt. Who will pay for all these if almost 30% of the population is hurtling towards 65 years and older? One logical way would be to continue to welcome newcomers so they can expand the economy to pay the debt, fill essential jobs and generate a constantly growing tax base to pay for severely stressed social programs.

Canada’s Immigration Policy and Stance Post-COVID 19

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Canada’s Immigration Policy and Stance Post-COVID 19: Preparedness Will Be Key.

The Corona virus has shown that to come out better on the other side there is need for a concerted global effort. While it is true that countries should focus on their own individual issues post-Corona, it is becoming painfully clear that a united, global response may work more effectively in the long-term. What affects one country may or could affect another. There is need for global action to deal with such large and ever-present threats to humanity. A system of closed borders may eventually stop the spread of viruses like this one, however, there is need for international cooperation to build preparedness and resilience in dealing with the next pandemic which isn’t beyond the horizon.

That Canada’s immigration policy and stance post-COVID-19 may not shift entirely is unimportant. That pandemics will likely occur again in the future is a foregone conclusion – it is no longer a question of whether this will happen again but rather when it will happen again and how bad will it get! All governments in the world need to be prepared. As prospective immigrants, we also need to be prepared. We need to be privy to what is happening out there. We need to get our papers in order and to organize our affairs early in order to effectively position ourselves. We need to do the necessary assessments to get a clear vision of our pathway(s) into Canada and what they look like. We need to understand global labour market trends and the opportunities that we can access in Canada. Let’s get ready once Covid-19 is behind us so that we can be first off the blocks when the new normal is upon us!

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