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Relaxed Immigration Could Lead To Economic Convalescence In Canada

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Relaxed Immigration Could Lead To Economic Convalescence In Canada

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In response to calls for a reduction in immigration numbers as a means of beating mass unemployment during the recession, Canada should stand tough on a policy that has served the economy well in the past.

GEMMA ALDRIDGE

Immigration and migrant workers could save the economy from ruin in the global recession, says the Conference Board of Canada. President, Anne Golden has come out indefence of the country's immigration policy, which prioritises visa applications from skilled migrant workers.

In response to calls for a reduction in immigration numbers as a means of beating mass unemployment during the recession, she said that Canada should stand tough on a policy that has served the economy well in the past.

The Toronto Star newspaper is backingthe Board, saying that immigration can be extremely helpful in stimulating an ailing economy into recovery.

Many towns in Canada have experienced a large influx of foreign workers over the past 20 years, resulting in fast growing residential and commercial communities. The population of Markham, for example, grew by 80% in 15 years prior to 2006, and now hosts offices to several multinationals including IBM and Honda.

The mayor of the town, Frank Scarpitti says that this would not be possible without the migrant population,who have blessed the community with ''diversity'' and ''entrepreneurial spirit.''

Following the widespread economic crisis, some countries are beginning to withdraw special measures for the immigration of skilled workers and industry professionals, in an attempt to retain high levels of employment during the recession. Australia has already removed accelerated access to visas for migrant workers in the construction and manufacturing sectors, and other countries are expected to follow suit.

The Conference Board of Canada, however, said this week that this kind of knee-jerk response to economic difficulties is nonsensical, as the time-lag involved inaltering immigration policy would result in a lack of incoming skilled workers just when the economy is expected to start recovering.

Golden said that she expects the economy to start recovering in 2010, and immigration cuts now would not be felt until just when the country needs newcomers the most.

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