Canadians generally recognize that immigration is positive for long-term economic recovery, but want their family members to be given immigration priority.
The coronavirus has reduced the number of immigrants, especially in family sponsorship and refugee resettlement. Family sponsorship declined 78% in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same period last year. The refugee rate was the hardest hit, down 85%, and economy-class immigration declined by 52%.
About 36 percent of respondents to a recent Association for Canadian Studies survey said family members of people already in Canada should be given priority in 2020. In 2016, that figure was only 30 percent.
Support for prioritizing economy class immigration has remained the same at 27% between 2016 and 2020. The refugee class has seen a significant decline in support, from 29% in 2016 to 16% in 2020.
Compared to other regions, Alberta has been the most supportive of family reunification, with 44% saying it should be the priority. Not far behind was Atlantic Canada (42%) and Ontario (36%). Manitoba and Saskatchewan were combined to obtain results indicating the lowest amount of support relative to other regions (28%), although it was still the highest share relative to other categories of support immigration.
These results were collected from 1,531 Canadians over the age of 18 between July 31 and August 2. Using data from the 2016 census, they were also weighted by sex, age, mother tongue, region, level of education, and presence of children in the household to help ensure a sample representative of the population.
Critics say the Canadian government is not doing enough for family reunification during the pandemic, as many family members are separated due to treatment delays. A petition, led by MP Jenny Kwan, has collected more than 6,000 signatures calling for the creation of a special temporary resident visa to allow spouses and their children to reunite with their Canadian partners. Although the petition received more than enough support to be tabled, it will not be presented to Parliament until after the House resumes on September 23.
When the 2020-2022 immigration levels plan was announced in March, before the coronavirus outbreak, family-class immigration was stuck at targets of 91,000 new immigrants per year. The levels of both the economy class and the refugee class were each expected to rise year by year.
Continuing positive attitudes of Canadians towards immigration
Most Canadians feel positive about immigration, a sentiment that touches all age groups but is most prevalent among younger generations.
Most Canadians say immigration will contribute to Canada’s long-term economic recovery. About 61 percent said immigration would help, 22 percent said it would hurt economic recovery and 18 percent said they didn’t know. Respondents from Atlantic Canada were the most likely to say that immigrants would help the economy (67%). The Prairie provinces were the least likely to respond that immigrants would help the economy in the long run, but the proportion of people who responded positively (52%) was higher than those who said the opposite (26%) and those who don’t know (22 percent).
The Government of Canada is also looking to immigration for the post-coronavirus economic recovery. Recently, Canadian Immigration Ministers met to discuss the future of immigration after the coronavirus, discuss the importance of international students, and attract immigrants to rural Canadian communities.
Reference is taken from CIC News
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