Canadian immigration policy and Canadian nation building
Democracies like Canada, immigration is their most common regulator of the country’s population. Ever since the confederation, immigration policy in Canada have been developed to control and regulate the country’s population growth, provide labor, settle the land and provide financial capital to the economy. These policies also reflect national security concerns of time and racial attitudes in the country (Walsh). After the Second World War, Canada begun to gradually and slowly ease their restrictive immigration policies, this was largely attributed to an increase in demand for labor, booming economic growth and a change in social attitudes (Reitz). Despite the dependence on immigration towards national building, recent research reveal that out five foreign workers in Canada, only one becomes a permanent resident.
This makes the class of workers vulnerable to exploitation. These workers lack any permanent status in Canada hence they are unable to integrate into the Canadian society while contributing their full potential to its development (Fang). In a publication by the CIC, facts and figures 2008, from 2008 to 2004, the number of temporary immigrant workers in Canada had doubled. Over that same five year period, the number of permanent immigrants arriving into the country under skilled workers category decreased. In 2008 alone, the temporary foreign workers in Canada was accounted for at 251,235, this exceeded the number of permanent immigrant worker whose total number was 247,243 during that same year (Reitz). This is the case in several regions in Canada except in few provinces that took the initiative to enforce passed legislation that protects the rights of migrant workers.
Many of these workers are economically exploited, they are subjected to theft of wages, they are imposed on the fees of illegal recruitment while the condition of their visas, forces these workers to depend on their employers on necessities such as healthcare, housing and access to information on the rights ("Daily — Study: How Temporary Were Canada's Temporary Foreign Workers?"). Other workers that were allowed entry via the Temporary Foreign Worker Program have even fallen victim of human trafficking. Several documented cases of abuse and exploitation of migrant workers with little to no recourse for these workers have also been reported. More often than not, they are also penalized for any complaints by deportation and by being fired. These temporary workers are also denied any access to any federally-funded settlement services.
Some of the provinces have changed strategy and have provided services to migrants, nonetheless the services are not always bended to suit migrant worker’s needs. Provinces such as Newfoundland, Manitoba and Quebec lack any services to migrant workers (Bhuyan, et al. Additionally, migrants in these provinces lack sufficient access to healthcare services and any information of community, legal and medical services the migrants are entitled to. The migrants work on a daily basis, pay into social benefit programs and taxes that they are unable to lay any claim to (Walsh). The country needs a long-term, effective and human-friendly immigration plan and strategy ("Daily — Study: How Temporary Were Canada's Temporary Foreign Workers?"). The country also needs to move away from its reliance on labor from migrant workers and aim towards granting refugees and immigrant’s permanent status.
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