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Immigration and the Canadian Welfare State 2011

Type: Research Studies
Date Published: May 17, 2011
Authors:
Research Topics:
Immigration
This publication provides an estimate of the fiscal burden created by recent immigration into Canada and proposes reforms to existing immigrant selection policies to eliminate the burden. It uses a 2006 Census database to estimate the average incomes and taxes paid on these by immigrants who arrived in Canada over the period from 1987 to 2004. It also estimates other taxes they paid and the value of government services they absorbed.

The study concludes that in the fiscal year 2005/06 the immigrants on average received an excess of $6,051 in benefits over taxes paid. Depending on assumptions about the number of recent immigrants in Canada, the fiscal burden in that year is estimated to be between $23.6 billion and $16.3 billion. These estimates are not changed by the consideration of other alleged benefits brought by immigrants.

To curtail this growing fiscal burden from immigration, the study proposes that temporary work visas be granted to applicants who have a valid offer for employment from employers, in occupations and at pay levels specified by the federal government and determined in cooperation with private-sector employers. Immediate dependents may accompany successful applicants.  The temporary visas are renewable and lead to landed immigrant status if certain specified employment criteria are met.
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