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Both Canada and the United States face labor shortages. A country increases immigration.

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In barely a decade, there will be one retiree for every two workers in Canada. To address looming labor shortages, the Government of Canada announced a new target in November to accept 1.45 million immigrants by 2025, 60% of whom are trained in health care and other skills. urgent professional skills.

Meanwhile, in the US, similar immigration legislation has stalled as Republicans block Democratic efforts to spur an influx of skilled workers until more is done to secure the US-Mexico border. .

While the United States has nearly 10 times the population of Canada, the United States welcomed the same number – approximately 275,000 – of employment-based legal immigrants in fiscal year 2022 as Canada now plans to welcome every year for the next three years, according to data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Canada’s new policy writers.

In the last session of the US Congress, which ended in December, bills aimed at increasing the number of foreign-born entrepreneurs, highly skilled workers, microchip makers and agricultural workers not all got enough votes to become law. The Farm Labor Modernization Act, the only one to come out of the House of Representatives, was opposed by 30 Republicans and one Democrat. It has still not been submitted to the vote of the Senate.

Meanwhile, Canada’s two largest national political parties, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ruling Liberals and the opposition Conservatives, both describe themselves as pro-immigration. Trudeau’s new immigration target, which aims to not only open more avenues for refugees and low-skilled workers but also attract highly-skilled workers in sectors like health care and technology, is benefiting from support. broad support.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, center, shakes hands with Ahmad Najib Wahidi, left, and his 14-month-old daughter, Harir Wahidi, right, and mother Marghana Elyaskhil, center, as he meets families who have resettled from Afghanistan at the Eastern Food Market in Hamilton, Ontario on May 6, 2022.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, center, shakes hands with Ahmad Najib Wahidi, left, and his 14-month-old daughter, Harir Wahidi, right, and mother Marghana Elyaskhil, center, as he meets families who have resettled from Afghanistan at the Eastern Food Market in Hamilton, Ontario on May 6, 2022.Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP File

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., then chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, introduced two bills to increase employment-based visas, but neither was passed. adopted by the House.

While pushing for change, Lofgren drew a direct comparison between policies in the United States and its northern neighbor. In a hearing she titled “Oh Canada! How America’s Outdated Immigration Policies Push Top Talent to Other Countries,” Lofgren said, “The last major overhaul of our legal immigration system was in 1990. Meanwhile, other countries, like Canada, have made great strides in building flexibility and recruitment incentives into their systems to attract highly skilled immigrants, including those we cannot accommodate.

His Republican counterpart on the committee, then a ranking member, Rep. Thomas McClintock of California, echoed what many Republican opponents have said in response to such proposals: that until the Biden administration does more to combat illegal migration at the southern border, legislation to reform even legal immigration channels should not be considered.

“The recurring theme we hear from the left is that despite these jaw-dropping (cross-border) numbers and despite the impact on American families as the job market is flooded with low-wage illegal immigrant workers, we must encourage even more mass migration,” McClintock said.

Both Canada and the United States face labor shortages. A country increases immigration.

In the North, Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said the need for more labor is so obvious that the issue is not as contentious, and nativist arguments, like Canadian jobs belong to Canadians, just don’t carry much weight.

“It comes from a place where we believe Canada needs more people. We need it for economic reasons. We need it for demographic reasons. And it will help make our communities livelier and more vibrant places to live,” Fraser said.

Yet many jobs remain unfilled. Brenda Perkins-Meingast, senior director of nursing strategy at the University Health Network in Toronto, said her hospital network is 400 to 500 nurses short of what it needs.

“We’re in a health care crisis right now and a major nursing shortage, so we really had to be creative and innovative,” Perkins-Meingast said. University Health Network launched a program this year to attract more internationally educated nurses and help them get the additional training they need in Canada.

New immigrants to Canada and new Canadians participate in the 5th annual Newcomers Day at Nathan Philips Square in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, May 16, 2019.
New immigrants to Canada and new Canadians participate in the 5th annual Newcomers Day at Nathan Philips Square in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, May 16, 2019. NurPhoto via Getty Images file

Rebecca Shi, head of the immigration advocacy group American Immigration Business Coalition, says both the top and bottom sectors of the US labor market are likely to suffer in coming years without an increase in the number of foreigners. workers that employers can hire. She said without more farm workers, the price of food will continue to rise and affect American families.

“At some point there will be consequences if they continue to play politics,” Shi said. “The reality is that we could soon become an importer of milk, which would lead to higher prices and could lead to food insecurity.”

In a statement, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said they are “committed to administering the legal immigration system fairly and efficiently, increasing access to eligible immigration benefits , to rebuild faith and trust with immigrant communities, and to break down barriers in the immigration system, and the agency will continue to deliver on America’s promise as a nation of welcome and opportunity with fairness, integrity and respect for all those we serve.”

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