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Canada and the United States suffer labor shortages, but one of them is committed to increasing legal immigration


The Canadian government plans to accept 1.45 million migrants, many of them low-skilled workers. In the US, Republicans blocked a similar measure in the House of Representatives due to the situation on the border with Mexico.

By Julia Ainsley, Joel Seidman and Didi Martinez -

NBC News

In just a decade, there will be one retiree for every two workers in Canada.

To address looming labor shortages, the Canadian government announced a new goal in November: to accept 1.45 million migrants by 2025, 60% of whom will need to have received health care training and other job skills that they are urgently needed. 

Meanwhile, a similar immigration law in the United States has been stalled as Republicans have blocked Democratic efforts to stimulate an influx of skilled workers until more steps are taken to ensure border security with Mexico. 

[The keys to the temporary permit that the US will grant to eligible migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua and Haiti]

Although the United States has nearly 10 times the population of Canada, in fiscal year 2022 it received the same number — some 275,000 — of legal labor migrants that its neighbor to the north expects to receive each year for the next three years, according to data. the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the drafters of the new Canadian policy. 

In the last session of the US Congress, which concluded in December, bills to increase the number of foreign-born entrepreneurs, highly-skilled workers, microchip makers and farmworkers did not get enough votes to become law.

The Farm Workforce Modernization Act, the only one that made it out of the House of Representatives, was opposed by 30 Republicans and one Democrat.

It has not yet come to a vote in the Senate. 

Rodolfo Lastimosa Jr. is a Filipino immigrant with a master's degree in nursing in his country.

He came to Canada in 2011 under the skilled immigration program.

He also graduated with a bachelor's degree in nursing from York University in Toronto. Steve Russell / Getty Images

At the same time, Canada's two main political parties, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberals and opposition Conservatives, describe themselves as pro-immigration.

Trudeau's new goal on immigration, focused not only on opening more avenues for refugees and low-skilled workers, but also on attracting highly-skilled workers in sectors such as healthcare and technology, enjoys broad support.

California Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, then chair of the House Citizenship and Immigration Judiciary Subcommittee, introduced two bills to increase the number of employment-based visas, but neither passed the House. 

[The United States tightens measures against immigrants who cross the country illegally]

While pushing for change, Lofgren made a direct comparison between the policies of the United States and those of Canada.

During a hearing that he titled “Oh Canada!

How outdated American immigration policies push top talent to other countries,” he stated: “The last major overhaul of our legal immigration system came in 1990. Meanwhile, other countries, like Canada, have made great strides in creating flexibility and hiring incentives in their systems to attract highly-skilled immigrants, including those we cannot accommodate.”

The Florida Keys face record arrival of Cuban migrants in homemade boats

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His Republican counterpart on the committee, then-incumbent Thomas McClintock (Calif.), echoed what many Republican opponents have said in response to such proposals: that until the Joe Biden administration does more to address illegal immigration on the southern border, no legislation to reform even legal migration pathways should be considered.

“The constant theme we hear from the left is that despite these staggering (border) numbers and despite the impact on American families as the job market is flooded with low-wage illegal immigrant workers, we need to further encourage mass migration. McClintock noted. 

[Biden announces permits for Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans.

But they must ask for asylum from their country]

Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said the need for more labor is so obvious that the issue is not as divisive, and that nativist arguments, such as Canadian jobs belonging to Canadians, do not carry much force.

“We believe that Canada needs more people.

We need them for economic reasons.

We need them for demographic reasons.

And it will help make our communities more vibrant and dynamic places to live,” Fraser stressed.

In the image, several Guatemalan immigrants work in a field in Saint Paul, Oregon.

Some pro-immigration groups warn that without more farmworkers, the price of food will continue to rise in the United States. Nathan Howard / AP

However, many jobs remain unfilled.

Brenda Perkins-Meingast, director of nursing strategy for the University Health Network of Toronto, says her hospital network has 400 to 500 fewer nurses than she needs. 

“We are in the midst of a health crisis and a significant nursing shortage, so we had to be creative and innovative,” he explained.

The University Health Network has launched a program this year to recruit more internationally trained nurses and help them get the additional training they need in Canada.

Rebecca Shi, director of the immigration advocacy group American Immigration Business Coalition, says the high-skill and low-skill sectors of the US labor market are likely to suffer in the coming years if the number of foreign workers that can be hired is not increased. Business.

According to her, without more farm workers, the price of food will continue to rise and affect American families. 

[USCIS contemplates raising the cost of residency application procedures by 35%]

"At some point there will be consequences if they continue to play politics," Shi warned.

“The reality is that we could soon become importers of milk and that would drive up prices and could cause food insecurity.”

USCIS said in a statement that it "is committed to fairly and efficiently administering the legal immigration system, increasing access to eligible immigration benefits, restoring faith and trust with immigrant communities, and breaking down barriers in the immigration system, and the agency will continue to uphold the promise of America as a nation of welcome and possibility with fairness, integrity, and respect for all of us we serve."

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2023-01-07

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