Marc Miller: Canada’s immigration levels to remain steady or continue climbing
Since becoming Canada’s new Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Marc Miller has made his initial public remarks through interviews with RedFM Canada, CBC Radio Canada and Bloomberg News.
These interviews give us some insight into his mindset as it relates to some key areas of the Canadian immigration landscape.
Current immigration levels and the value of increased immigration to Canada
Minister Miller has said that he views immigration as a key to addressing labour shortages across Canada, including in industries such as the agricultural trades and healthcare.
Immigration, says Miller, is important to help “build [Canada], to make [it] a better place … [and] to make sure that our economy is thriving.”
Speaking further to the importance of immigration to this country, Miller emphasizes that immigration helps Canada combat the country’s aging natural population. For that reason, IRCC’s plan is to either keep immigration levels the same or continue raising them over time.
“I don’t see a world in which we lower [immigration targets], the need is too great … whether we revise them upwards or not is something that I have to look at but certainly, I don’t think [we will] lower them.”
The state of economic immigration and Express Entry
Economic immigration has, and will, remain a priority for Canada. Noting that around 60% of immigration to this country is currently “economically directed”, Canada’s new immigration minister has made it clear that IRCC’s intention is to maintain this level.
At the same time, Miller does acknowledge that the processing times for economic immigrants across Canada are not where IRCC would like them to be. He says that the government is working hard to streamline processing times in the future.
On the topic of Express Entry and, more specifically, IRCC’s new category-based draws, Miller said that the federal government is focused on making sure that Canada quickly brings in skilled immigrants who work in key trades needed across this country.
Addressing international student fraud
In light of the recent national focus on international student fraud, including the case impacting some 700 international students across Canada, IRCC recognizes that they need to tackle this issue head-on.
Miller understands that the current visa process for international students across Canada has led to “integrity challenges”, which have caused a great deal of angst for some people looking to pursue higher education here. International students are being provided “false hope”, in Miller’s words, and they are sometimes not able to follow through on their ambitions in this country because they are being misled.
To this end, IRCC understands that it must do a better job of protecting international students coming to this country by ensuring that fraudulent actors cannot take advantage of people who are simply looking to make a better life for themselves through a Canadian education.
Pushing back on the connection between housing challenges and immigration
According to Miller, immigration is not the reason that Canada is facing housing supply challenges across the country. Therefore, Miller takes issue with the fact that immigrants are often blamed for taking away homes from Canadians and causing housing inflation.
In reality, Miller argues that this conversation is often a lot more complex.
“Certainly, the doubling or tripling of home equity values or the cost for someone … to buy [a home] has increased … has very little to do with immigration”.
In fact, Miller tends to push back on the connection between housing supply issues and immigration by further emphasizing that the solution to some of Canada’s most pertinent problems, including housing supply, may be found in immigration itself.
“If people want dental care, health care and affordable housing that they expect, the best way to do that is to get that skilled labour in this country.”
The future of immigration in Canada
In an effort to reassure both Canadians and incoming immigrants, Miller reaffirmed his commitment to fairness and compassion as Canada’s new Immigration minister.
IRCC is cognisant that Canada’s immigration system is not without its flaws. This is particularly true with respect to foreign credential recognition in Canada. In fact, Miller acknowledges that it is unfair that incoming immigrants are sometimes made to sacrifice the hard work and experience developed in their trained professions from back home.
To this end, Miller says that it is important for Canada’s federal government, alongside Canada’s provinces and territories, to engage in open conversations about the proper regulation of professions in this country – because immigration, again, is core to Canada’s past present and future.
“I'm here to be part of a government that is open fair and compassionate about our immigration system. This is the future of the country, the future face of the country, and [I’m] happy to be a part of it.”