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    Immigration reflects health of economy Uncertainty leads to decline in Asian immigrants to Toronto; increases newcomers to Montreal Joe Paraskevas CanWest News
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 4 3:14 PM
      Immigration reflects health of economy
      Uncertainty leads to decline in Asian immigrants to Toronto;
      increases newcomers to Montreal

      Joe Paraskevas
      CanWest News Service


      Monday, August 04, 2003


      India has replaced China as the prime source of immigrants to
      Toronto, according to a new study that also shows Montreal has moved
      ahead of Vancouver as the second-most attractive metropolitan centre
      for newcomers to this country.

      Experts have mixed opinions about the significance of the changes.

      Some say they highlight trends, such as how a city's economic
      fortunes influence immigrant numbers, or how national economic
      uncertainty has meant a decline in Asian immigration to Canada and a
      drop in the usually high number of Chinese immigrants to this
      country's largest city.

      But experts agree the report points to new ways of looking at
      immigration's growing economic and political impact.

      "This is the emerging Canadian story, really," Montreal immigration
      lawyer David Cohen said recently.

      "This is the demography of our country."

      A new report by the Association for Canadian Studies, a Montreal-
      based think-tank, looked at figures from Citizenship and Immigration
      Canada and tried to explain a recent overall decline in immigration
      to this country.

      Between 2001 and 2002, national immigration levels fell by more than
      eight per cent: from 250,484 newcomers in 2001 to 229,091 last year.

      But immigration to Quebec actually increased between 2001 and 2002 --
      from 37,523 to 37,627 -- as a result of provincial government
      policies encouraging recruitment, particularly of French-speaking
      immigrants, the study said.

      Without the figures from Quebec, Canada saw a decline of 14 per cent
      in immigration last year over 2001.

      "I think we're probably headed to further declines," said Jack
      Jedwab, executive director of the association, pointing to numbers
      from the first quarter of 2003 that show the number of new immigrants
      was only 45,580 between January and April, compared to 61,524 during
      the same period last year.

      While Toronto remained by far the most popular destination for people
      immigrating to Canada in 2002, Montreal moved past Vancouver into
      second place, showing a jump of almost 700 newcomers -- to a total of
      33,004 -- over the year before.

      The number of immigrants landing in Vancouver declined from 34,234 in
      2001 to 29,922 last year.

      Mr. Cohen attributed the changes partly to declining numbers of
      Chinese and other Asian immigrants put off by the rising cost of
      living in Vancouver, traditionally a magnet for immigrants from the
      Orient.

      Conversely, improving economic times in Montreal may have helped that
      city attract more newcomers, Mr. Cohen said.

      Unusually high immigration from Morocco and Romania helped boost
      Montreal's numbers in 2002, the ACS study said, while the city saw
      its number of Chinese immigrants fall by 20 per cent compared to the
      year before.

      In Toronto, the number of Chinese immigrants also fell -- from 21,476
      in 2001 to 17,854 in 2002. As a result, newcomers from India, who
      grew slightly in number from one year to the next, outnumbered those
      from the People's Republic of China by about 400 people last year.

      A 10 per cent decline between 2001 and 2002 in the number of skilled
      workers coming to Canada and a 25 per cent decline in the number of
      business immigrants -- investors, entrepreneurs and self-employed
      newcomers -- pointed to the lower Asian immigrant numbers, Mr. Jedwab
      said.

      The Orient is an acknowledged supplier of skilled and business
      immigrants to Canada, he added.

      Recent economic uncertainty has left the federal government worried
      about the availability of work for skilled immigrants applying to
      enter Canada, Mr. Jedwab said.

      The result has been a decline in the number of people allowed into
      Canada under that category, a turn of events that has hit Asian
      immigrants particularly hard.
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