Immigrants to Canada have been costing taxpayers since 1986, and the solution is to base the immigration process on the needs of businesses, a new study from a right-wing think-tank suggests.
Since 1986, the Fraser Institute study reports, immigrants have earned less money and pay less tax than they receive in benefits from government spending. That amounts to an annual cost of $20 billion.
Immigration reforms implemented by the Stephen Harper government have begun to address the problem, the report's author, Herbert Grubel said in a release. In recent months, the feds have cracked down on fraudulent claims and tried to speed up legitimate claims, approve professionals whose credentials align better with Canadian standards and strip convicted terrorists of their citizenship.
But Canada can ensure new immigrants prosper and succeed -- and pose less of a burden on taxpayers -- by selecting them based on the employment needs of the private sector rather than a point system, which is the current method, the report says.
A pre-arranged contract for work in Canada should be the primary criterion, the institute suggests.
The Fraser Institute says economic immigrants -- principals and their dependants -- accounted for the majority (62.8%, or 156,121 of 248,744) of immigrants admitted in 2011.
This does not include refugee claimants, extended family of recent immigrants and others.
The government's role would be in setting visa eligibility requirements like a minimum salary, Grubel suggests in his report.