Since the first wave of Coronavirus hit the leading countries, economic recovery has become a hot topic among various nations. The outbreak of Coronavirus has crumbled the economies of even the most powerful countries. Governments worldwide are taking active measures to revitalize their economies and get citizens back to their everyday lives. Countries like Canada and Australia had also announced stimulus packages at the start of the pandemic to provide tax rebates, boost spending, increase employment, stimulate the floundering economy, and counter the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Out of all-, one measure which is vital for these superpowers is Immigration. This article will discuss how countries like Canada, the US, the UK, and Europe are using Immigration to safeguard their economies in the post-Covid era.
United States of America
America’s reaction to the pandemic was a bit negative in the sense that it immediately made it difficult for immigrants to enter the US. President Donald Trump announced multiple measures and amendments to the existing visas, such as H1B and L1 visas, making it almost impossible for the immigrants to even think of realizing their American dream. The temporary ban of the visas affected the immigrants and various sectors, including technology and education, two main pillars of the US economy.
The uncertainty and the stringent policies around these visa categories have made the US a less attractive immigration destination among international students and skilled workers. Many students now prefer Canada over the US for their education as it is challenging to obtain permanent residency in the US. On the other hand, Canada has immigrant-friendly policies, and getting a permanent residence isn’t that tough.
It is worth noting that America also operates an investment-based employment generation program: EB-5. The programs open the doors of permanent residency for high-net-worth foreign investors willing to invest in the US economy and generate employment for the Americans.
While the US has hardened its borders for immigrants, Canada has opened its hearts to talented workers. According to the latest report, Canada, with a population of just 38 million, granted permanent residency to around 86,000 Indians. The US has only welcomed only 6,000 permanent residents.
As an immigration-friendly nation, Canada has always considered Immigration as an essential ingredient to its economic success. The country follows a point-based system to invite skilled foreign workers and currently runs over 80 immigration programs to attract immigrants who can make valuable contributions to its economy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada introduced various immigration programs and even increased newcomers’ intake to over 1.2 million in the next three years.
In a statement, The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marco E. L. Mendicino, said, “Immigration is essential to getting us through the pandemic, but also to our short-term economic recovery and our long-term economic growth…. As we look to recovery, newcomers create jobs not just by giving our businesses the skills they need to thrive but also by starting businesses themselves. Our plan will help to address some of our most acute labor shortages and to grow our population to keep Canada competitive on the world stage”.
Taking cues from Canada, Australia follows a point-based immigration system to attract the best and the brightest skilled workers worldwide. Migration plays a critical role in fueling Australia’s economy; therefore, the travel restrictions in 2020, followed by immigration quota, have negatively impacted its economy.
Recently, Australia announced the federal budget wherein the country extensively included immigration plans for the upcoming years to counter the effects of Covid-19. Australia has allocated 1 60,000 visa caps for 2020-21. All the programs will focus on attracting talented workers in under-skilled pathways. The government has also increased the allocation for the provincial business innovation and Investment visa from 7,000 to 14 000.
Post-Brexit, United Kingdom is all set to implement a point-based system that will treat both EU and non-EU candidates equally. Priti Patel, UK’s Home Secretary, announced introducing this new system to attract the most talented workers across the world. The UK will implement the new point-based system from Jan 2021, which would help skilled foreign workers from technology, science, and STEM fields get permanent residency faster.
Europe has a very different approach when it comes to Immigration. Unlike Canada and Australia, Europe has been using Immigration as a critical source to revamp its real estate industry. Many European countries- big and small- run various programs that grant wealthy people residency/citizenship in return for a substantial investment. Golden Visa programs are the most popular and highly sought-after European schemes, offered by countries like Greece, Portugal, Spain, etc.
These programs have played a crucial role in dealing with the aftermath of the pandemic. The government is now reviewing these programs to recover from the economic crises caused by the Covid-19.