Worthwhile Canadian Immigration Initiative - Spectator Blogs

25 January 2013

Reihan Salam highlights the latest pro-immigration move by Stephen Harper’s Canadian government:

Canada is looking to poach Silicon Valley’s intrepid foreign up-and-comers as it launches a “first of its kind in the world” program that will grant immediate permanent residency to qualifying entrepreneurs starting April 1.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Thursday he will head down to America’s technology heartland once the program is in place to begin recruiting the “thousands of super bright young foreign nationals,” often from Asia, who are working at technology start-ups on temporary visas and may have to go home before they’ve been able to obtain their coveted U.S. Green Card.

“We see the bright, young, international tech developers in the U.S. who are stuck on temporary visas as an immediate market, if you will, for this program,” he said.

Kenney said he will “fly the Canadian flag and say to those bright young prospective immigrants, some of whom are going to create massively successful companies in their lifetimes, that they can come to Canada through this program, that they can get permanent residency here, they can have the certainty that this represents and they can start their businesses here in Canada.”

[…] Kenney said it’s an opportunity for Canada to get ahead of the pack because even countries with similar programs don’t offer the perk of immediate permanent residency – a “risk” he’s prepared to take even though not all entrepreneurs are successful.

“We don’t want to penalize people if they don’t succeed on their first start-up, we want to encourage them to make Canada their new home, to contribute in the long-term their human capital to Canada,” he said.

As Reihan says, this seems like an admirable policy. It makes sense on business grounds but it is also, of course, good politics. As the good Mr Salam explains:
One of more interesting aspects of Canadian politics is that modern Canadian national identity is often identified, particularly among Canadian intellectuals, with the cosmopolitan, social-democratic ideology associated with Pierre Trudeau, Canada’s charismatic, polarizing, and profoundly influential Liberal premier for much of the period from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s. Canada’s older national identity, rooted in its British and (complicatedly) French heritage, has been given short shrift in part due to the enormous demographic and cultural changes that occurred during the Trudeau years and after. At the heart of this post-Trudeau national narrative is the notion that Canada is deeply different from the U.S., and one of the most potent attacks on Canadian conservatives is that they are Americans in disguise.
And so it seems wise that the CPC burnish its nationalist credentials by, for example, taking a tough stance on Arctic sovereignty and demonstrating a desire to “leapfrog” over a U.S. economy that seems, to at least some foreigners, increasingly overregulated, sclerotic, and dysfunctional.
Indeed. Now, of course, the British Tory party is in a different situation and it is easier for Canada to poach folk from California than it is for Britain to do so. Nevertheless, the difference in attitude towards immigration is striking.
Doubtless Tory ministers would say they are super-keen on high-skilled immigrants and, sure, that is technically the case. Nevertheless, the party’s rhetoric on the subject is hardly encouraging and its preference for an immigration ‘cap’ plainly places limits on even skilled immigration.
Earlier this week the Prime Minister made much of Britain as a country open to the rest of the world. Good stuff, that. Yet his party’s immigration preferences suggest quite the opposite. This, to be fair, is not a recent development. Britain lost out to Canada and Australia with the Hong Kong Chinese and, alas, there’s every prospect we will lose again too.

More Spectator for less. Subscribe and receive 12 issues delivered for just £12, with full web and app access. Join us now.

  • Akkam India

    Canada Immigration, Canada Business Immigration, Immigration Consultants In Hyderabad, Canada Immigration, Australia Immigration, Registered Immigration Consultancy, Permanent Resident Visa, Student Visa Consultants, Authorized Immigration Consultants offered by Akkam. For more information visit

  • danish

    The requirements for hiring foreign workers was recently changed.
    immigration canada

  • rndtechnologies786

    Good view

  • Roy

    This talk of immigration as if there is no alternative. If the educational opportunities are there for the ones already in the country, there should be no need to keep harping on about bringing in foreign peoples who have a country of their own to call home. This multiculturalism has gone far enough. No apology yet from the idiot bodies who started it all and caused the calamity in all the services in the first place. The UK has become a dosshouse for the third world, while paying the leaders of these countries great sums of money for them to stash away. Absorbing all these million people that have come here or still coming, is one of sheer lunacy. Then there are the stupid laws that prevent even the hardest criminals from being deported. But still we have writers still pushing the point as if we have a God given responsibility for the whole darn world, and haven’t learnt a thing. The word lunacy is too mild. Even a large country like Canada need to watch their step.

  • CraigStrachan

    This also underlines how badly the US immigration system (and especially the “H” visa-to-green card bottleneck) needs freeing up.

    That said, some of these immigrant entrepreneurs may well go on to create maasively successful companies in their lifetimes. But they would be rather more likely to do that in the US than Canada.

  • Trofim

    I can’t help noticing that Canada is the second largest country in the world at nearly 10 million square kilometres, and with a population hardly more than half of the UK.

  • Ron Todd

    Any such scheme in this country would be modified by the next labour government as a way for them to get in even more potential future labour voters and to give them a vote as soon as they got off the plane.

  • Louis

    According to figures accumulated by the Office of National Statistics in the UK, over 3.5 million people left the Uk in the last decade. A statistic Eddie might care to consider.

    • Eddie

      And you might to consider the evidence that there is no net benefit from immigration – not when one factors in the huge welfare and pension bills, the massive pressures of services (healthcare, schools, councils), the utter unfairness of foreigners coming here and getting things over and above natives, the enormous pressures on space and housing in our overcrowded country.
      Yes, many Brits have left – often to get away from the overprice, overcrowded, unpleasant multiculti mess that has spread like some petr-dish viral culture around them.
      It is not just about numbers, Louis. So let’s say 10 million white Brits leave the UK and 10 million Africans and Asians come here. No net immigration there – but England (and increasingly Scotland and Wales too) will look more and more alien to its natives, as society fragments into separate ghettos yet more.
      Research shows multicultural societies are less happy, actually.
      I am not against some immigration and some presence of foreigners on opur cities – but what has happened in the last 2 decades has beena betrayal of the British people by both left and right.
      And those who are richa dnw ho own big houses whose prices will rise yet more as we get more immigrants should be made to admit that they are just being selfish and greedy in the pro-immigration stand: they want to enrich themselves with asset increases and other gains, and push down their servants’ wages. These people’s motivation is not ‘nice’ or altruistic. Let’s see how pro-immigration they’ll be if we take away their houses and incomes (because we can always find immigrants to do anyone’s job for half the fee – including Mr Massie and, no doubt, you too Louis Louis).

    • Russell

      with respect to Canada, the numbers are interesting as well. check out this infographic on Canada’s immigration statistics.

  • Eddie

    Errrr…here is a point you miss: Canada is HUGE – massive – with acres of space to build homes in.
    The UK, and esp England, is the most crowded nation in Europe, with 3 million incomers in the last 10 years, and people feeling the negative effects of mass immigration all the time, whether in job competition, lower wages, skyhigh property prices, lower living standards, pressures of schools and hospitals, creaking infrastructure, welfare budgets.
    Of course the well-off benefit from cheap servants and lots of nice restaurants to choose from – but their support of immigration is intensely selfish – they lack empathy for those whose lives are impoverished by it.
    If you had your way, Mr Massie, we would have 3 million HK Chinese here too to add to that immigration. Plus all the EU incomers. And another million to our international dumping ground of a capital city next year.
    The right wing capitalist pigs love immigration – more workers, lower wages, more profits, and they don’t give a damn about the damaged insecure fragmented society left behind which erupts in riots they won’t pay for, and where many natives feel like aliens in their own land, and foreigners get treated better than they do (anyone in the world with children can come here and get housing over any childless native who is homeless).
    In this they agree with the leftwingers, who have long suffered a condition called ethnophilia (irrational love of everything ethnic, even if it involves child abuse and forced marriage etc). Labour knows immigrants mostly vote for them.
    So both left and right are selfish.
    A plague on both their houses. Neither care about the British people. Not really.
    Entrepreneurs with a certain amount of cash can get in to the UK easily too actually – I’ve known a few.

  • MikeF

    If a Conservative administration in the UK introduced a policy of this sort it would be attacked for ‘elitism’ and an ‘intellectual imperialism’ that sought to rob developing countries of their best talents. It is also worth noting that the Canadians place a greater emphasis on integration than is the case in the UK.

  • tember2

    It’s all well and good to attract entrepreneurs. But Canada lacks the same go-getter entrepreneurial attitudes that have made the USA great. Plus there is less competition at the retail level, higher prices, restricted marketplace choices, etc etc. Very frustrating (even though the country has many things going for it).

  • CaediteEos

    I just don’t understand where all these tech-savvy immigrant entrepreneurs bursting with billion-dollar business ideas are hiding. Certainly not in Newham, or Elephant & Castle, or any of the “no-go” Islamic zones that are cropping up all over the country.

    Also, in case anyone hadn’t noticed, Britain isn’t exactly the growth centre of the world right now. Highly skilled immigrants will be smart enough to realise their skills can be better put to use in high-growth, low-tax economies elsewhere. What we are left with are people who like the look of our rather generous but increasingly unaffordable welfare state, and it’s affordability isn’t helped by their arrival.