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Cutting off foreign students, temporary workers will hit Canadian economy: Report

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TORONTO: Closing doors to temporary workers and foreign students allowed into Canada would blunt the country’s economic recovery and deepen recession, a capital market company has warned.

According to predictions by Montreal-based Desjardins Securities, the country’s real GDP will grow just 0.1 per cent in 2024 and an average of about 1.95 per cent annually from 2025 through 2028.

But if it were to shut the door to temporary residents, real GDP would drop by 0.7 per cent in 2024 and grow an average of 1.78 per cent annually over the following four years, Bloomberg News said, citing the report.

On the other hand, if it doubles the pace of non-permanent resident admissions, the country would experience a milder economic slowdown than anticipated and avoid a potential recession altogether, Randall Bartlett, Desjardins’ senior director of Canadian economics, said.

Real GDP would then grow 1 per cent in 2024, and top 2.1 per cent on average after that, Bartlett said in a report released last week. The report comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faces backlash over rising cost of living, and growing inflation, acknowledging the need for adjustments in immigration policy.

In one of the most recent moves to address these issues, the government decided to double the amount of money that international students need to show to get a study visa.

“It would be a mistake to blame international students for the housing crisis. But it will also be a mistake to invite them to come to Canada with no support, including how to put a roof over their heads,” Immigration Minister Marc Miller had said while making the announcement in December.

The students will now have to show at least in their $20,635 account on top of their one-year tuition fees, and if they bring one family member with them, they will need to show an additional $4,000.

The North American nation accepted 454,590 new permanent residents over the 12-month period to October 1, while bringing in a record 804,690 non-permanent residents, which includes temporary workers, foreign students and refugees.

According to Bartlett, Much of Canada’s population growth — now one of the fastest in the world — comes from non-permanent residents, temporary foreign workers and students.

The nation opened its doors to immigrants to replace aging workers and fill labour gaps, but the boom in numbers has put a strain on the country’s resources and needs to be reconsidered, according to the country’s top economists.

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