- As the universe witnesses tremendous advancements, developments, innovations, inventions, and progression riding on the dynamic evolution of technology-driven initiatives, the global community should openly embrace the accompanying benefits without any prejudice or restrictive policies. Since the boundaries are bound to be blurred even as the geopolitical and geostrategic necessities define the global world order, restrictive policies in any form must be treated as counterproductive measures that hardly help anyone in particular. As information technology assumes paramount importance in literally every aspect of our lives, demand for skilled manpower too naturally grows to meet the growing requirements.
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- However, restrictive policies in the guise of providing local citizens priority of employment and opportunities do pose a challenge where skilled manpower may not be readily available. This situation is not restricted to only developing countries, even the most advanced countries are grappling with the shortage of skilled manpower. Yes, a country like Canada is showing signs of pragmatism in handling such a situation. Recently, Canada announced that it will absorb close to 1.5 million permanent residents over the next three years. The highlight of the plan is that it’s rooted in practicality. Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau has pitched his government’s plan to enhance the immigration level as one that will benefit the economy and, thereby, service its citizens.
- Of course, it’s an approach that many other developed countries need to follow as the challenges they face are similar. Note that Canada has a fertility rate of 1.4, well below the replacement rate and one of the lowest in the world. Like most developed economies, it’s grappling with the linked challenges of high inflation and slow economic growth. Inflation in September was 6.9%, well above the central bank’s inflation target range of 1-3%. An important reason for high inflation is that businesses are reporting a severe labour shortage, which is pushing up wage costs. Canada does have unemployed people, around 5.2% of the labour force. However, the problem is a mismatch between job vacancies, mainly skilled variety, and the capabilities of job seekers.
- Indeed, the only way to quickly plug the gap is by having a liberal immigration policy. Welcomingly, this is exactly what Canada is doing and it’s something its peer group should emulate – contrast Ottawa’s approach with the rhetoric emanating from London, for example. An unusual feature of the current economic woes of developed countries is that they are experiencing a job-full recession. Rich economies are in the simultaneous grip of slowdown and job vacancies. If this continues for long, it will take a permanent toll on their economic competitiveness. While immigration is a politically touchy issue, the Trudeau government has been able to sell a liberal immigration policy by locating in economic self-interest. Others should follow this example too.