Thursday, November 17, 2011

High rate of assimilation in Canada

Averages can hide a lot. The variances need to be considered too. These figures should be broken out into legal and illegal immigrants. Taking in a lot of skilled migrants might pull the averages up but still leave a large "indigestible" pool of low-skill illegals

Among Canadian immigration opponents, there is a popular narrative that goes like this: Newcomers to this country want our generosity, but not our values. They arrive on our shores with their hands outstretched, refuse to learn English or French, go on welfare and reject Canadian liberal values in favour of retaining their old-world backwardness and bigotry.

As it turns out, for the vast majority of immigrants to Canada, none of this is true.

Earlier this year, Jacob L. Vigdor, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a conservative American think-tank, published a study titled Comparing Immigrant Assimilation In North America And Europe. In it, he examined the most recent data on the rates of assimilation of immigrants to Austria, Canada, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. His conclusion: "Immigrants from Canada rank first in terms of overall assimilation."

(For the purposes of measuring assimilation, Mr. Vigdor examined economic, civic and cultural indicators - including educational attainment, earnings, occupational prestige, employment status, labor-force participation, citizenship attainment, military enlistment, language skills and the decision to marry a nativeborn spouse.)

Our status as number-one assimilator manifests itself for almost every single geographical category of immigrant - including Chinese, Southeast Asian, African and Eastern European. Mr. Vigdor also found that Muslim immigrants to Canada rank first in overall assimilation as compared to Muslim immigrants to other Western nations.

"Two facets of Canadian immigration policy may help explain the rapid integration of foreigners into Canadian society," he concluded. "First, the path to citizenship in Canada is short and easily travelled.... Second, Canadian immigration policy places a distinct emphasis on attracting skilled migrants. Thirty percent of foreign-born adults in Canada have college degrees, while the rate is 23% in the United States and 10% in Spain and Italy.... The link between immigrants' level of education and their degree of assimilation is strong."

A bar chart contained in Mr. Vigdor's report is especially telling: Canada is the only nation to score higher than 80 on his assimilation index. The United States - and every studied European nation except Portugal - scores below 60. More than 80% of Canadian immigrants naturalize within 10 years of coming to Canada. In the United States, the 80% level isn't realized, on average, till immigrants are stateside for four decades.

"Multiculturalism" may exist as a popular catchphrase in academic circles and some forms of government literature, but the reality of Canadian life, especially since the Tories came to power, is that newcomers to this country are expected to adapt to our values, not the other way around.

All this helps explain why Canadians react with so much revulsion and shock when some unassimilated immigrants do violate our norms - by shrouding women in burkas, imposing female genital mutilation on infants, sending teenage girls abroad for forced marriages, or, most tragically, killing their daughters in the name of "honour." These are the vile exceptions to an otherwise benign rule.


Doubling amount husbands must earn to £26,000 would block two thirds of immigrant brides, says government watchdog

Two thirds of foreign wives could be banned from the UK under plans to stop immigrants becoming 'a burden on the state'. Government immigration advisers say that the minimum salary required to bring a spouse to Britain should go up significantly, and may even be doubled.

The proposals could mean more than half of the UK's population would not be able to bring in a foreign partner, as they might not earn enough to support them without relying on benefits. And the threshold may be pushed even higher for those trying to bring children to the UK.

Professor David Metcalf, chairman of the Migration Advisory Committee, said a minimum salary of between £18,600 and £25,700 should be introduced for UK residents sponsoring a partner or dependant for UK citizenship. This minimum, which applies equally to British citizens and immigrants, is currently set at around £13,700.

Some 40,000 foreign wives, husbands and partners were granted visas to join their family in the UK last year, but that number would be cut by up to 63 per cent under the proposals.

The Government asked the advisers to identify the salary a worker would need to earn to support a spouse or partner 'without them becoming a burden on the state', Professor Metcalf said.

The lowest figure in the proposed range, £18,600, is the income level at which many benefits, including housing benefit and tax credits, are withdrawn, while the highest figure, £25,700, represents the typical income of a one-adult household.

It would mean that between a quarter and a half of full-time adult workers would be unable to bring their partners to the UK - but many others, including the unemployed and pensioners, could be prevented too.

Prof Metcalf said the proposals do not take into account Britons' right to a family life. 'We have to abide by the terms of reference that we are set up for, and that's to answer the questions which the Government sets us, and not go off on a track of our own,' he said. 'It's for others to then decide whether in some senses that question is a bit wrong, [if] it's in this case too economic focused, or quite possibly we've not addressed it properly.'

He added that the current threshold was 'a bit low', and suggested there was 'justification for raising the pay threshold' to prevent a huge benefits bill for spouses from abroad.

The MAC's figures show that of the 40,000 spouses and partners brought in from outside the EU, nearly a third were from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh, while 6 per cent came from the U.S. and 5 per cent from Nepal. It added that while 94 per cent of those based in the UK with a spouse abroad wanted their partner to join them, half earned less than £20,100 and three quarters earned less than £30,500.

The Institute for Public Policy Research warned that if the Government accepted the proposals and went ahead with the policy, 'it is likely to be challenged in the courts'.

Matt Cavanagh, the think-tank's associate director, said: 'It isn't unreasonable - particularly in the current economic climate - to ask whether, if someone is destitute or entirely dependent on benefits, they should be allowed to bring in a spouse or partner who is likely to end up in a similar position.

'But introducing an income threshold at £25,700 - the level of the national median income - would effectively bar half the population from bringing a spouse or partner from abroad. 'We're not talking about people who are destitute or living on benefits, we are talking about people who are working and getting an average wage.'


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