U.S. and Canadian Immigration Policies: A Comparison

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The immigration landscape of North America is constantly changing. Canada and the United States, to a large extent, followed parallel trajectories in the earlier parts of their immigration histories. Both countries initially drew principally on migrants from the British Isles and Europe, before expanding their catchment area to other regions of the world. Over time, however, Canadian and U.S. immigration policies have diverged in significant ways. Immigration issues are in the news in both countries these days, perhaps more so than usual. Canada is in election mode, with many new Canadians expected to vote for the first time.

Meanwhile in the United States, a combative Republican Presidential nominee contest, led by the enigmatic Donald Trump, has placed immigration policy to the fore. But what are we really talking about when we talk about immigration? How does Canada differ from the U.S.?

This article will present five fundamental ways in which Canadian immigration policy is different from that of the U.S. 1. Canada favours economic immigration. Around two-thirds of new Canadian permanent residents arrive through economic immigration programs. In contrast, only 16 percent of new Green Card holders (lawful permanent residents, or LPRs) in the U.S. arrive through economic immigration categories. Politicians and commentators in other countries continually point to Canada’s points-based economic immigration as a shining example of a positive, open immigration strategy that creates opportunities for newcomers and Canadians alike.


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