Canada is considering introducing a "global talent visa" to attract high-skill workers, though the country remains divided on expanding immigration amid pockets of high regional unemployment, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains says.
The country is considering changes to its immigration policy to help draw top talent in the aftermath of Brexit and to address domestic labor shortages, Bains said Wednesday in a panel discussion in Ottawa. However, Canada's government has more work to do to convince its citizens that immigration won't exacerbate unemployment.
"The honest truth is there is still reluctance around immigration policy," Bains said. "When we want to talk about immigration and say we want to bring more immigrants in because it's good for the economy, we still get pushback."
The resistance is rooted in anxiety over rising unemployment and it's up to the government to do more to argue that immigration creates more jobs, he said. "That conversation is a tough one to have but I think there is enormous potential if we have a global talent visa for example, post Brexit and what's happening in the U.S., to take advantage of the top talent around the world that is looking to Canada and bringing them here."
Canada is considering changes to immigration levels and ways to address skills shortages, Bains later told reporters. "We also want to attract the best and brightest, because that's the key ingredient for economic success going forward," Bains told reporters. "Really, the challenge is how we engage Canadians" who still hold "some mixed views" on immigration and economic policy.