Canadians more welcoming to immigrants than other countries, research shows

by Ray Clancy on February 28, 2011

Canada most welcoming to foreigners

The majority of Canadians view immigration as a positive thing, in direct contrast to the increasingly anti immigrant attitude in other Western developed countries, according to a survey.

The annual poll by the Washington based think tank, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, looked at public perception of a wide variety of immigration issues in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.

It found a near consensus of frustration towards governments’ handling of immigration policy, and that those who are struggling financially are particularly hostile.

However, Canada was sharply difference from all the other countries on questions ranging from government performance to the impact of immigrants on society and the economy.  Canadian immigration attitudes are by far the most positive among all countries surveyed.

There was a slight change in attitude. In 2010, 67% of respondents felt that immigrants helped create jobs by establishing new businesses, down from 75% in 2009.  And the proportion of people who thought that immigration enriches culture by bringing in new customs and ideas from 65% to 60%.

Nevertheless, the numbers were still significantly higher than those from the US and Europe, the report Transatlantic Trends, also shows.

In the United States some 73% thought that their government was doing a poor job in terms of managing immigration, followed by 70% in the UK. In Spain some 61% thought the same as did 58% in France and 54% in the Netherlands. Whereas Canadians were split, with 48% feeling positive and 43% responding negatively about their government’s handling of immigration. In the United States 67% and UK 63% of respondents also said immigration policy would affect their vote.

‘The survey shows that North Americans and Europeans have strong opinions about immigration policy, what works, and what doesn’t. But the survey also shows that the more one is exposed to immigrants, the more one feels positively toward them,’ said GMF President Craig Kennedy.

For the first time, the survey also showed evidence that personal economic hardship is correlated with more fears of labour market competition. Those whose household economic situation got worse in 2010 were more likely to say that immigrants take jobs away from native-born workers.

In the United States, for instance, 63% of those whose economic situation ‘got worse; in 2010 made this claim versus only 49% of those whose situation either ‘got better’ or ‘stayed the same’.

Europeans who self identified as unemployed were also more likely to say that immigrants take jobs, 43% versus the European average of 35%.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

jean marc October 2, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Positive immigration is a bonus for this great country full of open minded people. We have had some abusers but overall the quality of immigrant is great.
Hope we can continue accepting people who are going to enrich oour diversity.

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