The Current Financial Crisis and Immigration

I do not have to tell you that we are in the midst of a very tough financial period.  In the United States, home foreclosures and loan defaults are at record highs. The stock markets, world wide, have plunged in a relentless fashion with what seems like no end in sight. The news of what is described as the US “Credit Crunch” dominates the headlines.  The ability to obtain loans or credit by businesses and individuals from financial institutions has been severely restricted. When credit which is the “grease” that allows the machinery of the economy to run, dries up, then we are in real trouble.  Banks are undercapitalized and as such are more reluctant to give loans.

From an immigration perspective, this will likely translate into more restrictive immigration policies by governments. How? In times of economic strain where unemployment rises, the demand for foreign workers by businesses subsides as does the pressure on governments to “open the doors” to immigrants. To exacerbate this problem, in times of low employment, usual cries against immigrants for “taking away jobs” from nationals can be heard louder than ever.

I therefore fear that the climate of financial uncertainty that we are in will soon become one of anti-immigration sentiment. A similar phenomena occurred post 9-11, the effects of which still resonate in immigration policy and practice. As a US immigration official put it to me then, “over night, immigration policy was transformed from a service oriented focus to one of predominantly enforcement oriented”. And we have never looked back.

Now with the current financial crises, I fear that fuel will be added to the immigration fire.  And when the dust settles and the stock market begins to rise and banks are again giving out loans, the victims still suffering may be the intending immigrants,  skilled workers and families who find themselves before a closed door to Canada and the US.

Any information provided here does not constitute legal advice and is intended for general information only. Should you require legal advise, you are encouraged to contact a lawyer directly. All blog postings are public and are not subject to solicitor/client confidentially. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, and case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any further case undertaken by the lawyer.

Tags: economic crisis immigration financial crisis and immigration financial crisis immigration immigrants and economic crisis immigrants financial crisis immigration budget crisis

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the American Bar Association. He is frequently called upon to appear in the media to discuss Canadian and US immigration issues effecting North Americans. He has been interviewed by Canada AM, CTV, Canada News Net, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star and has given lectures on immigration topics overseas.

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