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Corporate Lobbying and Immigration Policies in Canada

  • Ludovic Rheault (a1)


Abstract. This study examines the enduring claim that firms exert influence on immigration policies, prompting governments to open the doors to foreign labour. Although intuitively appealing, this claim has received little empirical support so far, the actual channels of influence from special interests to policy makers being usually opaque to public scrutiny. To address this problem, I rely upon the vector autoregression methodology and make use of fine-grained quarterly data on lobbying, skills-based immigration and temporary workers in Canada, between 1996 and 2011. A key result is the positive and robust response of temporary worker inflows to the intensity of corporate lobbying, even after accounting for labour market conditions. In contrast, there is no conclusive evidence that lobbyists carry weight when it comes to permanent migrants.

Résumé. Cette étude examine la thèse voulant que le secteur privé exerce une influence sur les politiques d'immigration, poussant les gouvernements à accroître le nombre d'immigrants. Malgré son attrait, cette thèse n'a reçu qu'un soutien empirique très limité à ce jour, notamment puisque l'influence des groupes d'intérêt s'exerce souvent à huis clos. Afin de surmonter ce problème, je recours à la méthode des vecteurs autorégressifs et utilise des données trimestrielles détaillées sur le lobbying, l'immigration économique et les travailleurs temporaires au Canada entre 1996 et 2011. Un résultat clé est la réponse positive des influx de travailleurs temporaires à l'intensité du lobbying des entreprises, même après avoir pris en compte les conditions du marché du travail. En comparaison, la conclusion que les lobbyistes influencent les niveaux d'immigration permanente apparaît peu robuste.


Corresponding author

Ludovic Rheault, Department of Political Science, University of Montreal, P.O. Box 6128, Station Centre-ville, Montreal QC, H3C 3J7. Email:


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Corporate Lobbying and Immigration Policies in Canada

  • Ludovic Rheault (a1)


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