Immigration program no quick fix
Feb 04, 2008 04:30 AM
Federal bureaucrats are putting the finishing touches on a new immigration program that the government hopes to roll out just in time for the next election.
It is called the "Canada Experience Class" and it is designed to alleviate the acute labour shortages in the oil patch.
If it is presented honestly – as a modest initiative to keep temporary foreign workers and Canadian-educated foreign students in the country – it deserves to be welcomed.
If it is marketed as a fix for Canada's clogged and inequitable immigration system – as many groups working in the field fear it will be – it warrants skepticism.
Yeah, Canada's immigration system is inequitable. It discriminates against the poor. Immigrants who come to this country, including refugees, are the middle and upper classes of the third world. They don't need our help but they come to Canada anyways for social mobility reasons. They really don't care about Canada so much as a country but what Canada can do for them.
Canada has thousands of "temporary foreign workers." They were brought here to drive trucks, man oil rigs, take X-rays, build homes, serve coffee at Tim Hortons and program computers. But they can't stay. This frustrates employers, who must constantly devise ways to renew their work permits and it troubles voters who believe that anyone who is good enough to work here is good enough to live here.
The long term solution is for employers to train Canadians for these jobs but the labour market has changed. Employers used to do this but no more. Now training costs have been offloaded onto the individual and now employers are suffering "labour shortages" because they are unwilling to invest the resources to train and retain a skilled work force. This is why the business community supports mass immigration. They rather poach other countries for labour instead of investing in Canadians. It's a disgrace. As for the voters mentioned in the paragraph I wonder which voters she is talking about?
There are roughly 83,000 foreign students at Canadian colleges and universities. Many would like to become permanent residents and many employers would like to hire them. But they have to go home when they graduate.
Under the new program, both temporary workers and foreign students will be able to apply for landed immigrant status without leaving the country.
The potential for abuse is obvious because of the family class stream. All you need is one successful immigration application or one successful refugee claim and you get the whole family. This is a serious problem because family class immigrants do not need any relevant job skills or language skills to get into the country. This is one reason why there is a backlog of 850,000 applications. This is one reason why many immigrants cannot find work or are stuck in low income positions. We are importing immigrants this country does not need. Allowing students and temporary workers they same opportunity and you will compound the problem.
Carol Goar also sees some problems with it of which one of them I want to take an issue with. She writes:
A second concern is that the government is not raising Canada's overall immigration level. The influx triggered by the new program – estimated at 20,000 people a year – will be given priority treatment within the existing quota (265,000 this year). This means the 850,000 people in backlog, many of whom have been in the queue for five or six years, will have to wait even longer.
Her ignorance of the immigration issue should be assumed and I have read other writings by her concerning immigration and to know that she is wrong and she should pick up a book or two about the subject and educate herself. To call for an increase in Canada's immigration intake is rediculous but should be expected from someone who writes for the Toronto Star. As I mentioned before a major problem with Canada's immigration system is the family class. These are immigrants Canada does not need however we throw away resources at this class of immigrants because ethnic voters demand it. It is estimated that around half of all the immigrants Canada accepts each year enter through the family class.
Compounding this are refugees of which many of them are bogus refugees who are middle class third world immigrants abusing this stream as means to lie their way into the country. Like family class immigrants, refugees do not need any relevant job skills or language skills to get into the country.
Another problematic stream is the economic class. Immigrants who enter Canada via this stream promise to invest a specified amount of money in Canada and hire at least one Canadian. Such a commitment can be respected if the immigrant opens a corner store and then hires a relative to work it. No real jobs are created and no real economic activity arises, Canadians have hardly benefited from this, but the immigrant has been able to buy for himself or herself Canadian citizenship.
A more accurate approximation puts skilled immigrants at 20-25% of Canada's yearly intake and if they find themselves driving cabs instead of working in their field it just shows how out of touch Canada's immigration system is with the realities of the labour market.
But what does "Canadian experience" really mean anyway? It's nonsense and I am surprised the business community is getting away with it. If you really think about it "Canadian experience" is just some hollow excuse not to hire someone. In order to appear robust a business may put out calls for employment with no intention of hiring anyone. This is what happened during the tech boom of the 1990s. Many tech companies placed adds for employment opportunities to appear healthy so as to appeal to investors. I think something similar is happening here. There may be negative economic repercussions if the business community admitted that there is no skills shortage.
However, there may be a skills shortage but there is defintely no worker shortage. If businesses really needed workers they could train them but since immigration is a public cost supporting mass immigration is the cheaper alternative. In the end, it is Canadians who foot the bill as usual.