Wanted: Hard workers
Our immigration system is broken. Fixing it should be a bipartisan affair
Rudyard Griffiths, National Post Published: Monday, April 21, 2008
As Stephane Dion weighs the pros and cons of triggering a federal election over the Conservatives' proposed changes to the powers of the Immigration Minister, he would do well to reflect on one simple fact: 40% of skilled and professional male immigrants leave Canada permanently within 10 years.
But do their families stay in the land of subsidized health care and higher education as these men live, work, and pay taxes overseas?
This statistic, garnered from an exhaustive government study conducted earlier this decade, represents a searing indictment of our immigration system. It suggests that contrary to being an immigration success story, Canada's selection process and settlement policies for newcomers are failing the country and recent immigrants alike, and imperilling our shared future.
The culprit here is the supposedly impartial point system that Canada uses to select immigrants. Adopted in 1967, the point system introduced the meritocratic idea that immigration to Canada should be colour-blind when it comes to the region and ethnicity of applicants. However, starting in late 1980s, a new set of biases began to creep into the point system. Whether it was the result of the management-school mania for fostering "knowledge-based" societies, or a class bias on the part of bureaucrats, the point system has been successively tweaked over the last two decades to favour newcomers with advanced degrees and high-level professional credentials.
I go so far as to suggest some countries receive favoured nation status. Read here and here for a further explanation.
The fundamental problem with an immigration system that selects for highly skilled and educated newcomers is that these individuals are chronically underemployed. They find it difficult, if not impossible, to get their foreign degrees or certifications recognized by Canadian institutions and professional groups. They also often have to master a new language and all must compete with Canadian born "white-collar" counterparts who have had the advantages of a lifetime of access to first-world education systems.
Given the economic hurdles that face the ever greater portion of highly skilled and educated newcomers who arrive in Canada each year, it is not surprising that poverty rates among newcomers have shot up over the last two decades.
It's what I have been saying all along.
The points system is not the main culprit. I argue Canada accepts more immigrants than it can handle. If we are to start somewhere to fix the immigration system it should be with the number of immigrants Canada receives each year. Canada should also reform the family class stream. Too many unskilled relatives of working age get into Canada via this stream. Also too many aged relatives, individuals who serve no real benefits to Canadian society but draw on tax payer subsidized services, also get into the country via the family class stream. Here is an eye opening figure from the linked article:
the admittance rate for the parents and grandparents of new arrivals is up some 200% from 2005 to 2006.
We need to fix the system.
Do you consider these people Canadians because I sure don't.