Sunday, 4 May 2008

Language proficiency for skilled immigrants isn't the problem. It's their relatives.

All immigrants entering Canada may need to take a mandatory language proficiency test in French or English even if they come from French speaking or English speaking countries. I don't want to say it but I may be siding with the immigration lawyers on this one. You can read it here at the Toronto Star.

Language test angers immigration lawyers

May 03, 2008 04:30 AM
Nicholas Keung

All immigrants applying to come to Canada as skilled workers – even those who grew up speaking English or French – could soon be required to take a mandatory language test to prove proficiency in one of Canada's official languages, the Star has learned.

Until now, English- and French-speaking applicants – including immigrants from the U.S. and England – could bypass the test by submitting a letter testifying to their language skills. Officials say the proposed change will make language assessments more transparent. But immigration lawyers say the change would only increase delays at a time when the federal government is introducing dramatic changes to reduce an immigration backlog, especially to smooth the way for those most likely to succeed in the job market.


Currently, applicants in the skilled-worker class with good language skills can earn up to 16 "points" either by taking the International English Language Testing System test or with a written submission. The policy change wouldn't be applied to applications already in the system, or to those in the family category.

To qualify as a skilled immigrant, an applicant needs at least 67 points out of a possible 100 awarded for education level, work experience and family connections to Canada, among other factors.


But lawyers warn the proposal will be off-putting to people most likely to integrate easily in Canada's labour market, such as the 17,000 Brits and Americans who come each year.

I don't know why the government is considering this. Perhaps some skilled immigrants with poor language skills are scamming the system by getting others to write them a letter to bypass the tests. If this is the case I wouldn't be surprised because Canada's immigration laws are like Rodney Dangerfield, they "don't get no respect." It might be a way to address the cost to taxpayers of state sponsored language classes for immigrants.

But the immigration lawyers are right. The mandatory tests for those from the U.S. or the U.K. is just silly. They will cause delays, increase fees, and thus dissuade immigrants from countries who are the most likely to integrate and succeed in Canada.

If poor language proficiency for recent immigrants is a concern, and it is, it is because sponsored relatives and refugees are exempt from it. Many economic migrants of working age enter Canada through these easily exploitable streams and, under these proposed changes, they are still exempt from language proficiency requirements. In other words very little will change and in fact our immigration system will become worse. Immigrants will still stream in with a very poor command, or no command at all, of either of Canada's official languages, and will still need tax payer subsidized language classes. That is if they take them. The poor promotion of English and French has created communal environments where one can function in this country without having to speak either one. It seems many immigrants learn English or French for pragmatic reasons only.

The expectation that immigrants from the Anglosphere or from French speaking countries is a mistake and the government should reconsider.


Anonymous said...

Language proficiency might be one problem for some who wish to enter Canada, but perhaps declaring yourself as a violent gang member (MS-13) might get you into our country without all those nuisance impediments.

If you admit that you have:

“maimed and disfigured rival gang members between 15 and 20 times over a five-year period....admitted to carrying a gun, robbing non-gang members for MS-13 coffers and to buying weapons in Los Angeles for his organization, the most violent drug gang in Central America.....or was a witness to at least 100 gang murders and had been arrested 50 or 60 times”
[Incredibly, this self-admitted violent gang member somehow avoided murdering anyone himself!]

...then you have a much better chance of entering through our back door and get to stay, thanks to un-worldly refugee adjudicators as Canadian Refugee Board member Daphne Shaw Dyck.

This foolish woman ruled:

“He is not in Canada to promote the gang’s activities. This is not a situation where a current gang member with an ongoing association with the gang has come to Canada to carry on the gang’s objectives and criminal activities. Without more, a member of a gang, who now fears the gang, does not automatically pose a danger to the Canadian public.”


While we waste tens of thousands of dollars adjudicating this murdering thug's "right" to remain in Canada, we put that English-speaking British skilled tradesman through the hoops and make him wait for 5 years(!) before he's given a legal visa to enter our country with his family.

The world has gone mad!

Andrew white said...

Don't be too quick to embrace the advice of immigration lawyers. The 30 year battle that resulted in the US 1924 immigration restriction included an attempt to pass a literacy test.

"Lodge said in 1910 (remember that he'd introduced a bill to require literacy 14 years previously, and was still arguing),

There is a growing and constantly active demand for more restrictive legislation. This demand rests on two grounds, both equally important. One is the effect upon the quality of our citizenship caused by the rapid introduction of this vast and practically unrestricted immigration, and the other, the effect of this immigration upon rates of wages and the standard of living among our working people.

I shall not attempt to argue the question with you, but will merely point out the number of persons who would have been excluded since 1886 if the illiterates over fourteen years of age had been thrown out. During that period the number of illiterates who, by their own admission, could neither read nor write in any language, numbered 1,829,320."

Literacy is different than a language test, however, the use of a transparent test may go a long way toward reform of a broken system.

PaxCanadiana said...


While we waste tens of thousands of dollars adjudicating this murdering thug's "right" to remain in Canada, we put that English-speaking British skilled tradesman through the hoops and make him wait for 5 years(!) before he's given a legal visa to enter our country with his family.

The world has gone mad!

Ain't it the freakin' truth! If only more Canadians were aware of this nonsense.


Don't be too quick to embrace the advice of immigration lawyers.

I try not to.

Recently the Toronto Star provided a poll asking the question if mandatory language testing for potential immigrants regardless of country of origin is a good thing and 86%, I believe, responded in the positive.

The thing is the testing will only be applied to those entering the country via the skilled category and these immigrants usually have a passable command of the language so it doesn't really change anything if relatives and refugees are still exempt.