Sunday, 13 December 2009

Of Points And Credentials: Canada Is Awash With Some Skilled Labour So Why Do We Still Let Them In?

I read this commentary in the Toronto Star and it seems it was lifted, some of it anyways, from my last blog post. As much as I'd like to think so I doubt that is the case. It's good to see that some sobering thoughts are printed in the Toronto Star on occasion instead of the usual irresponsible cheer leading that graces its pages.
There is no doubt that the initiative by federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Human Resources Minister Diane Finley to speed up the recognition of foreign credentials for new immigrants is a step in the right direction. But this initiative addresses the effect of the problem, not the cause. It addresses the issue of what to do when they are in Canada, not the question of why we have let them immigrate to Canada if their credentials are not recognized by the provinces and whether the provinces really need new immigrants with those credentials.

Our immigration system is allowing people with high academic credentials into Canada and helping them find jobs that don't exist while, simultaneously, disregarding the requests of industries that need different manpower and survive only thanks to the work done by illegal workers who can't be in this country legally because of an unfair point system.

Those requests for manpower are requests for cheap and plentiful labour.

The commentary points out that Ontario is flooded with imported skilled labour it never needed and doesn't need.

When we talk about foreign credentials, we automatically think about doctors who come from abroad and drive taxis in Toronto. But the reality is different. Only 200 doctors arrive every year. Rather, according to numbers from Ontario's immigration ministry that are only 2 years old, our province is flooded by engineers, accountants, lab technicians, IT experts and teachers we don't necessarily need.

As former Ontario immigration minister Mike Colle pointed out, we have 10,000 to 15,000 engineers arriving in Canada from abroad every year. At the same time, every year we have 4,000 to 5,000 new engineers graduating from our universities and the workforce can barely accommodate them.

One of the problems, according to the commentary, is the points system. As I have stated on this blog the system is outdated and arbitrary. It is also subject to meddling from non citizens as was the case when Canada tried to increase the score necessary for immigration as a means to control to the inflow of unnecessary skilled immigration. When the government made public its intentions to do this Ottawa was threatened with lawsuits from potential immigrants who passed on the lower score but failed at the higher score. Ottawa back down and the score remains at its low of 67.
Immigration policy for skilled workers should start before we let them into Canada, not when they are already here because of the point system – and when we don't know what to do with them.

Sound familiar? This was the sentiment I expressed in my previous post. We shouldn't be importing skilled immigrants if their credentials are not going to be recognized. And it may very well be that their skills do not meet Canadian standards. These complications facing immigrants should be settled before coming to Canada. If they fail the skills assessment then they should not allowed to land regardless of their application score.

The commentary focuses its criticisms for Ontario but it is a problem for all of the country. Too many is too many and Canada needs to cut back on the inflow of immigrants and rethink its selection criteria.

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