The Conservative changes to the immigration system, which will be introduced over the next few months, will make English or French most important element under the new system. Much of the Conservatives’ new changes are based on the Australian system. Mikal Skuterud, an economist at the University of Waterloo, has studied the impact of Australia’s stricter language testing. He said Australia’s immigrant mix changed after testing was introduced, and might be expected to do the same in Canada.
OTTAWA – Canada’s activist Immigration Minister Jason Kenney never gives himself a moment’s rest as he constantly looks for ways to curtail immigration by finding loopholes and gaps that exist in already tight immigration system under the Conservatives.
is poised to overhaul the immigration
Kenney said he wants to give employers an important role in the selection of new Canadians and is also going to redesign the points system, on which immigrants are judged, to emphasize language ability (read English and French emphasis) and youth.
Kenney told the Globe and Mail newspaper in an interview Wednesday that he wants to create a new economic stream for trades people, who currently don’t qualify under Canada’s education-focused federal skilled worker program.
He also said employers will soon be able to hand-pick prospective immigrants and send them to the front of the line for assessment.
“Once people have been identified by employers, if they meet our other standards we would fast-track them into the country,” Kenney said. “Frankly, the employer knows better than a big bureaucracy whose skills are needed and will be relevant to the Canadian labour market the minute they arrive.”
The first of these changes will be introduced over the next few months. Ability in English or French, which according to government research shows is crucial to economic success in Canada, will become more important under the new system.
In future, professionals in language intensive fields, such as doctors and lawyers, will have to be fluent in an official language, Kenney said. That’s a significant shift from Canada’s current system, which rewards language ability but doesn’t set such a high benchmark. At the same time, Kenney said he wants a flexible language grid, so that applicants in fields that don’t require a high level of fluency aren’t automatically excluded.
Kenney also said he’ll be considering a pre-assessment system, as they have in Australia, that evaluates the credentials of skilled professionals before they immigrate to see whether they will qualify to work in Canada.
Another possibility floated by Kenney is to create what’s known as an expression-of-interest system, whereby employers and provinces could sort through and assess a pool of applicants. Promising candidates could then be streamed quickly to the head of the skilled worker program or a provincial nominee program.
Wealthy migrants looking to arrive under a redesigned investor class likely will have to invest significantly more than in the past. Kenney said the current requirement to invest $800,000 is too low and provides little value for Canadians.
Much of the policy thinking for these changes is based on the Australian system. Mikal Skuterud, an economist at the University of Waterloo, has studied the impact of Australia’s stricter language testing. He said Australia’s immigrant mix changed after testing was introduced, and might be expected to do the same in Canada.
He and his colleague Andrew Clarke found that the economic performance of immigrants, when compared to similar groups in Canada, didn’t improve after testing was mandated.