Logically, the article states refugees should be dealt with separately since they are not an economic issue. Because immigrants have come into Canada regardless of whether we had a recession, or whether their skills were needed, many have fared poorly as a result and greatly increased govt costs. By linking immigration to employment needs, taxpayer costs will be much lower when recessions occur.
Immigrants who came prior to the 1980s got about nothing from the federal govt because work was waiting for them when they came. They knew that before they left. Seems like the federal govt knew what they were doing then. Time to give credit where credit is due.
I had been told by many men, "I came to Canada with $10 in my pocket, and found work the next day." That was their transition. Then they married Canadian women and assimilation for the next generation was a done deal.
Our immigration system needs a fix (external - login to view)
Diane Francis, Financial Post · Sept. 3, 2011 | Last Updated: Sept. 3, 2011 5:12 AM ET
Arecent study by two academics states the obvious: Immigration should fluctuate with economic conditions.
Its analysis showed how poorly most of Canada's newcomers have fared and, inappropriately, blamed recessions. But the cause of this growing problem is Canada's badly devised immigration system dating back to 1986.
The fix is simple, but politically perilous, which is why it hasn't been tackled by any federal government yet. It's time it was.
Immigration Canada should return to Manpower and Immigration Canada, which is how it operated for the decades between the Second World War and 1986. And the acceptance of refugees should be handled separately because that is a humanitarian issue and not an economic one.
Under the previous Manpower and Immigration system, newcomers were recruited based on economic conditions, or job needs, at the time in Canada. That resulted in fluctuations in numbers. One year, 60,000 or so would be admitted based on their skills and demand in the Canadian market for them. The next year the number of new immigrants would leap to 120,000 or so because of greater demand and the availability of a pool of appropriate workers.
Before 1986, immigration applicants would be evaluated under a point system, colour and racially blind. This was based on education, the ability to speak English or French, job skills, financial independence and professional standing. These people were matched to what Manpower determined was needed in the country.
If they had the requisite points, they were interviewed, their health records supplemented by a medical examination and financial information was gathered and checked.
The result was that those lucky enough to qualify got the green light and entered a Canadian labour market that needed what they had to offer. They found employment or, in many cases, were coming here to a job that had already been organized for them.
Then in 1986, the Mulroney government drove Immigration off the rails.
In the spirit of free trade, it decided that Canada needed 250,000 immigrants annually. This quota was unprecedented and was also decoupled from economic conditions or the manpower needs in the economy.
The bureaucracy couldn't process that number so the points system was more or less abandoned. To make the requisite numbers, the family reunification category was opened wide. The result is that for the past 25 years, more than half of those admitted into Canada have come in this way and would never have qualified under the old system. So it's little wonder their economic outcomes have been so abysmal, recession or no recession.
The 250,000 quota was crazy. It was equivalent to a CEO telling his human resources department to go out and hire 250,000 people in 12 months whether or not there was work for them and irrespective of their skills or lack of them.
Many of the 250,000 are minors and elders, and this has also imposed an enormous financial burden on Canada, notably its principal immigrant destinations of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
All have happily accepted the right to come, but allowing people into a sophisticated economy they are not suited to participate in fully is unfair to them and unfair to the country. For instance, last year some 250,000 immigrants or relatives were allowed into Canada, and that same year the country had to issue temporary work permits to another 150,000 skilled workers to do jobs that the immigrants, or Canadians, couldn't.
Refugees are an entirely different issue and decoupling them from immigration policy is not only appropriate but would remove the emotion that muddies any discussions about immigration.
A more appropriate study that academics, or the government, should do would be to undertake a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of the past 25 years of immigration. This would include the costs of health care, education, housing, welfare and other expenses. A second cost-benefit analysis should also be conducted evaluating the previous 25 years when the government responsibly insured success for newcomers by matching them to existing and future marketplace conditions.
Then, and only then, Canadians would have numbers to examine and those numbers would speak volumes.
Our immigration system needs a fix