The recent decision of Canada’s government to return hundreds of thousands of unprocessed immigration applications is sparking outrage among the immigrant community and their advocates.
In a recent editorial for the Financial Post, immigration lawyer Colin R. Singer explains why the decision not only goes against the liberal democratic values that this country stands for, such as justice and equality, but also does very little to address the underlying challenges facing Canada’s immigration and labour systems today.
While visible improvements in processing times have been noted since the implementation of new legislation in 2008, to return all those applications sent beforehand sends a very mixed message to the international community from a country that supposedly does not reward “queue-jumping” while trumpeting warnings against “crooked” immigration consulting.
Another issue of concern is the government’s open admission that they are modeling such policies on immigration systems from countries on the opposite side of the globe, such as Australia and New Zealand.
Among the many flaws in such a strategy are the fact that those countries attract a large Anglophone immigration population, where Canada’s sources reflect a much more diverse linguistic and cultural base.
Furthermore, New Zealand has a national credential recognition program in place whereas Canada leaves such matters to the provinces, which often in turn leave it to professional organizations. It would make much more sense, then, to provide the provinces with the power to select which immigrants to accept based upon their specific labour needs, rather than leaving such powers centralized.
At the moment the federal government controls which skilled workers are able to enter Canada, having narrowed the list to only 19 qualifying occupations in 2008. This means that, of the 300,000 whose applications are being returned, only a small fraction will be able to re-apply.
“It is absolutely unfair,” said Yan Xu, an English teacher from China who, like many, applied for immigration in 2006 putting future plans on hold. “What we lost is not only money, but our youth, our life and our dreams.”
Sources: Financial Post