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(JOHN LEHMANN/JOHN LEHMANN/GLOBE AND MAIL)
(JOHN LEHMANN/JOHN LEHMANN/GLOBE AND MAIL)

Earlier discussion

Finding ideal immigrants Add to ...

Jill Mahoney: Here are two related questions:

Guest: I realize this arguement is quite old, however I believe two things are important in terms of immigration. Immigrants should have qualifications earned in their home country given more credit and/or equivalencies done at the time they cross the border. This ensures that we know exactly where they fit in terms of qualifications when they arrive, allowing them to more quickly find an appropriate job and begin to contribute.

Jodpur: Having noticed that we let in educated workers who then can't get jobs in their field (either because their nation's education was substandard, or because of institutional discrimination here), I was trying to figure out why the government has this policy of seeking people with master's degrees to drive our cabs. The only thing I can think of is that the government feels these people will share a middle-class sensibility and their kids will be hard-working aspiring doctors and programmers, etc., whereas the poorer people from the developing world will not favour education in the household, etc. Do you think there is such a hidden motivation to control the demographics in this way?

Sharry Aiken: I think the overall problem which both these questions point to- is the lack of an adequate empirical basis for informing current policy directions. Evaluating credentials is already done - but the problem lies with the professional associations and prospective employers who insist upon parochial notions of "Canadian experience" as a pre-condition of employment. As for the government which sets the policy -- I actually don't think there's a "hidden" motivation at play in the sense you point to.

Jill Mahoney: Here's a follow-up question on that point:

Guest: How do you think we can better serve new immigrants in terms of getting their schooling from home recognized here in Canada? The old saying, "the taxi driver with the PhD" actually truely exists here. Should we be offering to have their education/experience appraised before they even arrive? I feel as though this would give them the "Canadian creditials"/equivalencies to get them started in becoming contributing citizens.

Sharry Aiken: As mentioned -- the government already scrutinizes the education and qualifications of prospective skilled workers. The problem lies not at the appraisal end -- but at the barriers immigrants encounter upon arrival. More work needs to be done intergovernmentally in this regard - working with the provinces and professional associations to address these problems. The federal government has made some efforts in the regard in the past few years - but not nearly enough.

Jill Mahoney: I'll use this time to post a few comments from people:

Guest: Almost all of the Canadian population arrived as immigrants, and those of us of French/British etc heritage, whose families arrived in the 17th,18th and 19th centuries, are beneficiaries of a time when almost anyone who could get here had a chance, and often could be offered land. How hypocritical to refuse people now who aren't "good enough" or wealthy enough!

Krish: hey im a immigrant from india, i came as a student did my masters in york and im a permanant resident here

Krish: and i think the immigration system is quite broken

Guest: what do you mean by an ideal immigrant? I mean from what perspective, an immigrant might look an ideal one from one perspective but not from other perspectives?

Guest: For Canada to attract the ideal immigrant, first the number must be lowered to around 70,000 immigrants yearly from 265,000. Canada simply does not have the capacity to throughly screen around 1million applictions.

Quest: Do you think that companies are lobbying for more immigrants to bring down salaries and wages of Canadian born workforce?

Jill Mahoney: Prof. Aiken, what do you think of arguments that Canada accepts too many immigrants?

Jill Mahoney: I'd note that the current standings of our (very unscientific) poll indicate that 53 per cent of respondents believe Canada takes too many immigrants. Thirty-seven per cent say the level is just right and 11 per cent think it's too low.

Sharry Aiken: Existing research tends to support the current policy regarding annual federal targets for immigration. The vitality of our communities - not just economically - depends upon it. Indeed we are not even meeting the target of immigration as 1% of our overall population - a number that many social scientists have identified as the minimum to address labour market needs and our aging population. Without current patterns of immigration - none of the Western countries - including Canada - would prosper.

J: How does Canada measure up to other countries regarding new immigrant screening and application?

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