Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Canada department has begun a consultation process to determine what changes are needed to help it select immigrants most suited to integrating into Canadian life.
CIC wants to hear from stakeholders and members of the public after an evaluation found that skilled workers fared better in Canada than their predecessors because of stronger language skills and arranged employment.
‘To stay competitive globally, we have to make sure the skilled immigrants we choose are the ones that we need, and the most likely to succeed when they get here. Research points to some key changes that will help us meet those goals,’ said Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.
‘There’s no shortage of people who want to come to Canada and we should frankly do all we can to attract the best and brightest. There are certain traits which seem to be more heavily correlated with higher income and better employment, such as younger immigrants and higher levels of language proficiency,’ he explained.
‘A welder from Poland doesn’t need to have university level French, but somebody expecting to work as a medical doctor does. Perhaps the points system should be more intelligent and flexible to correspond. The input received through the consultations process will be taken into account in the development of new regulations. The proposed changes could place more emphasis on youth and language ability and are expected to increase the number of skilled trades people,’ he added.
CIC will consult on: requiring federal skilled workers to have a minimum level of language proficiency; making the programme more accessible to skilled trades people, technicians and apprentices; placing greater emphasis on younger immigrants who will adapt more easily and be active members of the work force for a longer time frame; redirecting points from work experience to other factors that better contribute to success in the Canadian work force and in the reduction of potential for fraudulent job offers.
The current Federal Skilled Worker Programme was introduced in June 2002 under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The programme is based on an objective and transparent points system, which considers factors such as language skills, age and education in the selection of immigrants. The system aims to be more effective at selecting those who will succeed economically.
In person consultation sessions will take place with key stakeholders in five cities across the country and a summary of the results of this process will be published in spring/summer 2011.