The Economist: ‘Canada’s immigration policy: No country for old men’

IN 1967 Canada invented a way to remove discrimination and prejudice from the process of choosing which immigrants to let in. The points system ignored an applicant’s race and country of origin (until then it helped to be white). Instead, it rewarded education, fluency in English or French and work experience. With the change, Asians supplanted white Europeans as the dominant immigrant group…

…Canada remains relatively enlightened on immigration. The ruling Conservative Party may be the only right-leaning party in the Western world firmly in favour of it. While European countries look for ways to close their doors and the United States argues about how many illegal immigrants to deport, Canada recently lifted its target for new permanent residents from 265,000 a year to 285,000. Chris Alexander, minister for immigration, says he expected a fuss when the announcement was made in October. It never came. “People thought it was the right thing to do,” he says.

But Canadian policy is changing. Since winning power in 2006 the Conservatives have moved away from the idea of letting in people based on their “talent for citizenship” to admitting workers with job offers. On January 1st the government moved further in that direction. A new “Express Entry system” greatly increases the weight given to offers of employment for people applying to become permanent residents…

But critics worry that in shifting from a policy based on civic values to one governed by commercial logic, Canada is making the system more vulnerable to fraud and discrimination. Though more open than other right-of-centre parties, Canada’s Conservatives have been characteristically hard-nosed about letting in refugees and immigrants’ family members.

The original points system had flaws. Immigrants escaped discrimination at the entry gates but often faced it when they tried to find a job. Employers did not always recognise skills and education acquired abroad, especially outside Europe. Doctors ended up driving taxis; architects toiled at convenience stores. The unemployment rate among immigrants is nearly 50% higher than that of Canadian-born workers…

…The changes amount to a privatisation of immigration policy and could reintroduce discrimination, says Jeffrey Reitz of the University of Toronto. “The points system, with all its flaws, had some value,” he believes. Visa officers fear that an employer-led system will be “fraught with fraud”, according to a survey commissioned by the immigration department. They worry that non-existent employers will offer fictitious jobs to residents’ friends and families.

Immigrants who are tied to an employer for a fixed period are at risk of abuse. Unlike the old points system, which is neutral on race and nationality, the new one makes it possible for employers to discriminate in ways that are hard to detect. English-speaking employers in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver give preference to job applicants with English-sounding names, according to a study published in 2011…

…The Conservatives’ turn towards employers goes along with a tougher line on refugees and elderly people who want to join their families in Canada. The old points system gave applicants credit for family members in Canada (under “adaptability”); the new one does not. Jason Kenney, who preceded Mr Alexander as immigration minister, tightened admissions of refugees on the grounds that too many “abuse our generosity or take advantage of our country”. A court ruled that his cuts to spending on refugees’ health care were cruel and unconstitutional, a decision the government is appealing against. Mr Alexander is under fire for agreeing to admit just 1,300 refugees from Syria in 2014. He insists that Canada taking more than its share given the size of its population. About 2,400 Syrian refugees now are in Canada and the government has promised to take in an additional 10,000 over the next three years.

The new Canadians are younger and better educated than ever before, boasts Mr Alexander. “Our immigrants have a much higher incidence of post-secondary degrees than the Canadian population at large,” he says. That bodes well for Canada’s future. But the idealism of the past is fading.

  • Nearly 300K immigrants this plus Temporary foreign workers. Something is wrong here.

    • Frau Katze

      He’s says there’s been no opposition. How can we change that?

      • Achmed

        Canadians are too lazy to work and too demanding of employers.

        All parties support having more immigration.

        • DD_Austin

          Otherwise slavery is cool, eh Mohammed?

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            Could Prince Andrew be wrong?

        • Mickey Oberman

          An unbiased opinion without doubt.

          Sixty odd years of Pseudo Palestinians lounging about with their hands outstretched for alms. Always more alms.
          But never an effort to work to build their own country.

          • lucius

            And the Lebanese Canadians by convenience. I’ve known a few and have no use for them.

      • Alain

        Sadly no federal political party or even politician will listen to the people on this, so perhaps that is why he claims there has been no opposition. Still I beg to differ since the few times the public has been allowed input via survey on immigration the majority remain openly opposed. These results are ignored by the government, but again that does not prove there is no opposition.

      • eMan14

        We just have to get people to write. He obviously doesn’t read this blog, or any other similar one. We need to introduce him and others in government to it.
        Write, call, tweet, or whatever it takes. And use your vote wisely. Or as a threat. Problem is as others have pointed out. There is little to choose from.
        Be a pain in their collective ass.

        • Frau Katze

          Even organizing demos like PEGIDA seems beyond us. Part of the problem may be that it is really the presence of large numbers of Muslims driving it. There’s not many on the West Coast, almost none in Victoria.

          There are immigrants, but they don’t seem to standing out as problems.

          It may also be the that Muslims in Europe are different: they seem very un-integrated. For example, in the US, they are a more prosperous than average group. Lots of professionals.

          • k

            They act the same in Canada. Central Canada is experiencing a rape epidemic…you just don’t read about it in the newspapers. You probably have it out West too…it’s just under raps… our poor girls. Start investigating. I’m sure you will discover it.

    • k

      AND!!! They are ALL YOUNG & SAME GENERATION! = problem


      Just like in the 70’s when the Universities and businesses all GREW!!!
      = the 60’s generation got ALL the jobs and GEN-Xer’s had to really scramble oooooh the # of times I heard my friends say
      “I’ve got more qualifications and it’s taken me longer to get where I am and here the 60’s generation let their generations kids fast-forward to where I am with less qualifications!”


  • Raymond Hietapakka
  • Drunk_by_Noon

    As long as this new plan does not get in the way of me immigrating to Canada to get my FREE Master’s degree while absolutely refusing to do any work, and collecting welfare.
    I’m a political refugee escaping my government’s sexist, racist, and warmongering policies, or something…
    That spot on your sofa is still open, right Cat Man?
    My Santeria alter should not take up too much room and Pip should just love all that fresh chicken from my daily animal sacrifices.
    You have decent cable TV, right?

    • Frau Katze

      You might suffer from climate shock though. Toronto compared to So Cal? Not good.

      • Drunk_by_Noon

        Crank that furnace!
        Canada is a socialist country, so that means everything is free, right?

    • Canadian

      Just yell “refugee”. No need to tell from what.
      Same TV as you have plus a few channels that are even worse.

      • Drunk_by_Noon

        I was worried I was going to be stuck watching “Corner Gas” reruns.
        Thank God for American cultural and media imperialism!
        Which, when you think about it, is a pretty weird thing. It really struck me in Norway with half the country watching English-language TV reruns from two or three years ago. It’s like going to someone’s house and finding all of your old magazines on their coffee table.
        It makes no sense when you really think about it.

        • Canadian

          You could still watch Corner Gas, or even worse, a brit thing that nobody can understand unless they`re from “oveh theh”.

  • WalterBannon

    Chris Alexander, minister for immigration, needs to loose his seat in the next election…. And be hung for treason.

    • Pontifex Maximus

      The Proscription List just keep on getting longer!

  • dance…dancetotheradio

    Where’s the category for white south African farmers?

    • Drunk_by_Noon

      Is “dead” a protected group yet?

  • Alain

    Any sane immigration policy must discriminate. It must discriminate against criminals, those who will be a burden on the country, those who are incapable with a liberal free society and those who are diseased. Considering the results since the removal of discrimination is evidence that the whole system is broken beyond repair by mere tinkering. The article also shows that the writer cares not for the well being of Canadians or the country.

  • Jay Currie

    If you dropped a negative 60 points for “Islamic country of origin” and another negative 60 for “wife in a bag” we’d be getting somewhere.

    It’s time to discriminate. Hard.

  • Crusader

    Heres a free ebook you might like

    • Drunk_by_Noon

      WTF was THAT!?

      • Frau Katze

        Is he a spammer?

  • Maurixio Garcia S

    Another problem here in Canada is ,couples are not having children at all,instead they love dogs,the government should come up with an idea that all couples should have their own children.

    • Pontifex Maximus

      Feminism must be obliterated in order to achieve a much higher birth rate; heck, all variations of Marxism must also be annihilated…and that is just for starters!

      • Drunk_by_Noon

        You do have a point in the sense that adding all those women to the labor pool has effectively cut wages for everyone.
        Now both parents have to work for the same standard of living that was enjoyed by only the husband working before.
        If nothing else, Feminism is bad economics.

        • lucius
          • Drunk_by_Noon

            Yes, I do believe that “Feminism” is absolutely anti-male, but it hasn’t served women too well either.

            In fact, if I was a guy who really HATED women, I don’t think I could cook up something worse than modern feminism.
            It essentially serves man-hating lesbians that were never going to get married anyways, and so (it seems) that they thought up something to ruin it for all the rest of the women.
            When you think about it, feminism is a pretty destructive and toxic belief system.

        • b_marco

          …IF ONLY it were nothing else.

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            Oh no, there are other things too, but that is a huge biggie.

    • eMan14

      Good in theory, but hard to put into practice. Some members of our society may like more sex, but it takes two to tango. And oddly enough, the sex has to be between 2 opposite sex adults.
      Financial incentives can help. But it’ll take much more than that.

  • Pontifex Maximus

    Balkanization beckons!

  • Mickey Oberman

    Mr. Harper should reexamine his decision to open our gates to 3,000 Syrian Muslims.

    Surely the Charlie Hebdo episode, if nothing else, should cause the government to rethink admitting any more Muslims – potential terrorists.

    All of Europe is now in existential danger because of its generous welcomes it gave to Muslims.

    Discrimination? You bet. Also a desire to keep Canada the wonderful country that it is and not allow terror to prevail.

  • Canadian

    He`s full of it! We were never told, we were never asked for our opinion!

  • justme2001

    Canada is a wonderful country. Don’t screw it up by importing trouble.