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Is the elimination of the Federal Skilled Worker Program backlog a good solution?

The immigration Minister Jason Kenney proposed a solution for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) backlog. He wants to cancel applications that predated February 27, 2008 due to his goal of creating a fast and flexible economic immigration system to prioritize younger immigrants with Canadian experience and knowledge of French and English whose educational credentials are best suited to getting jobs. Some people consider that this solution is a betrayal by the government, while others believe that it will be beneficial for the Canada’s labour market; both points of view will be considered.

Once approved, more than 280,000 people who have been waiting years for a decision on their immigration files will be summarily eliminate from the list if a Canadian immigration officer did not make a decision on their case by the end of March. It is believed that the rules cannot be changed for those applications that are being processed. Applicants have invested time, money and energy, hoping to use their skills and qualifications in a country that has encouraged them to immigrate. The current Canadian immigration point system based on ability in English and/or French, education, work experience, age, whether they have a job already arranged in Canada and adaptability may have offered optimism to those applicants who are seeking a better life in Canada. Certainly, the refund of fees paid by applicants and the possibility to re-apply under the new eligibility criteria will not compensate the wasted time.

On the other hand, the Minister also proposed a new policy requiring applicants wanting to immigrate as federal skilled workers to have their foreign credential assessed and verified before their arrival in Canada. In fact, this would give future immigrants a better understanding of how their credentials would be measured against Canadian standards. Presently, there is a visible disparity between available jobs and the skilled workers admitted under the current point system, which justifies the solution to be taken by the Minister; as well as many highly educated and skilled immigrants who have their skills wasted in surviving jobs. These prospective immigrants may not be absorbed by the current labour market, whose needs reflect a different reality. Maybe a provincial selection will be able to identify local priorities more efficiently than the federal selection criteria. This has a global view of the country, while the other one reveals an existent shortage.

To conclude, although, I respect both arguments and consider their strengths; I think that it is not fair for over 280,000 people waiting for so long time to be easily removed from a list to solve a problem. At least, for these people could be given preference to apply the new eligibility criteria. Even being a permanent residence deemed a privilege to be granted by Canada only to those considered qualified; the solution of eliminating the Federal Skilled Worker Program backlog will affect Canada’s reputation abroad. People may not trust the process of immigration in Canada anymore and opt to immigrate to other countries that may make a good use of their skills and talents.

Paula De Cassia Pimpao
Immigration Program Student at Ashton College
under the tutelage of Jose Godoy Toku

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