Skilled Worker Backlog 7

Canada has been and continues to be the top destination for immigrants not only from the poor countries of Africa or Asia but also the industrialized countries of Europe and the United States. For a few decades, Canada has implemented the Federal Skilled Workers program where foreign immigrant applicants are assessed on their ability to work and contribute to the economic wellbeing of Canada on a point system matrix that considers several factors such as age, education, arranged employment (if any), language ability, work experience and their spouses’ or common law partners’ educational background. This system has been widely popular, so popular in fact that there is a backlog of cases that if processed incrementally would take up to 2018 to clear up. Minister Kenney has proposed that all applicants from a period before 2008 be eliminated from the queue simply by asking them to reapply again. By a wave of the hand the Minister has reduced the backlog to a more manageable 18 months and with that shattered the dreams of the affected applicants who have patiently followed the prescribed procedures now being shamelessly discarded by the same government that required them in the first place.

While I understand and agree with the results I disagree with the manner it is being implemented based on the following points. First, it is arbitrary, second it is unfair.

It is arbitrary because it sets a cutoff for a specified year that distinguishes those who have an opportunity to remain as applicants and those who have top restart the process. It is discriminatory because it targets a specific group of people who by reason of time and place in the queue have been effectively disenfranchised. Reports have it that this proposal will be the subject of class action suits led by immigration lawyers who believe this action is unacceptable.

It is unfair because it effectively punishes those who patiently followed the rules set forth by the Canadian government to process this immigration stream. Why punish those who followed the rules? This would engender the idea that the Canadian immigration system is so arbitrary and unpredictable that it would be easier to just pay a human smuggler to smuggle you across a leaking ship with the hope that once you land anywhere near Canada then you will be treated as a refugee thereby cutting through the long queue of people who patiently followed the regulations knowing that in Canada it is considered rude to cut through the queue. The unintended effect of this action would be to ruin the credibility and reputation of the Canadian immigration system where the end justifies the means. Rather than attracting skilled immigrants who can contribute to Canada’s economic development this system will attract more people who will use the refugee and asylum route to get in Canada. That to me is the bigger problem.

Tony Santiago
Immigration Program Student at Ashton College
under the tutelage of Jose Godoy Toku

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