Crawl Across the Ocean

Sunday, September 25, 2005


I don't know a lot about immigration. What little I know is that there seems to be two big problems with immigration these days.

1) The wait times for all the various procedures in immigrating are very long and seem to be getting longer. I've known lots of people forced to quit their jobs, many of whom eventually left the country, because they couldn't wait any longer for their permanent residency status or work visa to come through. I also know employers who have become reluctant / unwilling to hire anyone who isn't already a permanent resident because of the disruptions caused by these delays.

2) Recent immigrants are doing poorly from an economic perspective. According to Statscan, both Toronto and Vancouver would have seen declines in the poverty level if not for the influx of immigrants who have failed to get jobs with reasonable pay. By any measure, today's immigrants are faring signifcantly worse compared to either resident Canadians or the immigrants of the past.

Given these two problems, the recent announcement that the government was planning to dramatically increase the number of immigrants seems a little puzzling. Especially coming, as it did, without any statement that the government understood what was causing the existing problems or had any plan to deal with them, prior to aggravating them by increasing immigration.

I have no ideological opposition to increased immigration but, from a management perspective, if I had a factory which was unable to keep up with it's current production schedule and whose products were getting a poor and deteriorating response from customers, my bold initiative wouldn't be to announce that I was planning to send lots more raw materials to that factory.

Let's stop the cart, untie the horse, walk it around in front of the cart, retie the horse and then continue from there, shall we?


  • This announcement will only work *IF* the government also starts facilitating the domestic recognition of foreign credentials. We have far to many skilled immigrants who are unable to do the jobs they are trained for due to silly regulations.

    By Blogger Andrew, at 6:47 AM  

  • Yeah, no doubt Andrew. It's a tricky area with professional associations and provincial governments but it needs work, that's for sure.

    I just get the feeling there isn't anyone (or enough people) at the federal level connecting the dots on these issues.

    The article I linked to talks about shortages of truckers in New Brunswick and workers in Fort McMurray but all the government quotes in the article talk about getting more and more educated immigrants (while conceding that this has been ineffective).

    By Blogger Declan, at 8:44 AM  

  • Excellent points. I'm also fine with increased immigration (as long as it benefits Canada), but we don't want to be overloading an already beleaguered system.

    By Blogger Idealistic Pragmatist, at 9:07 AM  

  • What Andrew said!!!

    One big problem with immigration is that the feds control immigration, but the provinces, through oversight of of licensing bodies, control how well and how quickly professionally or academically qualified immigrants can assume positions commensurate with their foreign qualifications. I would give the whole program more credibility if it had started with a federal announcement that they were going to work with the provinces to find ways to speed up the qualification / credential recognition process. I would also think it more credible if they had announced a change in the point-rating system to put less emphasis on family reunification category and more on qualification and ability, whether those qualifications are to be a truck driver, an accountant, or a surgeon. Along with the increase in immigration, the government might usefully examine why there are shortages of certain trades and occupations - perhaps the labour market is teling us that we don't really need more truck drivers in New Brunswick.

    As it is, it seems to be more empty rhetoric from the Liberals - not that I would expect a groupd so dedicated to the common weal to parade a meaningless promise to boost their electoral fortunes... Sorry; I think my inner cynic got off to an early start today.



    By Blogger deaner, at 9:17 AM  

  • This is going off topic but do you really think this annoucenment will boost their electoral fortunes? I don't doubt that it was intended to, but I'm not so sure it will.

    If you combine the people who are generally against increased immigration with those who think we need to get our act together before increasing immigration, I think that adds up to a pretty big slice of the population.

    But I could be wrong, that's just a gut feeling more than anything.

    By Blogger Declan, at 10:53 AM  

  • a friend of mine married a brazillian neurosurgeon. the ontario college of physicians insisted that in order to practice medicine she would have to resit her entire residency. she got a job teaching at a dance academy. at least she ahs a sense of humour about things, "you just move your body in time with the music, its not brain surgery, its dancing." we have chronic shortages of medical professionals and we make top flight surgeons teach dance. ridiculous.

    By Blogger Lindsay Stewart, at 6:19 PM  

  • psa - yeah, I've heard a few stories along those lines. Hopefully the pressure will keep building until the federal and provincial governments are forced to take some real action. It's ridiculous.

    By Blogger Declan, at 9:36 PM  

  • To further highlight a problem. It will take 12 to 18 months to get citizenship for our daughter who was adopted in China! Why? There should be little to check, as she is only 18 months old. The US on the other hand issues citizenship to internationally adopted children on arrival to the US. If Canada did the same it would at least free up some people to look after other immigration issues.

    By Blogger Zip, at 7:27 AM  

  • Yeah, it just seems like there are a lot of processes in need of an overhaul. Trying to cope with a big increase in volume will probably just make it impossible for people to have time to get everything organized.

    By Blogger Declan, at 3:12 PM  

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