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Blog > 2012 > Plus ça change…

Plus ça change…

February 28th, 2012

The Minister of Immigration has let it be known that we can soon expect changes in the way economic immigrants are selected under the Federal Skilled Worker program. We don’t yet know the exact details but from the dropped hints, you can pretty well rest assured that applicants in the professions will be required to prove their credentials meet Canadian standards and that more weight will be given to language proficiency.

Why these changes in particular? Because that’s what Australia does and there is a perception among our policy-makers that the Australian selection system produces better results than the current Canadian model. By “better results” I mean there is less of an earnings gap between newcomers and native-born Australians, when compared to Canada. So the reasoning goes that if we move closer to the way our friends Down Under do things, immigrants in Canada will have an easier time catching-up to the earning power of native-born Canadians. This assertion feels right but a recent paper out of the University of Waterloo debunks the proposition.

It is true that some years back Australia tightened its immigration program with respect to English fluency and professional credential equivalency and since then, the overall labour market success of immigrants has improved. So far, so good. However, the Waterloo study shows that when you dig beneath the surface, a different story unfolds.

The researchers tested the theory that Australia’s tightened immigration policy contributed to the success of immigrants in the workforce by looking at the labour market performance of three distinct groups of immigrants: men of British, Chinese and Indian origin. What they found was very interesting. As you would expect, British immigrants had little trouble being absorbed into the local labour market and quickly reached the earnings level of native-born Australians. However, the Chinese and Indian groups did not fare as well. Even though they were pre-screened for credential equivalency and language fluency their earnings lagged significantly. In fact, pre-screened Chinese immigrants in Australia not only did poorly when compared to native-born Australians, they also lagged behind Chinese immigrants in Canada, who are not vetted as carefully before their arrival. As for the Indian group in Australia, they were worse off than their countrymen who were admitted to Australia before the stiffer immigration rules.

The study concludes that there is no evidence to suggest that Australia’s tightened immigration policy helped newcomers get ahead in the workforce. What the policy shift did accomplish, however, was to change the ethnic composition of new arrivals in Australia. The tighter rules saw a tapering-off of Asian immigration and an influx of Brits. Like the rising tide that lifts all boats, so too have the average earnings of all Australian immigrants improved as a direct result of the recent British invasion. Today, UK nationals account for 20% of immigrants in Australia but less than 5% of Canada’s immigrant population.

So as the Australian model shows, unless our policy makers can come up with a program that attracts applicants who look a lot like their eventual Canadian employers and filters out most everyone else, don’t expect to close that earnings gap in Canada any time soon.



 
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10 Responses to “Plus ça change…”

  • On February 29th, 2012, Nawaz said ...

    I like the artical so much.

  • On February 29th, 2012, Anonymous said ...

    Very well explained. The problem is the wood is always missed for tree . Human tendency is to do what they love to do, seldom think about consequences. Personal liking overthrows all logic and ethics – the reality …

  • On March 2nd, 2012, Garba Malik said ...

    In as much as Canada is a desirable country of my dream, I will definitely, by God’s Grace ,make my desirability my availability.I am a 2nd second class upper division in French from the University of Lagos.Recently,I just concluded a masters degree programme in French language at the University of Ilorin.If given this priviledge to immigrate into Canada, I strong believe that this could fastract os hasten my Ph.D progromme. Thanks

  • On March 2nd, 2012, Anonymous said ...

    This change is like a 2 year pause to sponsor parents, hence “SUPER VISA” A sugar coated poison candy. where intention is different than stated purpose.

  • On March 8th, 2012, Anonymous said ...

    If the concern authority wants to impose new rule in terms of FSW, they should come up with the model asap so that new applicants can shape up themselves and their plan for application in advance..

  • On March 10th, 2012, Anonymous said ...

    Policy changes need to be carefully thought out and planned. Previous policies saw a huge influx of people who are not qualified, experienced and who “should not” (sic) be in Canada as per today’s standard. As a result, genuine, educated and experienced people who can contribute significantly to the business and economy are now struggling to get into the country. It is laughable that these people back in their own countries are paid peanuts compared to the less experienced and educated people who have made it big in Canada. Unfortunate results of how the system works. For professional people, 0nly 500 applicants will be considered from around the world, a measly proportion compared to other countries.

    Policy makers, please provide equal opportunity to aspiring would be Canadians. God bless Canada and it’s inhabitants!

  • On March 12th, 2012, Anonymous said ...

    I’m a Canadian living in Australia and I have been through the Australian immigration skilled migrant system. It is tough but I think it’s also fair and it makes a lot of sense. I think it would be good for Canada to tighten the system up a little bit.

  • On March 13th, 2012, Anonymous said ...

    The policy should be out on time so as to know what to do, please

  • On March 26th, 2012, Luke said ...

    There’s a lot of validity to this Aussie model. As Canadians, we have to provide the best opportunity to succeed to these extremely qualified immigrants

  • On April 9th, 2012, Anonymous said ...

    well agreed to certain points . Incase if AEO becomes compulsory for fsw , you could find lot of fake jobs on regular basis by immigration agent . credential assesment should be must for all

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