A Fly in the Ointment
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is on a mission to transform Canada’s immigration policy. If all goes according to plan, gone will be the days when ambitious immigrants start near the bottom and work their way up the ladder of economic success. The new skilled worker immigrant will be younger and a well-trained tradesperson or a highly educated professional type with flexible human capital and a high level of language skills. For good measure, many applicants will need a prearranged job to be eligible for Canadian immigration.
Not surprisingly, Canadian commentators have generally reacted favourably to the idea of prioritizing would-be immigrants with prearranged employment. On the surface, it makes a lot of sense, but dig deeper and you will behold a whole lot of rot. The long and short of it is that employment-based immigration is rife with fraud and corruption.
Don’t take my word for it. Instead, read the comments below from the people who ought to know because they are on the front lines working for Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
The Canadian Visa Office in Hong Kong reported that, when it conducted verifications on Skilled Worker visa applications with prearranged employment between 2008 and 2010, only 22% of the cases were shown to be genuine. About 60% of the cases suggested some form of misrepresentation. The conclusion was that “there are serious problems with the validity of job offers in the Skilled Worker program”.
The Canadian Visa Office in Taipei reported in March 2010 that “it is apparent that there are programme integrity concerns present in the Arranged Employment movement”. The report examined 31 cases and found that “the overwhelming majority of applicants who were issued visas in this category did not subsequently enter into the arranged employment, in the majority of cases because the applicants simply failed to show up”.
The Canadian Visa Office in New Delhi reported in January 2010 the results of an investigation and stated that “the exercise examined in detail more than one third of all visa cases involving approved Arranged Employment applicants who became Permanent Residents of Canada within the past year […] Fewer than 40% of the applicants contacted were employed for even four months by the Arranged Employment employer after arrival, and over 60% of the cases never worked for the prospective employer in Canada”. This suggests that nearly 90% of the Arranged Employment applications submitted did not meet the program intent.
Source for the above: Lexbase (through Access to Information). To read the full report click here.
The list goes on and on because people really want to come to Canada and big bucks are involved. There’s no reason to think that opportunists are limited to Hong Kong, Taipei, and New Delhi. You can be certain that Canadian jobs are for sale on the streets of Moscow, Dubai, and London as well. It’s just too good to pass up, especially when most of the money exchanges hands beyond the reach of Canadian provincial restrictions on recruiting. And this is only one aspect of the fetidness lurking beneath the veneer of prearranged jobs.
Consider also the plight of motivated young workers in developing countries. Some of them will agree to mortgage a good chunk of their economic future to pay a huge sum to a middleman for a chance at Canadian permanent residency and an entry-level position in some Canadian business. Again, for the most part, all this goes on in faraway places, where Canadian provincial labour rules are scoffed at, if they are thought of at all.
And don’t think this nefarious activity is limited to employers of the mom and pop variety. A few years back, that 800 pound gorilla, Maple Leaf Foods, was caught up in a scandal involving the importation of Chinese workers to their facilities in Brandon, Manitoba. It turned out that these foreign labourers paid $10,000 each for the opportunity to do a job that few Canadians were interested in.
So, as Minister Kenney continues to extol the virtues of his new and improved employment-based immigration policy, keep in mind that surface stuff can be deceiving.
P.S: A few years back, CIC imposed more stringent language requirements on prospective Federal Skilled Worker applicants. Since then, these newer arrivals are doing relatively well economically, without prearranged employment. There’s nothing wrong with raising the bar, but our government should give more thought to the idea of closely tying a successful application to a factor that is so often abused.