Not So Fast
January 1, 2015 will see the start of the new Express Entry selection system that will priority process the permanent resident applications for the most desirable economic immigrants.
Express Entry is the result of years of tinkering by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, under a Conservative government that is determined to see Canada come out ahead in the global competition for top-tier foreign talent.
Some, like the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, are in favour of the new selection system for the central role that employers can play. While not everyone who receives an invitation to apply under Express Entry will have a validated Canadian job offer, virtually everyone with a validated job offer will receive an invitation to apply.
Others, like some professors at Ryerson University, decry the coming selection model as one that mainly serves employers and for its lack of transparency. They call it a throwback to the Railway Act of 1925, which gave Canada’s two railways pretty much full sway over immigration policy.
No matter the side we’re on, there is a common issue that merits more discussion. I am referring to the concept of program integrity, or in other words, the ability of the new immigration selection system to thwart the inevitable fraudulent attacks that are sure to come.
Let’s put this in some perspective. A validated Canadian job offer in a skilled position is a ticket to permanent residence. In similar circumstances under the U.S. immigration selection system, would-be immigrants are paying middlemen upwards of $50,000 for a job that comes with a U.S. Green Card. Should we expect anything different?
People in this industry know very well that immigration and fraud go hand-in-hand, notwithstanding government efforts to crack down on perpetrators. Sure, we can have laws on the books in Canada, but they are of no use in the countries where money exchanges hands.
As the name implies, Express Entry means just that. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is aiming to issue permanent resident visas to invited candidates within six months of receiving a completed electronic application. Few candidates are ever interviewed. From a program integrity and security perspective, that worries me. I understand that big and small businesses want their labour here quickly, but at what cost to the rest of us?
There is a need for rigorous anti-fraud protocols as part of the new immigration selection system, and I, along with most Canadians, would like to hear more about that from the people in charge.