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Canada's points based system needs rethinking

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A senior fellow at the Canada West Foundation in Calgary feels that Canada's points based system is failing in one of its fundamental objectives by not necessarily selecting immigrants who would make the greatest contribution to the nation.

Robert Vineberg was quoted in an article in the Vancouver Sun as saying that 'The original points system, introduced in 1967, was linked closely to labour market demand and an immigrant's potential to meet that demand.'

He went on to say that 'the system worked not only because it was simple, but also because the number of people around the world applying at the time roughly equaled Canada's ability to process cases.' However, applications quickly began to outpace the system's ability to process them.

The points system and the pass mark were adjusted in an attempt to control volume, with too much emphasis placed on formal education and training. By 2008, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) found themselves with a backlog of more than 600,000 cases.

The answer says Vineberg, is to overhaul the points-based immigration system so as to attach more importance to skilled workers who have learned a trade and should be able to immigrate to Canada.

This move would effectively turn back the clock by revisiting the early years of the systems existence when a foreign worker having skills in certain trades could indeed score sufficient points for admission. It would not set a precedent in today's world either as some countries, such as Australia, currently allow trades people entry under their skilled immigration schemes.

"The new amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act give Canada the opportunity to re-assume its leading role in immigrant selection by adopting a points system to meet today's needs and, in doing so, bring here the skilled immigrants Canada needs in the 21st century," Vineberg concluded.