Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Point System and Immigration Reform

There is considerable debate about the Point System proposal for immigration reform. The Migration Policy Institute website does a good job in giving a global perspective on the issue. Who are the winners and losers? Winners - Immigrants with skills, English abilities and education Losers - Immigrants with low skills, poor English abilities and poor education Employers might not like this proposal as it takes away their control of the process, ie, who they want to employ and puts the decisions in a centralized system. People with extended families might not like this proposal because the preference for families, primarily nuclear families are embedded in the point system and do not have a separate category like the present system. People who want a bigger say in who gets into this country will like this system because it puts a premium on skills and other criteria deemed important. One thing we have to watch out for is that we do not get boxed into a rigid system. The Toronto Star reported that the point system brought high skilled people to Canada but could not get them jobs. Many high skilled immigrants are thus under employed. Consequently Ontario is pushing for a system where they could bring in more workers more fine tuned to the current needs of the region. Ultimately this is the question of the American identity - should we have an open immigrant system like the days of old or should we control it according to some value system or the capacity of our economy to absorb the immigrants? This is not an easy answer - but one way or the other we need comprehensive immigration reform that is open, flexible, fits in with the traditions of this country and considers the capacity of the country to present meaningful opportunities to the immigrants searching for a better life.