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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Kenney sneaks in changes to Federal Skilled Worker program

While Canada was distracted with the recent G8 and G20 meetings in Toronto, Jason Kenney, Harper's Immigration Minister, held a barely noticed press conference where he announced Tory changes to the Federal Skilled Worker program. What has changed? Here's a summary

  • Instead of 38 approved professions, now there are only 29
  • In any category, only 1000 applicants will be accepted per year
  • There is an overall cap of 20,000 applications per year (do the math and see that that means 9000 additional positions will not be created)
  • Applicants must now submit the results of a language test, either English or French - even if they come from an English or French-speaking country

So, what's really going on here? Well, let's call it trimming the Federal budget for one thing. Kenney has consistently advocated ways to reduce the immigration rolls at a cost to potential immigrants. Fewer opportunities and added fees are always great ways to negatively influence behaviour. What else is happening? Just another example of Canada's pro-immigration policies being overseen by anti-immigration bureaucrats.

Something else to really note here: The hidden story in this release is the news on Investor Class applicants. The Harper government is proposing that these applicants now need to have a net worth of $1.6M and be willing to drop $800K into the Canadian economy (double the old requirements in both cases).

I don't get it: if someone is willing (under the current program) to come and drop $400K into Canada to start new businesses or invest...the plan is to tell them "no?" That this class has any limitations in the number of applicants at all is crazy. Economies are built on investors willing to take a chance.

You have to wonder what it will take to get the opposition's attention in Canada. Harper seems to pretty much do as he wants.

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