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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

If getting to the Budget vote is any indicator...

...Then it's going to be a long time before Canada's New Government (oh wait - they aren't new anymore) gets around to really doing something effective, as opposed to political, about the immigration backlog.

There's nothing really new to report in the current immigration debate. Every few days, a new article comes out in the Star or the Globe and Mail, citing immigration experts who all seem to agree that Finley and Harper have got it wrong. Their ad-hoc approach to immigration management does nothing to deal with the current backlog of over 950K applicants (it would only be retroactive back to February of this year) and it fact, may divert resources from the backlog to deal with current demand in areas the Minister identifies as those classes to be focused on.

Their appear to be a couple of areas of consensus emerging in the debate that would begin to solve the backlog and create a policy that would benefit the nation's immigration goals:

1. Staff up - hire more processors to deal with the backlog and get fair decisions made on those who have already applied
2. Increase the number of immigrants allowed each year - Canada has acknowledged that it's economic future, and the quality of retirement of it's boomer generation depends on a growing population that can only be supported by immigration. So, let us in!
3. Pre-qualify/pre-screen/prepare - Set up a system that allows economic class applicants to get in line only after they know they meet certain standards for immigration (language, education, professional training). Their time and Canada's aren't wasted. Coordinate these programs closely with Canada's trade and professional licensing organizations and demand for professionals will be met, and fewer doctors will be driving taxis.

But if the leaders of the nation wont even get to a vote on funding the government, what chance does such a coordinated program have? I guess time will tell.

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