Can Canadian Professional Organizations Learn An Important Lesson For Their Members By Observing What An Australian Professional Organization (Representing Information Technology Workers) Has Recently Done?

January 25, 2006: Can Canadian Professional Organizations Learn An Important Lesson For Their Members By Observing What An Australian Professional Organization (Representing Information Technology Workers) Has Recently Done?


Can Canada's Professional organizations learn an important lesson for their own members by observing what an Australian Professional organization (representing Information Technology workers) has done for its members? asks Immigration Watch Canada.

At the same time, can all Canadian elected officials learn an important lesson for their Canadian constituents?

Speaking on behalf of technology workers, the Australian Computer Society has petitioned Australia's Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone, to reduce Australia's annual intake of overseas technology workers.

Among the reasons given for the call for a reduction, are the following:

(1) Thirty per cent of local technology graduates were looking for work in the industry a year after finishing their studies.

(2) The large numbers of overseas graduates competing for local jobs had led to fewer young Australians applying for computer courses at university.

(3) The unemployment rate among technology workers was twice the rate of other professions as a result of immigration policy.

Immigration Watch Canada notes that very few professional organizations in Canada have done studies on immigration's impact on the employment status and employment opportunities available to their members.

On the same employment issue, a major Australian study, “Economic Impacts of Migration and Population Growth”, says that the Australian system for granting permanent residency visas to foreign students graduating from technology programmes, could be creating 'unintended distortions and outcomes'. Among these are the following:

(1) Acting out of commercial incentives, Australian universities and technology schools were designing courses for foreign students so that these students could pass immigration entry criteria under Australia's immigration points system.

(2) The number of foreign technology students had grown from 5840 principal applicants for visas in 2001-02 to 11,460 in 2003-04.

(3) By finishing the courses, foreign students easily acquired the number of points to obtain work visas, but they had not obtained the skills necessary to work in Australia's IT industry. Nevertheless, they were competing for jobs with experienced Australian IT workers.

This national study on the impact of immigration on Australia's economy concludes that while immigrants obtain benefits from migrating to Australia, the economic benefits to Australians are very small.

The report projects the likely effects in Australia over the next 20 years of increasing Australia's current intake of skilled immigrants by 50%.

Professor Judith Sloan, a member of the group which produced the report, has stated, “It tells you that migration policy (immigration) is not an economic lever and you wouldn't use it as such.”

Immigration Watch Canada notes that, despite immigration industry claims of great economic benefits to host populations, reliable studies on the economic impact of immigration in Canada, Britain and the U.S. have reached similar conclusions.

Immigration Watch Canada also notes that Canada's professional organizations have been under considerable pressure from Canada's Department of Citizenship and Immigration to fast-track the credentials of foreign-trained professionals. They have also been under pressure from the ill-considered, large, cumulative intake of skilled worker immigrants over the past 15 years.

Furthermore, it has been common for Canada's immigration industry to pressure Canada's Immigration Minister and Canada's Standing Committee on Immigration to do what is in the interests of the immigration industry.

It is logical and necessary for Canada's professional organizations to consider, when appropriate, frank meetings (like those in Australia) with Canada's new Immigration Minister to counteract all of this pressure. The interests of their members and their professions are at stake.

(Sources: James Riley, “ACS Pushes Skilled Visa Cut”, January 17, 2006; and “More Skilled Immigrants Will Lift Economy, But There's A Catch, Analysts Say” by John Garnaut in The Sydney Morning Herald, January 17, 2006)

End of Press Release