Immigration Policies Need Serious Review

Immigration policies need serious review

The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Friday, August 08, 2008

Re: We are a land of immigrants, Aug. 6 .

It was to be expected that Margret Kopala's excellent column calling for a moratorium on immigration would draw criticism from representatives whose role is to minister to new arrivals having trouble becoming established in their new homeland.

However, the arguments presented by Carl Nicholson and Tyler Meredith in their opinion article that there is “no way, particularly given our province's economic condition, that we can afford to turn away anybody who wants to make our community their home,” reveals a common misconception about the value of immigration to our economy and labour force.

First, only about 18 per cent of the immigrants we are accepting are selected for their education, skills and training and even these are not doing well after arrival, primarily because they lack language skills and the experience gained in their own countries is often of little value here. The vast number of immigrants are sponsored by relatives of people already in Canada or are refugees, asylum seekers or humanitarian cases. They need not meet any economic criteria and their cost to our economy is much greater than the benefits they bestow.

Moreover, Ms. Kopala did not call for an end to immigration but only a moratorium until the enormous 950,000 backlog of people who have all qualified to enter can be fairly dealt with.

Her additional plea for a time out until we can figure out a better way of dealing with immigration other than pouring a quarter of a million newcomers into our three major urban centres every year deserves serious attention by all of our political parties.

James Bissett,

Mr. Bissett is a former executive director of the Canadian Immigration Service.