New immigration rules tough on skilled workers

The regulations could freeze out the people who could help solve the brain drain to the U.S., critics say

New federal rules could keep thousands of skilled workers out of Canada.

Immigration lawyers fear long-term problems as particularly highly skilled workers are blocked from coming to this country. They say the regulations freeze out the very people who could help stop the U.S. brain drain.

According to the Montreal Gazette, examples of would-be immigrants who would no longer qualify to come to Canada include an MIT mathematics graduate with two years of work experience and a Stanford University graduate who speaks fluent English and has two years of experience as a top-flight computer programmer at Microsoft.

Critics say the government is trying to clear the backlog of 140,000 immigration applications awaiting final interviews. At the same time, it intends to keep candidates’ $500 application fees.

The backlog comprises mostly people from Asia, China and the Middle East.

The new regulations place more emphasis on the client’s knowledge of English or French, and what the government calls “adaptability” on the part of the immigrant. The regulations could limit the flow of immigrants from non-English or –French speaking countries.

Immigrants who are fluent in either official language get 16 points. Those who are not get zero to eight points, depending on their level of fluency.

According to the Gazette, even if a 30-year-old applicant has a PhD, several years of work experience and gets the full 10 points for adaptability, the person will fail to meet the standards if they are not fluent in English or French.

The candidate's interview will be more important than ever if he does not qualify for many "points."

The new tougher criteria are retroactive, so that thousands of people who have already passed the initial application stage may no longer qualify to get into Canada.

The new rules stipulate that all final interviews must be done by June 28, when the new law comes into effect. After that, candidates must reapply. However, it is unrealistic to expect that the interviews can be completed in time, say critics.

The proposed regulations have to go through a 60-day period during which Canadians can suggest changes, but it is likely they will go through mostly unscathed since they have already undergone an extensive vetting process.

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