New Skilled Worker Plans: Been There, Done That?

By Marwa Badra | April 2, 2012

Marwa Badra

Marwa Badra – Pace Law Firm: Late last week, I was hit with a serious case of déjà vu.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced plans to have a pre-arrival assessment of foreigners’ credentials before they arrive in Canada. Said Kenney: “The overall goal here is to better select and better support potential immigrants before they come to Canada, so they can hit the ground running once they arrive by integrating quickly into our labour market.”

Interesting. I recall filling in assessment forms for engineers up until 2002, when IRPA came in effect, as it was a documentary requirement for applicants with experience in a regulated profession. What goes around comes around, I suppose.

Although I do agree with Mr. Kenney that such a process may give newcomers a sense of how their credential stack up, it will not assist them in entering the labour market. Applicants will still have to undergo the necessary exams and licensing requirements in order to be able to practice a regulated profession in Canada. This hardly means that they will “hit the ground running” once in Canada.

I strongly agree with NDP immigration critic Mr. Don Davies. He put put in a motion urging the federal government to enter into “nation-to-nation treaty discussions,” to mutually recognize certain credentials, such as those from certain universities.

It appears that the purpose of a pre-arrival assessments is to screen skilled workers and limit the number of applicants. Okay. But let me ask this: if it did not work then, why will it work now?