How much should it take to buy your way into the country?
Immigration is a touchy subject at the best of times, which is odd when you think that just about everyone, or at least their families, who lives here came from somewhere else. The difference to many though is how they crossed the border.
The federal government wants to make wealthy investors pay more for the privilege of immigrating to Canada. Canada lets in about 3,000 immigrant investors each year, the vast majority of whom come from Hong Kong.
Right now, applicants through this country's immigrant investor program contribute an $800,000 repayable loan to the government in exchange for immediate permanent residence. Canada also requires a net worth of $1.6 million, which has to have been obtained legally.
The plan is to at least double that amount. But is that enough? And should wealthy would-be immigrants be able to jump the line this way in the first place?
Of course, up-front money is not the only way to hop aboard. It looks like the queue process for skilled tradespeople is to be streamlined as well, making it easier for foreigners working in the trades to come to Canada and help fill perceives shortages, particulaly in resource-based industries.
The proposed changes will give this group a chance to be evaluated according to criteria that emphasizes work experience and practical training, instead of language and formal education.
That's likely to be less true for those applying for semi- and low-skilled jobs, however. This summer, they'll face more language tests, for instance, assesssing listening, speaking, reading and writing abilities.
“The changes seem to turn immigrants into economic commodities and don’t appear to take into consideration the family and societal values immigrants who may be excluded under the changes could bring to Canada,” says one Toronto lawyer.
“I understand not wanting to bring a group of people to Canada who are going to struggle and won’t succeed, but are we bringing in people just to have them pass through our system or are we bringing them in to build a social network of success that will further develop our country?
What do you think? Should economic concerns dictate whether people come to Canada? And, if so, to what degree?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money