CIC News
Published: February 1, 1999

OTTAWA, January 6, 1999 -- The new directions for immigration and refugee protection legislation acknowledge that immigration has given Canada great strength by attracting diversely talented individuals.

At the same time, the current selection system for independent immigrant applicants needs to be updated and modernized to better enable these individuals to contribute to Canada's social and economic well-being.

"Our current selection system has served Canada well," said Minister Robillard. "But we must remember that it is the product of a time when we aimed at matching immigrant skills with specific Canadian labour market shortages. Today's world is more globalized, and the pace of technological change means that Canada's selection system needs to focus on flexible and transferable skills. We need to attract the types of immigrants who will help Canada meet the economic, social and cultural challenges of the 21st century."

The new selection model will place less emphasis on the current occupation-based system and focus more on choosing skilled workers with sound and transferable skill sets. More emphasis will be placed on education and experience. Other selection criteria would also be considered, such as language, age, job offers, and modified personal suitability criteria adjusted to emphasize flexibility, adaptability, experience, and a knowledge of Canada.

The business category would be streamlined and refined to require significant business experience, as well as education and language skills for Investor and Entrepreneur category applicants. Program integrity would be strengthened by adding a requirement that applicants establish the provenance of their funds.

"Highly skilled immigrants make an invaluable contribution to Canadian society," said the Minister. "As they integrate into communities, these immigrants become integral parts of Canadian society. They enrich the cultural and social fabric of our country."

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