Does Canada have a merit based immigration system?

I saw Trumps proposal today and I looked up things similar in other countries and Canada came up. Is there a difference between merit based and point based immigration systems?

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I’d say a points-based system is a way of implementing a ‘merit’ based system.

It would seem ultimately any ‘merit’ based system would need to be points-based whether you called the various factors ‘points’ or not. You’d still need some way to assess whether any given prospective immigrant had sufficient ‘merit’.

You do end up with some very silly systems, for example the UK has or had a visa available for people of exceptional talent or promise in some field as essentially a way to allow top artists or sports people or world-class academics, etc. a way to get in.

To qualify under that route you need to achieve 75 points in the relevant criteria and not otherwise be disqualified.

The only criterion is that you have an endorsement from one of a limited number of recognised bodies that you qualify as exceptionally talented or promising. That gets you - 75 points.

So it could just as well be one point but it sounds better to say you need 75. Makes it seem like more of a hurdle than 1.

It’s all a bit Spinal Tap.



Ya… I tried to immigrate to Canada and I knew they had a points based system (didn’t know if merit based was different). I’ve decided to reapply when I get my two B.S. degrees this summer because it’ll give me more points and the choice to move to Canada given anything in the future. I’ve been saying for years though the US should use a similar system. I can’t chastise Trump for this if he’s looking to possibly patch our broken immigration system with something similar to Canada’s. I think if he’s serious in trying to fix our immigration system with something like Canada, I think democrats should be bi-partisan in trying to pass something that works better than the current system because think about it here. If we fix it now, he can’t say it’s an issue later come election time. We can always amend the law if something doesn’t quite work.

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Canada’s merit program is meant for professionals looking to immigrate to the country. But Canada also allows family sponsorship and refugees under different programs, which is what Trump is looking to eliminate in the United States. So you won’t be able to immigrate to the United States at all unless you are a qualified professional.


My guess is that he’s trying to privilege people from Europe, and why the hell would they want to come here, getting how regressive we’re becoming… Many people come to the US from the global south precisely to get the sort of education that they can’t get at home in the first place. And when they come, they might not have the “points” needed to turn that into a green card/citizenship…

Actually, I wonder if they intend to change the rules for student visas, too? :thinking:


I don’t exactly have a problem with encouraging merit based immigration. My problem is that the total number of visas remains the same, therefore, the merit base system replaces the family based system. Numbers I heard this morning in NPR suggested we are going from 66% family-based / 33% merit-based to 33% family based and 66% merit of some sort. Considering this:

we need immigrants to maintain a viable economy. And the fire this is taking from the right because it does not choke off legal immigration just proves that they have no idea how the whole thing works. Add in the complete neglect of the DACA kids and you have a stupid proposal going nowhere. This is all about talking points and nothing about accomplishing anything.


Its a deeply bigoted system that only serves to drastically reduce legal immigration in general.
“Merit” here means from a developed country, preferably white and English speaking. In other words very few of the types of people who actually want to immigrate here.

About 60% of our legal immigrants are here on family based visas. This accounts for also the majority of small business entrepreneurship in the nation as well. People who come here as families do well here.

Numbers for employment visas depend largely on the country one is coming from and whether they are developed and invested in the US. The system for those is very contradictory and counterproductive.

What would make sense if one is looking for merit-based immigration would be to grant temporary residency to foreign students after graduation that can be converted to a green card if one finds work here by a certain time. But Trump is a white supremacist at heart and would never consider something that sane.


The problem is “merit based” from a non-white supremacist point of view is that the people most likely to be considered “of merit” to such systems are the ones least likely to immigrate here in any real numbers needed to overcome demographic decline.

The whole notion is asinine in that it ignores how immigrants improve their lives here with usually greater access to education and economic opportunities. It also ironically would have kept Trump’s family out of the country if it were applied back in the day.


Well, there is one positive argument for it, then. No, I agree. My point was that encouraging highly skilled folks to come here would be a good idea if it were in addition to not instead of family migration. But that is not where he is talking. Of course, as you pointed out, he is a white supremacist and so…


We have special talent visas already, but those are for celebrities.

Employment visas could be a form of merit based immigration if they weren’t so beholden to outdated nativist concepts such as the false notion that limitations protect American workers.

In the zeal to provide limitations, employment visas have the opposite effect. They create a labor force which is easily exploited by one’s employer out of fears of a foreign worker losing their ability to stay here. Rather than having visas based on the company one is employed in, if they were portable with the worker, then they can’t be used to such nefarious ends. If one wants a merit based system that is how one would go about one sanely.

But unfortunately…:

The Basis of Trump’s Merit-Based Immigration Is Racism


So… Canadian immigration with a twist?

Our immigration system is “broken” largely in the sense that it doesn’t admit enough workers to meet demand, as evidenced by the fact that so many industries (such as agriculture) rely on undocumented immigrant labor just to get by. We don’t have an immigration system that fast-tracks college-educated professionals because we don’t particularly NEED more college-educated professionals.

Family-based immigration makes sense from an economic perspective too, because an immigrant who falls on hard times is less likely to need taxpayer-funded social services if they already have a family support structure in place.


Fair enough, but we are at full employment (so they say) and many people work 2 jobs (or more to get by). They keep saying that, but I’m not so sure it’s true that we don’t have enough people to do the work we need. These things aren’t static, but entirely elastic and changes with population changes (among other things).

They do that because it’s cheaper to do so, not because there aren’t people here who can’t do the work.

That’s entirely true. I think people want college educated professionals from other countries, because they believe they’ll work for less. I bet that various tech companies pushed hard for this behind the scenes, because they will get to pay HB-1 employees less than American born employees who went to top universities in the US.

True, but I think the Trump administration thinking is that the people want are going to be coming into high paying tech jobs, so they won’t need social services, which of course entirely ignores reality - but it goes with their overall goal of gutting and/or privatizing the social safety net.


yeah. a guest worker program is a must. only it doesnt happen because currently businesses get to pay undocumented workers less than they would otherwise. as you say “broken”. broken by design.

well there is h1b - and tech companies do need developers. only last i heard the administration was trying to shrink that program, as well as slow the h1b to green card conversion ( which is already painful, because businesses have to sponsor that process - and that too is not in their interest because with a green card people can job hop, negotiate better pay, etc. )

The accounts I’ve read suggest that it’s difficult to find native-born American workers who are willing and able to take jobs as migrant farm laborers at almost any price.


Robots? Might be an option.

Ya I disagree. The statistics I’ve seen suggest that America actually has a shortage of educated workers. While I think the intentions are racist, I don’t think it matters if it leads to something more positive in the future. Merit based immigration can be patched by future democrats. Maybe “points based immigration 2.0” come the next democratic president.

Maybe, but maybe native born Americans won’t take the pay being offered, because they have other options? That would tell me that the industry needs to pay better and to offer real benefits. To be fair, I’m pretty wary of our narratives on immigration that get fed through the mass media, because they tend to get it wrong historically and today.

And of course, this bill will do nothing to address this (at least from what we’ve seen thus far). Clearly, the Trump administration plans to continue to let undocumented workers do low wage, high risk jobs, both so they can continue to weaponize it and they can ensure continuation of low wage work for these jobs. If they could do that with other industries, they would. The entire point is to make us all as powerless and poor as possible so that we have few options and feel desperate to take whatever, and they can continue to rake the cash in and destroy the planet.

Then the outcomes WILL be racist. There is little doubt about that, because racist policies in the past have had racist outcomes. Our immigration policy has always been aimed at shaping the population to be more white, up until the Johnson administration, and this is no different. The entire point of this is really to keep certain people out. Period. That’s likely what it will do, even if they spin it in neutral language.


Can you name any government policy motivated by racism that led to more positive outcomes for society at large? Lord knows there are plenty of examples to choose from.


The Civil Rights Act and the Democratic black caucus. LBJ did this to guarantee black people would vote for democrats for decades.

Also The Autism Spectrum was created by a nazi and led to the Nazis not killing a number of autistic people because that diagnosis did what it was intended to do, it gave value to saving the lives of people with Autism.