James Metcalfe

by Jim Metcalfe – Pace Law Firm: A recent newspaper article reported that Canadian Visa Officers have long suspected fraud in the way that some immigrants obtain English language test results, and that there is an organized conspiracy in some countries to defeat the purpose of language testing.

This comes as no surprise to me. In 2002, the new Immigration Act and Regulations were introduced. One major change was that Visa Officers were no longer allowed to rate the ability of skilled worker applicants in their English or French language skills. Instead, immigrants had to take a written test, called the International English Language Testing System, or IELTS.

Not only are visa officers not allowed to rate language ability, but I would estimate 95% of applicants are never seen by a visa officer, nor have even spoken to a Canadian government official.  What is wrong with this picture? It paves the way for fraud and misrepresentation.

Visa officers  are supposed to make a determination as to the ability of an individual to establish themselves in Canada.  They are the de facto personnel officers for Canada.  Yet they are unable to even see or speak with a potential immigrant. Do companies in Canada hire people sight unseen? Not likely! So why are we letting people into Canada without even having them talk to a Visa Officer?

I think it is time for the Department of Citizenship and Immigration to rethink their approach to the selection of applicants.