PNP need minimum language skills: Kenney

A program which allows provinces to tailor immigration to fit local labour needs may look fine on the surface but a federal government evaluation has uncovered what it says are some troubling trends.

The evaluation by Immigration and Citizenship Canada says the majority of workers selected by the provinces are succeeding. More than 90 per cent declared employment earnings after one year in Canada and 70 per cent held a job in line with their skills.

But Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says there are problems. Too many provincial nominees coming to Canada have little or no proficiency in either official language. He wants a minimum language standard for all provincial nominees and stronger links between their occupations and local job needs.

“It’s a partnership, not an Ottawa-knows-best situation, but at the end of the day we are going to be quite assertive in saying that we do think it’s best to have a standard, national language benchmark,” Kenney said in Calgary on Thursday.

He said some provinces don’t seem to care whether their nominees speak the language at all.

“I guess what we’re saying to them is it doesn’t make a lot of sense to invite someone to Canada who doesn’t speak any English … and some of the provinces have been, I would say, undervaluing language proficiency in their selection,” he said.

Fraudulent immigration applications are significant, and there is a correlation between provinces that don’t enforce a language requirement and a higher rate of fraud, Kenney added.