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Canadian
Immigration Policies and how they have Impacted on its Identity

Canada has an extensive and
rich experience in regards to immigration policies and immigrants and its
deeply embedded in its sense of nationhood. The immigration policy of Canada is
one which is very explicit in part due to it being the government’s population
policy. Immigration policies are tailored so as to control the growth of the
nation. Since the era of Confederation, the immigration policy has been one
which has been customized to allow for growth of the population, provide
financial capital and labor for the economy and lastly to settle the land. The
immigration policies of Canada have a long time acted to reflect the Canadian
attitudes as well as the security concerns of the nation.

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Canadian immigration
policies require immigrants migrating to the country to have a high proficiency
on at least one official language which is used in Canada. This means that the
language spoken by immigrants has a big impact on determining whether they will
be allowed or not to enter into the nation (Al-Haque and Marianne Larsen 11).
The language effect on the immigrants is emphasized upon since the nation
mostly requires economic immigrants who have credentials and are able to
communicate fluently so as to be able to transition efficiently in the Canadian
culture. The language effect is considered as a key element since facilitation
of economic activities as well as the cultural and social participation in the
Canadian ways of life will only be achieved by using a language which is
instrumental in unifying Canadians and immigrants together.

It has been observed that
Canada has over the last century had a less stellar record in matters of
immigration policy. This is due it having excluded or rejected Blacks, Jews,
Chinese and Indians in various epochs. Currently, the country no longer
practices these policies and hence, the new image projected by Canada is one
whereby all immigrants are not discriminated based on their skin or color or
even religion. The government does however reject immigrants who are from
certain occupations and there is a prerequisite of the immigrants having a
certain prerequisite in terms of their language proficiency (Nelson et al 7.).
This in turn leads to having immigrants from certain parts of the world being
only able to be accepted in Canada.

In order to target a certain
class of immigrants only, Canada in 1967 introduced the points system. This
system targeted only potential immigrants who had characteristics which did coincide
with the growing interests and needs of the nation. The points system had a
number of programs which immigrants had to pass in order to fulfill immigration
policies. The federal policy program is one of the points system used in this
determination. This program is responsible for having a total of 81% of all the
economic immigrants’ admissions and 46% of the total admissions which are
conducted. Skilled workers are required to have at least work experience of one
year in a skilled, professional or managerial occupation so as to qualify for
this program. They are further evaluated by the points system in regards to
their age, adaptability French or English proficiency and education level (Snooks
3).

Immigration allows societies
to appreciate, respect and celebrate diversity in terms of cultural differences
as well as the minorities being allowed to express their own distinctive
cultures. Assimilation and social integration is achieved by building common
national identities. Canada unlike other European nations which have had
trouble in maintaining social cohesion due to the risk of the rising ethnic
diversity brought about by immigrants has escaped violent protests, clashes and
demonstrations between the minority groups and the state through being able to
reasonably accommodate all other minority groups and immigrants in its
borders(Snooks5). The various immigrants entering into Canada with diverse
religious views as well as cultural differences have been able to leave in
harmony with the local natives of Canada due to a number of reasons.

Unlike other nations, Canada
has never sought out to build a single national identity. Since its inception
in 1867, there were two founding fathers who had totally different cultures,
languages, histories and religions. There are the French in Quebec and the
English in Ontario. Hence it is evident the image of Canada from the beginning
was one which aimed at accommodating different cultures and groups as equals
and in this process, it has become a tradition which is still being observed.
There are also concerns of protection of the minorities rights such as the
English individuals inhabiting in Quebec as well as the French minorities
residing outside Quebec during the creation of Canada (Al-Haque and Marianne
Larsen 19). This manifestation can be traced up to the recent creation of the
Canadian Charter Rights and Freedoms. Undoubtingly, this rich history of Canada
has influenced greatly the manner in which immigrants and individuals from
other cultures as well as other backgrounds are able to seamlessly integrate
into Canadian culture.

After the creation of Canada
and even before it was incepted, it was already a nation of immigrants.
Immigration has for a long period of time been a part of the natural order in
which has led to the economic growth of the nation.  A significant number
of Canadians pride themselves as a nation which embraces and welcome
nationalities from diverse backgrounds, the expectation in return is to have
the immigrants contribute positively towards the growth of the nation. Canadian
immigration policy is different from a number of European nations since it has
different perspectives towards allowing immigrants in its borders.  This
is evidenced from the immigrants being highly educated sometimes much more than
the Canadian born citizens. This in return has led to the immigrants having
high adaptation towards modern knowledge based societies. In addition, the
typical Canadian immigrant is one who is considered as highly literate and has
the skills to succeed in the Canadian culture and society (Nelson et al. 23).
Hence the image created of the Canadian immigrants is one which they are highly
motivated, ambitious, educated as well as a capable individual who has the
potential to contribute to the society in a positive manner. Hence, the image
Canada has created when compared to other European nations and U.S in general
is that its immigrants are highly educated unlike their counterparts in other
nations.

In summary, it is evident,
the immigration policies of Canada have overtime favored immigrants who are
highly educated and have the potential to contribute positively towards the
economic growth of the nation. Canada as a nation is tolerant and racially
diverse thanks to its immigration policies which allow individuals from a
number of societies around the globe to dwell in its borders.