OTTAWA, March 8 (UPI) -- Canada's backlog of 300,000 immigration applications could be completely discarded as part of an overhaul, the federal immigration minister said.
Speaking at a luncheon Wednesday in Ottawa, Minister Jason Kenney wouldn't rule out the drastic measure, but said other options are being investigated, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.
"We can't continue to tell people that they're going to wait for eight years for a decision on whether they can come to Canada," he said.
Kenney said an option already being explored would allow provinces and territories to scan applicants to see if any match specific regional needs, such as doctors, engineers and other professionals, Postmedia News said.
That's similar to what New Zealand did in 2003 when the government let employers "shop" for desirable immigrants and then cleared the entire pool, the CBC said.
Kenney said seven provinces and a territory have signed on to the pilot program. He suggested applicants with significant skills who have been waiting for a response for years pull their applications and re-apply, Postmedia said.
"I'd rather have an engineer working as an engineer than as a cab driver," he said.