Canadians debate immigration test

OTTAWA, June 2 (UPI) -- Canadian businesses and government departments are sparring over a new English language test for immigrants that some complain is too difficult.

The country is preparing to adopt the International English Language Testing System exam, which is currently used in Britain and Australia, as a prerequisite for those seeking to immigrate to Canada, the Toronto Star reported Monday.


However, some -- including the Canadian Bar Association -- have criticized the test, which Canada currently administers to foreign nationals as a requirement for attending Canadian universities, as too difficult for some who learned English as a second language and insulting to native English speakers.

"We are slamming the door on skilled tradespeople, exactly the people we're trying to bring here," said Toronto lawyer Robin Seligman.

However, immigration officials said the test, which costs about $200 to take, makes the immigration process more efficient.

"Some people think it's bureaucratic nonsense," said immigration program officer Burke Thornton. But "the back and forth now" of declaring English proficiency and then having it not stand up "takes months and is contributing to the backlog. This way, there's one test, it's efficient, we move you through the queue."


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