Speak English and French? That could be 28 points for you. Have a doctoral degree? 25 points for you. Are you between the ages of 18 and 35, have several years of work experience with relatives and a job lined up in Canada? More points for you.
This is how Canada assesses who qualifies to permanently immigrate to the country as a federal skilled worker, and it's a model at least one senator believes the United States should emulate. Earn 67 points or higher, and your application may be accepted. Less than 67, and you're out.
Responding to President Obama's executive order on immigration, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., lambasted this unilateral action as undermining the moral integrity of immigration law. And he offered his own solution.
"I believe there is a better way," Sessions said, speaking Friday at an event by the Heritage Foundation aimed at responding to Obama's administrative action on immigration.
And that better way can be found in Canada, where skilled workers are chosen as permanent residents based on their ability to "prosper in Canada," according to the Canadian government. America should be acting in its own interests when deciding who should be allowed to enter the country, Sessions said.
This system is tailored to a more specific type of person and could exclude those who have had fewer economic and educational opportunities, which some might see as a drawback.
The bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill the Senate passed last year would have established a merit-based system to obtain lawful permanent residency, where between 120,000 and 250,000 visas would be issued each year using this criteria, according to the Immigration Policy Center, with applicants accumulating points based on their skills, employment history, education, and other credentials.
But it would have been different than Canada's system. The Senate proposal has no minimum number of points a person would have to garner, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
"The Canadian system is similar, but in Canada the employment system works really well because the individual provinces can make adjustments," Las Vegas immigration lawyer Ed Prudhomme told The Las Vegas Sun in July 2013. "The provinces can adjust the numbers, so if they a need more of a certain type of worker in Alberta, and they have a demand for a different type of worker in Quebec, they can accommodate that."
In June 2013, a Sessions press release stated, "Of the more than 30 million immigrants who would be added under the [Gang of Eight] plan in the first decade, only a small fraction—less than 2.5 million—would come in through the new merit-based system that they brag about."
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.