Wednesday, September 7, 2011

$10,000 Tax Credit For Hiring Immigrants? There Is A Better Way!

After running Ontario for 8 years and reducing the province to a "have-not" status, Dalton McGuinty came up with a brilliant idea to address unemployment among newcomers - with $10,000 tax credits for businesses that hire recent immigrants. So, should Ontario Liberals win a third mandate - be prepared to be asked whether or not you are a recent immigrant right when you apply for the job. And if you answer "no" or just leave that questionnaire (which ironically has "employment equity" in its title) blank - be prepared to deal with the consequences; nothing personal, it's just that other guy comes with a $10,000 cheque...

Also, don't be surprised if some of your colleagues suddenly start acting as if they own the place - arriving late, leaving early, taking extra breaks, spending time doing anything but working, but nobody dares to even reprimand them, because if they quit (let alone - get fired) the company may have to return those $10,000 cheques... Be ready to hear in the news about some phony companies offering fictitious jobs, about dishonest consultants providing people with fake biographies, about some creative individuals pretending to be recent arrivals and using boarding passes from their last vacation as a proof...

In brief it's a bad idea. And, apparently, there won't even be that many people benefiting from it - just 1,200 immigrants out of over 100,000 who come to Ontario every year. Plus, there's still a chance that Ontario Bolsheviks Liberals will be voted out of power. But the trend is alarming. After all, the Ontario PC leader, Tim Hudak, too has sounded a proposal to offer tax credit for employers who sponsor language training for immigrants. And no, we're not talking about learning Java or C#... What happened to common sense?

Let's look at Australia. They require prospective immigrants whose dependants don't speak English to pay a special fee - about $1100, to cover the language training costs. Now, that's common sense; it should be newcomers themselves paying for their own and their family members' language courses, not the businesses, not the taxpayers. And that's not the only common sense policy they have. Prospective immigrants to Australia are also required to have their diplomas and work experience validated by the respective professional association. Only once it's been confirmed that their skills are up to the market standards, they can go ahead and apply for immigration. Now, doesn't that make a lot more sense than bribing employers with $10,000 cheques?

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