It is a myth that Canada has a very liberal immigration policy.
Brian Bi, Canadian(Quora)
Answered Feb 15, 2017
I grew up in Canada. I went to high school in Canada. I got a four-year degree in Canada. I’m a highly skilled employee. I looked at the Canadian immigration points system and concluded that if I were in the same position, except that I wasn’t a Canadian citizen, then I wouldn’t be able to qualify to immigrate to Canada. I wouldn’t have enough points!
A “liberal” immigration policy would be one that says anyone can come as long as they will follow all the laws, will have a job instead of being a burden on society, and will fill out all the required paperwork. EU countries have a “liberal” immigration policy with respect to other EU countries. Canada’s immigration policy is nothing close to that.
Canada’s immigration policy is very technocratic. The government constantly adjusts the criteria and weights based on data in order to try to identify the prospective immigrants that will have the highest chance of being successful in Canada. It monitors the impact of immigration on the Canadian economy and adjusts policy to make sure the economy continues to grow as much as possible without increasing unemployment for Canadians.
Canada’s family-based immigration policies are decidedly less liberal than those of the US.
In the US, there is no quota on how many parents of US citizens can immigrate. In Canada, there is a quota so the waiting time can be multiple years, and some parents will be denied immigration because the government thinks they’ll use too much health care.
In the US, there is approximately a 6 year waiting time for citizens to sponsor their unmarried children over 21 for immigration, and a 11 year waiting time for citizens to sponsor their married children over 21 for immigration. In Canada, it’s not possible to do so.
In the US, there is approximately a 13 year waiting time for citizens to sponsor their siblings for immigration. In Canada, it’s not possible to do so.
Australia, which has a similar immigration rate to Canada and a similar philosophy toward immigration, is even more technocratic. The Australian government maintains a list of skilled occupations for which there is demand for qualified workers in Australia and gives priority to people with at least one of those skills. If demand for a certain skilled occupation goes down, the government may remove that occupation from the list.