Figuring Out How Merit Based Immigration System Works in US, Australia & Canada

Of late, the US Government under Donald Trump is reportedly focusing on the so-called “merit-based” immigration system against the immigration system the basis of which is family reunification. And this has resulted in both a great deal of hue and cry and widespread approval.

But how exactly the “merit-based” immigration arrangement works in other parts of the world? Let’s try to figure out the subject to understand it inside out! For want of space, here we will cover only the top three overseas destinations of the US, Australia and Canada.How Merit Based Immigration System Works

The US

Let’s start with the US!

The incumbent US President Trump has urged for restructuring the present immigration laws. At present, the laws gives preference to offering visas for the family members of those already present in the nation even as the Trump Govt. wishes to substitute it with a principally “merit-based” arrangement.

With a view to achieve this target, the president sanctioned the RAISE Act in February last year. The US Republicans, and this comprise Trump, continue to push certain specific basics of it, such as cutting-down the capacity of immigrants already present in the nation to usher-in their family members.

The RAISE Act sought to cut down yearly lawful immigration in half, to 500,000, from 1 million. It would do it by reducing the total number of the family-sponsored Green Cards from 226,000 to 88,000. Reductions made to the family-based immigration would chiefly have an impact on the would-be immigrants from India, Mexico and China–the three countries that are the major contributors of immigrants to the US.

Under the RAISE Act, the immigrants allowed admission, based on a new Points structure on the basis of “merit”, would make up a majority of those who obtain Green Cards. Visa aspirants would get points for higher paid employment offers, English-language skills, higher degrees, and the capability to make investments of more than 1 million Dollars in the nation.

Cutting down lawful immigration will likely boost the pressures for unlisted immigration. As per a report, presently, the US already has nearly 11 million such immigrants even as a merit-based arrangement will allegedly denote lesser number of families manages to get reunited with their dear & near ones via lawful immigration. The same also will not address the great demand in the country for low & medium trained manpower in the agricultural, construction and service businesses, which, presently, draft several such immigrants.


During 2015-16, Canberra admitted 189,770 permanent migrants via its skilled and family immigration categories. Apart from this, Down Under permanently resettled only about 18,000 refugees and other humanitarian migrants. It has been the general level of migration to the Kangaroo Land for over a decade, adding close-to 1% to the nation’s populace of 24 million per annum. It is a noticeably larger percentage, vis-à-vis the US accepts via its migration schemes.

Two decades back, more migrants moved in, via the family category in relation to the employer category. But, by 2015-16, 67.7% of migrants shifted, via the skilled category. The change is a direct outcome of the government rule favoring skilled movement, courtesy its role in the national economy.

But, the numbers are allegedly distorted, as the figures in the skilled migration class comprise partners & dependents of the main candidates. Hence, nearly 50% of the entire skilled migrants are essentially family members of the qualified migrants who are not required to fulfill the various terms and conditions for eligibility of the main candidate.


During 2015-2016, the Maple Leaf Country allowed the admission of 271,845 permanent immigrants. Though the nation’s permanent migration arrivals look like those of Australia, these are usually smaller, in respect of those admitted by the US. Immigration is the biggest contributor to population rise in Maple Leaf Country since the early 2000s.

The permanent immigration scheme is divided into three chief categories, namely, economic, family & humanitarian. While the first stream accounted for roughly 60% of the whole permanent movement made to Canada in 2015-2016, the second stream made up 24% of the total movement made to the country. These magnitudes have continued to be moderately stable over the previous 15 years, with economic immigration representing the largest share of those picked-up for permanent settlement in the nation.

Allegedly, the economic stream for permanent immigration is presently divided into numerous visa plans. The Federal Skilled Workers Programme (FSWP) is frequently employed as the flagship specimen of the nation’s method to choosing immigrants in relation to their likely economic contributions.

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