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Immigration Policy, National Origin, and Immigrant Skills: A Comparison of Canada and the United States

  • George J. Borjas

Over 12 million persons migrated to Canada or the United States between 1959 and 1981. Beginning in the mid?1960s, the immigration policies of the two countries began to diverge considerably: the United States stressing family reunification and Canada stressing skills. This paper shows that the point system used by Canada generated, on average, a more skilled immigrant flow than that which entered the United States. This skill gap, however, is mostly attributable to differences in the national origin mix of the immigrant flows admitted by the two countries. In effect, the point system "works" because it alters the national origin mix of immigrant flows, and not because it generates a more skilled immigrant flow from a given source country.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3691.

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Date of creation: Apr 1991
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States, edited by David Card and Richard Freeman, pp. 21- 44, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1993.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3691
Note: LS
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