This paper examines how changes in immigration policy levers actually affect the skill characteristics of immigrant arrivals using a unique Canadian immigrant landings database. The paper identifies some hypotheses on the possible effects on immigrant skill characteristics of the total immigration rate, the point system weights and immigrant class weights. The "skill" characteristics examined are level of education, age, and fluency in either English or French. Regressions are used to test the hypotheses from Canadian landings data for 1980-2001. It is found that (i) the larger the inflow rate of immigrants the lower the average skill level of the arrivals, (ii) increasing the proportion of skill-evaluated immigrants raises average skill levels, and (iii) increasing point system weights on a specific skill dimension indeed has the intended effect of raising average skill levels in this dimension among arriving principal applicants.

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Series Research in Labor Economics
Beach, C.M. (Charles M.), Green, A.G. (Alan G.), & Worswick, C. (2007). Impacts of the Point System and Immigration Policy Levers on Skill Characteristics of Canadian Immigrants. Research in Labor Economics. doi:10.1016/S0147-9121(07)00009-X