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Here’s How Points-based Immigration Works


The Senate is beginning its immigration debate with a bill that encapsulates all of President Donald Trump’s immigration priorities.One of those is a shift from an immigration system based largely on family reunification to a policy that would be points-based, sometimes called merit immigration.

Points-based systems are not new. Britain has one, and Germany is starting a pilot immigration program based on points.The two oldest points-based systems are in Canada and Australia.

Here is what those programs look like and how they stack up against the current U.S. system and the one Trump proposes:

Canada, Australia, U.S.

In 1967, Canada became the first nation to establish a points-based system. It allows 100 possible points for education, work experience, job offer, age of applicant and family adaptability. In the Canadian system, applicants can get the greatest number of points, 28, for language proficiency in English and French.


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